I’m at the Exponential Church Planters Conference this week in Orlando!!!
I am just a little excited about this!
- I love conferences. No, I really LOVE conferences.
- I love church planting.
- I love church leadership.
- I love the local church.
- I love gathering with people who love those things as well.
- I love growing and learning.
- I love being stretched.
And…I LOVE THE WARMTH!!!! This conference is in Orlando and my back is in heaven! My back does great in crazy hot heat and I’m loving it.
Being here is a tremendous honor and privilege and one that I do not take lightly.
Ok, I can’t wait for the conference to kick off today and as I’ve been preparing and thinking about this trip, I have been thinking through the things I hope to experience and learn this week. So, here is my list.
What I hope to Experience and Learn at Exponential
I hope to experience some revitalization.
I hope to learn more about reaching the unchurched.
I hope to experience deepening my relationships with my Stadia family.
I hope to learn more about creating contributors in our church and not consumers.
I hope to experience some amazing team building with the Thrive team that came down with me.
I hope to learn more about finding some balance in my personal life.
I hope to experience Jesus in a powerful, life changing way.
Every Sunday I have a very unique privilege. It’s a privilege that I am honored to have and one that I do not take lightly.
To be the pastor of Thrive Church.
That vantage point gives me some pretty up close and personal views to what God is doing in our church. I love it! And, I want to make sure that I don’t miss what’s going on.
That being said, this past Sunday was incredible! Actually, it was humbling. Just to step back and get a first hand account of so many personal stories of what God is doing in lives is just awesome.
Here are a few of those stories…
Kim Morado. On Sunday, we interviewed an amazing Thriver named Kim. Kim started coming to Thrive almost from the our beginning and she jumped in with two feet! She has made a giant difference in our community with how stinking awesome she is. Every Sunday, EVERY SUNDAY Kim is at Thrive. She just doesn’t miss, rain or shine.
One of the things that I love about Kim is how she has adopted the section of people she sits by in the movie theater we use for our Sunday morning experience. She loves on them, sits by them, asks new folks to sit with her and has genuinely built a great community around her.
Students sitting in the front row. This past Sunday we had the whole front row of the movie theater filled with students.
IT WAS AWESOME!
I loved the energy they brought, the community, the laughs, the smiles and the sound.
Seeing Facebook light up. Our little church is only 7 and so months old, but it is just so humbling each week to read what people post about their experience at Thrive. I am beyond humbled that God is moving, He is changing lives. He is drawing people closer to Him. And He is wrecking peoples hearts.
Those are just a few of the things I loved about this past Sunday at Thrive!
Let me begin by saying…I am not a parenting expert. I am not even close to figuring out this parenting thing. And, I haven’t been a dad all that long. 14 years to be exact. I have a 14 year old and then an 11, 9 and 6 year old. There are some days when I feel like I know nothing about being a parent. Some days are so crazy hard, I don’t even know where to start. And then, well, then there are some days when everything fits together like a giant puzzle piece.
Ok, that being said…
I love being a parent. I love being a dad.
Maybe I love it so much because I had amazing parents. Actually, hah, I still have amazing parents. My parents poured into my brother and I and invested everything they had in us.
But, I believe with every ounce of my being that being a dad is one of the greatest privileges God gives and I don’t want to waste this time.
One of the areas of parenting that I’m asked a lot about is church.
Specifically, how do I get my kids excited for Church?
How do I help my kids understand the importance of church. How do I help them feel involved and included in our church.
So, because I very much love the local church and I love parenting, I thought I would throw out a few suggestions on how to get our kids excited about church.
3 Ways to Get your Kids Excited About Church
Just about every Saturday night, Zach (my 9 year old), lays out his clothes and has all his stuff ready for church the next morning. He loves our church and he loves being a part. Now, of course, there are mornings when all of my kids don’t want to go to church, but here are some ways I try to help my kids be excited about their church.
Disclaimer: Before I go any further, I also want to say that I really believe these apply to best if your local church has an outstanding kids and student ministry. If your church is not investing in kids and the kids environments are less to be desired, these could be a much harder sell.
Also, if your church is on the uber traditional side and your teenagers fall asleep, again, I don’t think these are the answers.
To be honest, I think the best answer is to find a new church. A church that’s alive, has ton of energy, is growing and invests in their kids and students! That may sound harsh or like I’m suggesting that leaving a church is an easy decision. It’s not. But, I really think you need to think it through.
Ok, disclaimer over.
1. Model being a part of the Church.
Mom and dads…If you’re not actively involved in your church, then there is absolutely no way that you can ask your kids to be excited and involved in church. Now, if your kids are teenagers and you just started being involved, honestly, it may be too late. But, that’s no reason to not get involved. And, its never too late to start.
Notice I didn’t say, just attend church. I really believe we need to be a part of the church. To be the church. That means we…
- Pour into the church
- Serve our church community
- Tithe and model giving to the church
- Pray for our church
- Model serving at church
- Be in a small group
2. Involve your kids in Church Leadership
I personally think one of the absolute best ways to get your kids excited about church is to involve them in serving. If you serve, bring them along. Serve side by side. If they’re too young, tell them what you’re doing. Ask them what they think about it. Tell them all about it. What’s great about it and what’s not so great. Tell them over and over and then over and over again why you believe in the local church.
If your kids are older, encourage them to serve and if that’s not enough, give them a push to serve.
In their youth group, with kids ministry, with worship, or whatever interests them.
For some reason, we push our kids incredibly hard with sports and drama and all the other after school activities. But, sometimes (again, just my personal opinion, we really lay off when it comes time to church. Why is that?
It’s not enough to just attend every now and then. It’s not enough to just attend.
We have to model being actively involved.
3. Ask them their opinions and dream together.
One of the things that my wife and I do a lot with our kids is ask their opinions. We ask them about everything.
We have made it a habit over the years to constantly ask them questions and then to listen.
We spend a lot of time talking about church.
- What they like?
- What they think?
- What could be better?
- What they would do differently?
And, we spend a lot of time dreaming and praying together.
I know there is so much more, but I think these three will give you a huge help to get your kids excited about church.
Easter Sunday is tomorrow! Can you even believe it?
It is one of the most exciting days of the year.
Why? Because we get to celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
So, I wanted to take a moment and personally invite you to Thrive Church.
We are a brand new (7 months old), non-denominational christian church in Mt Pleasant, MI! We meet at Celebration Cinema and our Sunday morning experience is at 10am.
We have great kids programs for infants through the 5th grade called Thrive Kidz.
I suggest getting at Thrive at 930. That way you can grab some Bigby’s coffee, maybe a donut and your little kids can bounce in the Thrive bouncy house.
Then, you can get your kids checked in to Thrive kids and then make your way to theater one. That’s where our Thrive experience is at. That starts at 10am and goes to 11am.
We have absolutely great seats and cup holders! But, you will experience some great music, a few videos and a message that will make you laugh, think and will give you some next steps to think about a relationship with Jesus.
After that, LOOK OUT!
We will head outside of the theater and our kids will experience a giant Easter Egg Grab.
Then, kids will have a chance to win a brand new bike!!!
What about the adults? Well, they can grab 1 or 2 or 7 donuts from the infamous Donut Tent. Completely stocked with Robaire’s donuts!!
It’s going to be a GREAT day!
You’re invited! Please invite someone and head to Thrive Church tomorrow!
Tonight is Thrive’s first ever worship night.
We have our good friends, ‘The Spark’ coming over from WI and we’re calling the night…
‘making Jesus famous’.
I am beyond excited and can’t wait to gather with the Thrive Community to worship and pray.
Why are hosting this night?
We are hosting this worship night because it gives our Thrive community more of an opportunity to worship. Because we are passionately focused on reaching the unchurched with our Sunday morning experience, we don’t spend a ton of time on Sunday’s in traditional ‘worship’. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t sing, pray and give. It just means, our time at the movie theater is very limited, so we have to watch our time.
That’s why a few times a year, we will host these worship nights.
What will it be like?
First of all, there will be a GREAT band! So, if you like great music, but are still unsure about worship, no worries! Come and experience ‘The Spark and enjoy! But, they will play 6-8 songs. Most likely, they will be loud. Not all of them. But, some of them. We will intermix scripture in between the songs and there will be a time to pray. To either be prayed for, or just to pray quietly, you and God. We will talk about how we can make Jesus famous. And, then we will tell him through song how great He is.
Who can come?
Anyone and everyone.
What time is it and Where?
It’s from 630-800 and it’s at Vowles Elementary School (1560 S Watson, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858).
3 Reasons to be at the Worship Night
1. To worship Jesus or as my friends ‘The Spark’ say…#loveJesusloud.
2. To gather together as a community and experience worshipping Jesus together…passionately…boldly…loudly.
3. To be a part of something that will be a highlight in the history of our young church.
This past Sunday, I was on the receiving end of an amazingly nice and super encouraging compliment.
I was honored.
I was blown away.
I was humbled.
And, I was so appreciative.
After our Thrive experience was over, a brand new person to Thrive, went out of their way to pull me aside and tell me about their experience at Thrive.
The thing they said that stuck out to me personally was…
“I love that I didn’t feel beat up after you got done teaching”
I asked what they meant and they said that they had visited other churches and when they left, they felt like someone had just been beating them over the head. They said it was refreshing to leave Church hopeful and couldn’t wait for the week to begin!
Wow, that just made my week! Thrive is ridiculously passionate about reaching people who know Jesus and our vision is to be a church that unchurched people love to attend. So, one of my values for teaching is to bring life.
I believe strongly that way too many teachers ‘speak at people and not with them’. When we speak at people, we can open up the door to beating them up verbally. When we speak with people, we invite them into the story and bring them along.
I’m just thankful that someone felt hopeful after Thrive and were pointed to Jesus.