Jason Raitz

Jesus Follower. Husband. Dad. Son. Brother. Pastor.


January 2014

Hey Thrivers…3 Musts to know for Sunday

Sunday is Coming!!!

You know what that means? Yes, I am excited!!!

I know what you’re thinking…”isn’t he always excited?”

And the answer is a GIANT


I am excited because it is yet another opportunity for our church to live out our mission…

To help people find and follow Jesus. 

So, here are 3 Musts for you to know for Sunday

1. New SERIES!! Yes, you read that right?!? We start a new 5 week series called RPM.RPM-Social Square

Relationships     Passion     Marriage

We are going to dive into all the nitty gritty parts of relationships that most people refuse to talk about.

2. One Youth is headed to SpringHill. Yes, we are sending a GREAT group of middle and high students to One Youth LogoSpringHill camp. It’s going to be an amazing weekend and we’re praying for God to wreck their hearts.

But, we need your help. We need scholarship money to help send students who need help.

Can you help? Head here to donate. The cost to send one student is $125. Any amount helps.

3. Superbowl party. What are you doing this Sunday night?

We’re hanging out, eating food and watching the Super Bowl. So, head to this link and come on over!

See you on Sunday!

A Crazy Different Perspective for me today at Thrive

I’m heading out the door in a few minutes to head to Thrive Church.

Honestly, this is really weird.

Why? Because I typically leave at 630am! Actually our whole family typically leaves at 630am!

But, Tracie, my wife, has put me on the ‘injured reserved’ and has made me promise to just attend.

No lifting. No deciding stuff. No running around. No doing the stuff I normally do!

Is it going to be hard?


Is she right?

Well, I guess so! Hah! Yes, she is right! 

Ok, here I go. I’m just attending church this morning with my wife.

Here we go!


Try Thrive today because it doesn’t feel like a Church

Ok, seriously, I’m being super real.

Yes, I would like you to try Thrive Church because my hope is, it won’t feel like a normal ‘church’ to you. 

Our vision for Thrive is that it will feel and be and seem not very ‘churchy’. Why? Because, we want to create a church where people who have given up on church will want to come back.

That’s why Thrive is very laid back and it’s super casual.

Many churches say they are casual, but we really mean it. Dress how you like. Be comfortable. And really…

Come as you are! 

Thrive is also super chill. You won’t find any ‘high church’ kind of stuff. And, no offense to ‘high church’ kind of stuff. You just won’t find any stand up, stand sit and denominational policies at Thrive.

We’re really about the Bible. We’re all about Jesus. And we are all about helping people find and follow Him.

So, if you’ve been looking for a church that doesn’t feel like a church, come check out Thrive.

There is still time. Our experience meets at 10am at Celebration Cinema, but I recommend you get there at 930am.

Come, hang out. Grab some Bigby’s coffee and get ready!

Can’t wait to meet you!


You’re Invited to Thrive’s ‘After Party’

Are you new to Thrive Church? Have you been checking it out over the course of the last few weeks or months?

If the answer is yes, then the…


After Party

is for you!

After Party is a super simple way to get to know more about Thrive, it’s leaders and why it exists in a laid back and chill kind of way.

So, it’s not too late. RSVP to and bring yourself, your friends and your family.

We’ll bowl, eat and hang out.

Oh yeah, there is no cost to you!

A New Kind of #Selfie

This whole month at Thrive Church, we’ve been in a series called…1545123_10152205686798783_345579863_n

#Selfie: Picture a New You

No, we have not taught people how to take better selfies.

No, we have not taught people to be more narcasistic.

But, we have looked into God’s word and have been challenged how we can transform our inner lives more into the people God’s designed us to be.

If you missed any of the series, all of the messages are on our vimeo page.

I so hope you can watch the messages online!

Building a Message pt. 1

I have been building, writing, editing and delivering messages for almost 20 years. images

That’s just crazy to think about! 

That started in 1995 and I haven’t stopped. Actually, way back in middle school is when I gave my first official message. Then, in high school, I was on the chapel committee and found myself in front of our student body a lot.

But, it’s true, I have been designing, researching, writing, editing and putting together messages for a long time.

My Personal Plan to Build a Message

Pretty frequently, I get emails from pastors, youth pastors, teachers and people who want to be speakers asking about everything ‘speaking’.

Things like: 

How to be a speaker. How to know if you have the gift of speaking. How to get more speaking opportunities. How to build a talk. How to evaluate your message. How to use humor. How to tell stories. How to develop a talk. How gain favor with the audience. How to write a conclusion. How to work speaking skills.

So, I thought would put together a series of posts about all things ‘speaking’. So, here goes.

Building a Message pt. 1

Let me start with this disclaimer: I have pulled together information from a ton of resources on how I build my messages. It has come from years of trail and error. Most of my material for building a message comes from one of these books:

So, that is pt.1 of building a message.


Take notes. Take more notes. Highlight. Underline. Right down the stuff that blows your mind.

Learn from the best and then let’s go from there.

Love Students? Love Church Planting? Love Adventure? Help start a Thrive’s Student Ministry

Do you love Students? 

I mean, really love middle & high school students? Does your heart erupt at the that thought of leading a student ministry.  Do you have a giddy look on your face with the possibility of starting a student ministry? And, at a church that HIGHLY values the next generation?Unknown

Do you love Church Planting? 

Does your heart skip a beat at the thought of helping start, build and grow a new church? Does the thought of being apart something new send shivers down your spine? Does the idea of building and protecting a new culture bring massive excitement to your heart? Do you love the idea of being at a church with a vision for adding future campuses and planting more churches?

Do you love adventure? 

Do you like to take steps of faith? Do friends and family look at you with that ‘look’ every time you start dreaming again? Do you feel note books or evernote with ideas with how you run a student ministry if there wasn’t the typical ‘church rules’? Would you do whatever it takes to be apart of this kind of staff? Don’t mind the adventure of raising support and doing what it takes?

Help Start Thrive Church’s 1st Student Ministry

No, seriously, think about it! It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out in student ministry, been dreaming about starting out or have been giving your life to student ministry for many years. I think there is a tremendous opportunity at Thrive and I would love to talk more about it.

In the mean time…Eblast Header-Light Bulb

1. Check out all things Thrive:


Facebook Page


2. Hit me up on Facebook, twitter, this blog or email. Can’t wait to talk. 

3. Start dreaming. 

What kind of ministry would you start? Where would you begin? What would you do? How would reach the students in Central Michigan?



Today I have Back Surgery

So, today at 2:00pm, I have back surgery.

I would love your prayers. Please.

And, if I could be so bold, I would love your…on your knees kind of prayer!

I have been in pain for a long time and have learned to just grin and bear it for years and years. My back pain has just become routine. It has just always been there. I’ve learned to deal with it. Not bending, not putting on socks. When to ice it. What not to do to screw it up even more.

It’s kept me from running. Even taking walks these past 4-5 months. Playing softball. Roller blading. Countless moments with my kids and my wife. It’s held me back from fully present in life and in relationships. My kids are use to saying, ‘Dad, do you want to do this if your back can handle it’?

And, at this point in my young life, I’m pretty tired.

Everything is pain. Standing up, sitting down, bending, stretching, moving, breathing, walking, kneeling.

Tying my shoes is extremely painful. Putting on socks is excruciating.

I move pretty slow now a days. I sit a lot. I lay on my back a lot. Except, this last week, I had 2 days that provided a little reprieve. At one point, I was walking pretty fast through the airport and had to stop myself when I realized how fast I was walking!

My wife has shouldered a huge amount of the household burdens and I feel awful about that.

My kids have only known dad with back pain.

Well, after years of different physical therapists, chiropractors and doctors, I finally made the decision to have surgery.

Honestly, it was a very hard decision to make. Lot’s of obvious reasons. Plus, the extra cost. Plus, the fact that my last surgery in 2008, I got MRSA and wound up in the hospital for a few day and came home with an IV pick line!

So, a lot of prayer, thought and wisdom seeking went into this.

Today is the day.

I would love your prayers.

So you want to be a ‘speaker’?

The year was 1997.

I had been a youth pastor for about a year and a half.

In that time, a few things started to make sense to me. Like, what I loved about my role as youth pastor.

I loved spending time kids. I loved planning events. And…

I loved Speaking! 

My goodness, I came alive. I loved it. I read everything I could. I watched every speaker I could. I listened to every tape I could (yes, tapes).

Then, I heard Ken Davis live for the first time in my life! Holy Cow! Something clicked inside of me and I knew I wanted to devote my life to speaking. I so wanted to use my gifts to communicate.

It was about that time, in a college class, my professor had us read Ken’s amazing book, Secrets of Dynamic Communication. 

Again, I came alive.

I remember thinking, I want to be Ken Davis! 

Fast forward to 2002. I was at my yearly pilgrimage to my mecca…Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention.

I was doing everything I could at that point to build a speaking ministry. I had left my youth pastor position and I wanted to go for it. I wanted to be a speaker.

Through a series of circumstances I still can’t figure out, I found myself in a room with the late Mike Yaconelli.

Now, he was my idol! I read everything he wrote! Basically, I worshipped him. Right around that time, he had written an article about speaking. Immediately it grabbed my attention. Why? Because I wanted to be a speaker. Well, in this article, and I can’t find it now, he basically said…

“we don’t need any more speakers, we need men and women to devote their lives to kids and to their local church”.

Honestly, I was deflated. I wanted to travel from place to place. Go here, go there.

And then, bam, I’m right in front of Mike. He reaches out his hand and says, “I’m Mike, what’s your name and what do you do?” Honestly, my voice quivered a little bit. I mean, here was a hero of mine! I said, “my name is Jason and I’m trying to be a speaker”.

He looked at me and then gave me a…”ohhhhh, gotcha” face.

We talked for a few minutes and he encouraged me and I’ll never forget what he said to me that night, he said…

“I know you will do great as a speaker and we need people to tell as many kids about Jesus as possible. But, we really need people to pour into kids and love them”.

I’ll never forget that conversation.

At other times during the last 15 years, I have tried to be a speaker. Actually, these past 2 years, I feel like I was on my way to becoming a speaker.

But, something didn’t click. There was something missing and for me, it was being involved deeply in a local church.

For me, I’ve learned that I am at my best and do my best when I’m pouring into a local church and the people in that local church.

So, you want to be a speaker? 

Here’s my advice to you. It’s really simple.

Pour into your local church.

Pour into the people in your local church.

Pour into the students and raise up a generation of speakers.

That’s it.

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