5 Reasons to check out Thrive tomorrow

Tomorrow is Sunday! My favorite day of the week! IMG_3595_2

I don’t know what you do on Sundays, but I want to invite you to check out my church

Yup, a church! Here’s the thing, I know Sunday’s are precious! Trust me, I get it. I know for many people it’s the only day of the week to sleep in, I get that. I know for many, it’s the only day to veg, I get that. I know for many, it’s the only day to hang as a family, again, I get that.

But, why not start your week at Church?!? Yes, Church!?!

And, why not at…

Thrive Church.

Here’s the thing, if you’re looking for a different church, then you don’t have to go any further.

We’ve decided to be different on purpose. We’re not about tradition and dressing up and trying to impress others, we’re not about being a little club, and we’re not about being a church that never changes. Nothing against those things, but there just not us.

Thrive is a really simple, real and fun church. We’re about one thing…and that’s Jesus. So, if you need to laugh. If you need to experience God. If you like great music and hearing real stories of how God is changing peoples lives for the better, then check out my church. If you need more reasons to check out my church, here are some more.

5 reasons to Check out Thrive Church

1. If you have kids, they’ll love it!

2. If you have never been to a church in movie theater, you will love it! We have crazy comfy chairs!

3. If you like music, we have a killer band. They will lead us in some rocking songs that tell God how amazing He is.

4. If you like to laugh, you will probably laugh.

5. If something has been missing in your life, you will find it. What’s been missing is probably a personal relationship with Jesus and we’ll show you how to can start one.

So, you’re invited! Check out Thrive Church at either 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema in Mt Pleasant!

See you tomorrow.

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Am I always seemingly EXCITED about Thrive Church?

The answer is YES! And, honestly, the answer is no!tailgate 15

How about that answer!?! But, that’s exactly how I feel. Of course I can’t be excited 24/7…100% of the time.

But, I try. I really do!

Why do I try? Because I REALLY DO LOVE MY CHURCH! I’m not just blowing smoke when I say that! I’m not just saying that because I’m the church planter and the pastor.

You have to remember something about me…I love the local church and I really do believe it’s the HOPE OF THE WORLD! I’ve served/worked at churches for 20 years. My dad was my youth pastor. I grew up watching my parents do ministry. I’ve served at Churches of all shapes and sizes (Church Plant to 25,000). Churches with tremendous influence. Churches with ‘famous’ pastors. Churches with amazing people. Churches with not so great people. Churches with amazing servants. Churches that were hung up on tradition. Churches that embraced change. Churches that desperately cared for the lost. Churches that helped the needy.

Yeah, I’ve experienced it all! It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s been an amazing journey. And, now I have the great privilege to lead and be a part of Thrive Church.

And…I LOVE MY CHURCH! 

So, yes, I am excited about what God is doing at Thrive Church.

How could I not be excited when I have a front row view to God changing lives?

To meet people who said they would never be a part of a Church and then to see God wreck their hearts! To see God provide in amazing ways. To see fully devoted followers of Jesus sacrifice so others could be introduced to Jesus. To meet so many amazing people! To watch kids and students be taught about Jesus. To see an inter-generational church be built.

Yeah, it’s awesome.

Is my excitement level a Mach 10–all the time? Honestly, No. I’m human. I get tired. I get worn down. Satan attacks. Everything isn’t perfect all the time. I get discouraged. It’s hard leading a church, but I love it!

I’m energized by it. I love the challenges. I love the hills to climb.

So, YES, I am EXCITED! I am excited about what God has already done. I am excited about the future. I am excited that I get to be a part of what He is doing.

I really do love my church.

Pastoring 101…What I learned from Thrive’s 1st Full year {pt 1}

2014 was my first full year of leading Thrive Church and it was AWESOME! thrive))church-no-perfect-allowed

 

 

 

 

 

Today, Thrive Church is 72 weeks old and I have learned a ton! Oh my stinking goodness, that is the understatement of the year! I’ve served and worked at Churches for almost 20 years, but 2014 was my first year of leading a Church and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experience. It had many similarities, but it was also crazy different.

In 1995, I was hired by Covenant Community Church to be their youth pastor. In December, it will be 20 years since I first started this calling as a pastor! It is still crazy to me that they hired a newly minted 20 year old with basically no experience. But, I did have a whole lot of passion! A lot has happened since then and I’ve served at churches small and large, but, none of that compared to leading a new church. So, I thought I would put together some of my thoughts, so here goes.

What I’ve Learned

1. God is in the business of answering prayers!

People that tell me they don’t have time to pray or that prayer doesn’t work are straight up crazy! Sit down with me at lunch and I will give you a list of more than 100 answered prayers! For instance, as I type this blog post, I am in an office that I prayed for and God provided. I am typing on a computer than God provided.

I’ve seen people trust in Jesus and get baptized who told me they would never step into my church.

Answered prayers are EVERYWHERE!!

2. Time goes by really quick!

Holy Cow!! Thrive officially, kind of in an off the books kind of way started in December of 2012. That’s when 4 couples sat around a table and talked, dreamed and prayed about starting a new and different kind of church.

We started meeting as a small group in Jan. of 2013 and then met monthly in 2013 all the way to our launch date of October 6th! It honestly seems like yesterday that we sat around that dining room table. Time goes by quick.

3. Leading a Church is really hard!

I know, how could it be hard when pastors only work 1 day a week? Hah, Hah, Hah! I have always prided myself on how hard I worked. I have never been the 40 hour a week pastor. My motto has always been…let’s do whatever it takes.

But, planting and leading a church has been a different level of hard. For years, I always had opinions on what my pastor should or shouldn’t be doing. Now, after sitting in the pastors seat for 72 weeks, I have a completely different view.

Before I move on from this, maybe you’re thinking…‘what’s so hard about leading a church’? Well, here are a few of my thoughts:

  • As a pastor, you hear/deal with/are brought into/experience a lot of pain. Other peoples pain. It’s an honor to be a part of peoples lives and its something I don’t take for granted. But, wow, it can be tough to emotionally process all that pain. Pretty exhausting.
  • A pastor’s job isn’t to keep everyone happy and to do everything that everyone wants. So, I have to say no a lot. That’s hard.
  • A big part of my job is raising money for my church. The reality is, the more we raise, the bigger impact we can have. Its tough raising money.

Those are just a few areas that are hard.

4. People will hurt you.

Ok, I know this sounds a tad bit negative, but it shouldn’t come as a shock, right? I mean, everyone has been hurt by someone? Here’s what I know, to start a church takes a lot of hard work, emotional energy, faith and you have to keep moving forward in the midst of some tough negativity.

I know what you’re thinking! Why on earth would anyone be negative about pastors, churches or church planting? Isn’t the local church the hope of the world? Isn’t our goal to get as many people into a relationship with Jesus as possible? What could be negative about that?

Well, I’ve had some really awful things said about me. Other christians have criticized my church. People that I’ve invested into have left my church and didn’t even tell me why or respond to my messages when I’ve asked. That hurts.

But, at the end of the day, that’s what people do to each other. I know I have hurt people and it breaks my heart and I try everyday to not make the mistakes that would cause that hurt again.

What a great first year! 

Ok, these are a few of my thoughts on my experience of leading Thrive Church for our first full year. My next post will include 4 more!!

A spiritual practice that will erase the lies

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the lies that fill my head become INTENSE!

I know they’re not true. But, when they’re dropped inside my head, one after the other, gosh! INTENSE!

And, it doesn’t stop with the lies. All of a sudden, the comparison game starts. And then that is INTENSE!

Then, out of the blue, I wonder if someone is unhappy with a decision I made and then that becomes INTENSE!

And then, the lies get lonely, so they start to attack and then it’s a version of INTENSE that made the first round look like a pony show.

EVER BEEN THERE?

Honestly, this happens to me in waves and seasons. It doesn’t always happen. It’s not always super INTENSE.

But, there are seasons where it is crazy bad and just when I think it’s done, another wave of lies come over my mind!

I’m reminded about things like:

  • I’m not smart enough to lead a church.
  • My church would grow faster if I were a better leader.
  • My kids are getting the short end of the stick and they deserve a better dad.
  • My wife deserves a better husband.
  • I start comparing what God is doing at my church to other churches.
  • I start to believe the lie that says I’ll not never get healthy and I should just give up.

I don’t know what lies fill your head, but I would bet they’re just as debilitating.

So, instead of letting my mind dwell in the depth of those lies, here is a spiritual practice that brings a tremendous amount of peace to my mind and thoughts.

Filling my my mind and heart with scripture

Here is a great passage of scripture that reminds me to stop focusing on the lies and to focus on the truth of scripture.

Romans 12:1-2 (message)

 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

 

4 Reasons I love my Church!

It’s no secret…tailgate 14

I love my Church!

I have loved my church since it was an idea in my  journal. I have loved it since it was only 8 people sitting around a dining room table. I have loved it when we had nothing…no equipment, no trailers, no computers, no office, no nothing. Just a crazy-passionate-wildly-huge dream to reach people who have given up on God and church.

And, I have loved every step of this journey. Don’t get me wrong, its been the toughest journey of my life. Feels like all up hill. Ups and downs. Crazy highs, crazy lows. Huge joy and tremendous pain. Tons of healing and tons of pain.

But, in the midst of all of that…

I love my Church!

Here are 4 reasons why I love my church…

 1. Our heart to care for and reach people who have given up on God and Church. 

That’s right, we set out to start and lead a different kind of church. We didn’t want to be a churchy church, with church traditions and churchy culture. We wanted to be different. We wanted to be the kind of environment that people who have said that they would never step into a church again, would love it.

2. Our heart for prayer! 

We have seen and experienced so many answered prayers over the last 2 years! It’s just overwhelming! Marriages healed. Jobs found. Finances provided. Hope and Joy and Peace brought into relationships.

God has just provided over and over and over again!

3. Our heart to welcome, accept and love ANYONE! 

We strive really hard to keep the judgmental eyes put away. Actually, our goal is that everyone who comes to Thrive on a Sunday would be so welcomed and so accepted, that they couldn’t wait to come back.

4. Our church is growing. 

Yes, I care a ton that we are growing! I believe a healthy church should grow. And, it is! It honestly feels like a blink of the eye and Thrive was just a handful of people. Now, more than 400 people call Thrive their church home! But, it’s just crazy and humbling that we continue to grow. For some reason, people keep telling their friends and family.

What I care about most is that people are surrendering their lives to Jesus! 

I just love my church. I love that I have the honor and privilege to be Thrive’s pastor and I love and I believe that our best days are ahead of us!