I’m in the process of planting a Church called Thrive.
Actually, it’s been in the works since 1998. That’s when I first felt the call to plant a church someday. Then, fast forward to 2011 and the desire and call to plant a church started really heating up. And now, in 2013, it’s becoming a reality!
It’s been quite a journey so far! Both exhilarating and excruciating and everything in between.
It hasn’t been easy and honestly, I think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. But, I know that I know that God has called me to lead a fantastic group of people who all believe that God has called us to start a new a church to reach new people for Jesus.
So, I thought I would answer some of the frequently asked questions I get all the time when I’m meeting with people, and through email and Facebook.
What’s really behind Thrive? A look into all things Thrive…
What’s the real reason you’re starting Thrive Church?
The bottom line, absolutely real reason I’m starting Thrive Church is…drum roll…
God told me too. Yup, it’s that simple. And, to tell you the truth, I ran from it for a long time. On numerous occasions, I told God no. I told him heck no and honestly, on a few occasions I told God…HELL NO!!!!
I am starting Thrive Church because God told me too and because there are thousands…YES…1000’s of people in Central MI who don’t have a Church home and are living life far from God.
What’s Thrive all about?
Simply, we exist to help people find and follow God. We’re about helping people take their Next Steps with God, doing Life Together with a small group of people and Going Out to be used by God to make a difference in the world.
My hope, dream and prayer is that our church will be irresistible (to borrow a phrase from Andy Stanley) to those far from God. It’s fun. Laughter is encouraged. Showing up and pretending you have it all together is not encouraged. We look to Jesus. We talk about Jesus. We worship Jesus. We challenge people to live their life fully surrounded to Jesus.
What do you need to Launch Thrive Church?
Prayer. Financial Support. Donations.
1. Pray that God would give us favor with our community. Strength and courage to share our faith to those far from Jesus and that God would provide a community of people to bless our work financially.
2. Our goal is to raise $100,000! Yup, it’s a HUGE goal, but we know with God all things are possible. You can help by making a special gift to Thrive or to committing to give monthly to Thrive. You can give online here.
3. Donate stuff. Anything from sound systems to lighting to tables to kids ministry supplies. Oh yeah, we’re praying for a trailer as well! Email me if you want more information…firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why don’t you meet weekly yet?
Well, we just don’t have the people or resources yet to meet weekly the way we believe God is calling us too. And, the Church is so much more than a service or a building. Our launch team meets and prays for each other. Our kids have grown close and God has really blessed our community.
What’s the service like when you do meet?
It’s fun. We laugh. The band leads us in a few songs and the band rocks. It’s loud. We highlight someone’s journey with God, either in person or on video. We really believe that the generations should be involved, so kids read scripture or welcome everybody. I teach for 30 or so minutes and challenge people to live like Jesus.
Aren’t there are already a lot of great Churches in Central MI? Why another one?
Yes, there are a lot of great churches in our area. But, the reality is this…even with the amount of churches we have in a 40 mile radius…we’re not even coming close to reaching 20% of the population! WOW!
Why are you starting Thrive Church in Mt Pleasant, MI?
God told me too. Seriously, He absolutely and positively told me that Thrive should be based out of Mt Pleasant. That was confirmed through a lot of prayer with our launch team and our management team. Originally, I was praying about basing it out of Shepherd, MI. A little town a few miles south of Mt Pleasant. I had spent a lot of time taking prayer walks through Shepherd and around Shepherd High School where I originally thought our home base would be. But, as the dream and vision and call started to come together for Thrive, we want to reach the most amount of people we can for Jesus and God put Mt Pleasant on our hearts.
Is Thrive associated with any denominations?
Nope. We are a non-denominational christian church. I’ll write more about at a later time, but the bottom line is…I just didn’t feel lead or called to be a apart of a denomination. Spending time as a staff member at Willow Creek and NorthRidge, both non-denomination churches, created a great resonance in my heart and spirit with not aligning our church with a denomination.
You started Live Now last year, how are you going to do both?
Great question. I did start Live Now Leadership last year by the grace of God. That was not easy, but God blessed it and we were able to encourage over 15,000 students last year. Even though I’m starting Thrive, I won’t stop speaking to students and I’m in the process of searching for someone to help run Live Now at a level I won’t be able too with also leading the Church. When I started Live Now, it was 50/50 if I was going to plant Thrive or start Live Now. Both my wife and I felt that God told us to hold off the Church at that time. So, we poured into Live Now. In the fall of 2012 God starting to intensify the call to plant a church and it became an all out wrestle with God. I told him no, many times. In the end, He prevailed…He has a way of doing that!