This could be the BEST Sunday ever to come back to Church

Let me jump right to it…I am inviting you to my Church. do good one

Thrive Church

And, here’s the deal…I really want you to come. I really want you to check us out. I really want you to experience our Church. And, I’m not alone. Our Church is built for you. Our Church exists for you. Our Church cares for you. Our church wants to help you experience Jesus.

When you check us out, here’s what you will find…

1. We’re a Church that gathers in a movie theater. Yup, we meet at Celebration Cinema at either 9 or 1015 every Sunday morning. It’s really great. The seats are crazy comfy, the place smells like popcorn and we use the big screens. It’s cool.

When you do come, I would come at least 15 minutes early. That way you can grab some free Bigby’s coffee, some donuts, if you have kids you can check them into Thrive Kidz and then you can make your way to theater one.

2. We’re a Church that will make you feel like you’re wanted. We will do that because we genuinely want you to be a part of our Church. We are a community of people that seek God and look out for the welfare of our community. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that.

So, when you walk in, people are going to say hi to you left and right. Just a warning! Hah!

3. We’re a Church that really cares for kids and students. You’re going to hear us talk about that a lot. You will probably see kids and students on the stage at Thrive at some point. Your kids will really love their experience in Thrive Kidz. And, if you have teenagers, they will love their experience in One Youth.

We believe this so passionately because we believe kids and students are not the church of tomorrow, they are the Church of today! So, make sure you bring your kids.

4. We’re a Church that laughs. It’s in our dna, it’s in our culture, so get ready to laugh. Yes, we probably push the boundaries a little. But, laughter is a good thing. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we look for ways to tie in what people experience in their everyday lives with what God teaches about life and relationships.

5. We’re a Church that is all about Jesus. So, if you’re looking for a social club or a place where you won’t be challenged, Thrive’s probably not the Church for you. We’re going to challenge you to surrender your heart to Jesus. So, know that on the front end.

But, a life surrendered to Jesus is the only way to live, we believe.

So, get ready! Today is the BEST Day to check us out! 



A special trip to CA with just my Bobby

I will NEVER forget the day that Robert Jason Raitz was born! It was a total surprise that he was a boy! We already had Bekah and I was absolutely convinced we were going to have all girls. IMG_3383

Then, the day came. I was about to lead worship at church and my wife (Tracie) came back stage and said…um…you won’t be leading worship today. So, I took off my guitar and headed to the hospital. Our whole youth group came to the waiting room and played board games and then I came out and announced that Robert Jason  Raitz was born.

One of the coolest moments of my life happened about an hour after he was born. My dad, Robert Raitz, came into the room and I introduced him to his grandson, Robert Raitz. Wow, what a moment!

Bobby is now 12 years old! It’s just flow by. He’ll be 13 this summer and I just can’t even believe it!

13 years old! A teenager! And the crazy part is, we’ll have two teenagers! Just awesome!

Well, tomorrow morning he and I leave the house at 445am to drive to Detroit to hop on a plane to CA. I was asked to speak at a great event in Southern CA and it worked out great to bring Bobby! Just me and Bob.

I’ve been praying about this trip for a long time. I’ve been praying for this trip for a long time.

Why? Because Bob turns 13 this summer and that’s a major milestone! That’s Huge and as his dad I’ve worked hard raising him and pouring into him and I can’t wait to have fun, and do more of that this weekend.

Here’s the thing. It will be just Bobby and I. I don’t have a ton of money, so we’ll check out the ocean. We’ll talk. We’ll play catch on the beach. And, like he’s done hundreds of times, he will sit and listen to his dad speak from stage.

In a perfect world, I would have the money to rent a convertible, but honestly, the cheapie compact car will be just fine!

So, we are going to have a BLAST! We’re going to talk. We’re going to experience a cool trip together. We’re going to pray. We’re going to hang out. We’re going to be together!

I can’t wait! My Bob turns 13 this summer and I couldn’t be proud of him. He’s a young man who loves Jesus. Who has great empathy for others. He’s compassionate. He’s a deep thinker. He’s profound. He’s funny! He has a great smile! And..he’s just awesome!

What I learned from Thrive’s 1st full year (pt 2)

I’ve been leading Thrive Church for 75 weeks! It feels like I could blink and we just started, but it also feels like an eternity that our church has been going!  I’ve learned a ton and…

I love it! IMG_3595_2

It’s exciting! It’s fun! It’s a thrill ride! It’s an honor to get a front row view of God changing lives…including mine!

It’s also hard! I don’t think a one step of the way has been easy. It’s been Ridiculously HARD! Uphill. Honestly, it can be heart breaking. It has brought a new level of stress and worry into my life. It has also brought pain.


The good far outweighs the bad and I would willingly climb a mountain of the difficult to keep climbing towards the call that God has given me.

All in all, I know that I am called to lead and Pastor Thrive Church and I absolutely love it!

All that being said, I’ve been doing some thinking lately about what I learned in the first year of my church. Needless to say, I learned a ton.

I had to break this post down into a couple of posts because the list of what I’ve learned ended up being a little long. Here is part one of what I’ve learned so far.

What I’ve Learned from leading Thrive Church…Part Two

1. Vision drains fast! I’ve heard it said for years that vision leaks. I’ve learned first hand that it drains fast! Like, holy cow, it’s gone! I love Bill Hybel’s definition of vision…’a picture of the future that produces passion in people’. I love that and I hope the vision of Thrive Church does just that.

But, I have learned that vision does leak!  I’ve got to keep to talking about the vision, telling the story of our vision and get people who understand our vision to talk about our vision.

2. Clarity is HUGE. I believe the more strategic and more thought out our systems, plans and strategies can be, the better! As much as I can roll with the punches, I love to have a plan. We have a Strategic Plan for the entire year. We have a master calendar that’s broken down into quarters with the major initiatives and goals for those quarters.

There’s too much at stake to not have a well thought out plan.

3. Building teams is a must. Thrive Church would just not exist without teams. Especially as a portable church! And honestly, it’s just hard! We are in a constant state of recruiting and a constant state of worrying about burning out volunteers. We have an amazing team who is at Thrive every Sunday at 7am to set up and I’m always trying to build that team.

Thrive Church just cannot exist without a ton of people being a part of teams.

4. Nobody will be as excited as you. And, I am excited! Probably too excited for some, but again, I know vision leaks. But, I’ve got to make sure I don’t have unfair expectations for my team and everybody else. Yes, I hope they are excited and passionate about our vision, but I never want to force it down peoples throats.

5. The financial pressure-stress-worry-anxiety can be overwhelming! Yikes! This is the understatement of the year! And, especially because we’re a bit aggressive with our vision. That means, we plan 5-6 big Sunday’s a year and already as a church we’ve given away a good amount of money!! Especially since we’re only 75 weeks old!!

Trust in God

What I’ve learned about the whole process of church planting is that I have to keep trusting in God. I know it sounds simple, but it’s so profound. Every step of the way. Every decision that’s made. Every day-week-month-year…I just have to keep trusting in God.

Here’s what I know so far…He is blowing my mind and my heart! He’s creating so many ONLY GOD moments that its undeniable that He is moving in Thrive Church.

I am just honored and blessed to be the pastor of Thrive and I know the best is yet to come!

‘Wouldn’t it be nice’ if you could find a church who…

Isn’t there an old Beach Boys song that goes…

‘wouldn’t it be nice’…?

I am pretty sure that song is all about a love relationship, but yesterday I was thinking about our relationship with God. And then that started me down the road of thinking about peoples relationship with Church.

And then I started to think about all the reasons people have given me to not be a part of a Church.

Reasons like…

  • Church is boring
  • The Church is full of hypocrites
  • I understand what’s going on at Church
  • Why would I want to be a part of something that’s just against stuff?
  • I’m not a good enough of person to be a part of Church
  • I don’t have any nice clothes to wear

You’re invited to Thrive Church do good one

At Thrive, we can’t say ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ about the list below, because it’s true. So, look no further if you’re looking for a Church who…

  • Doesn’t care about the way you dress
  • Doesn’t care what kind of past you have
  • Doesn’t care if you know all the Christianese language
  • Doesn’t care if you given up on God
  • Doesn’t care if you said you would never step foot inside a church again

We care about you. We care about the person God wants you to become.

We desperately want you to find a Church home and a place to care for you, pray for you, teach you about Jesus and encourage you.

So, you’re invited to Thrive Church! 

We meet in a movie theater! Yeah, we actually do. A real–live–working theater.

Head over to Celebration Cinema’s at either 9 or 1015am and get ready!

Oh, don’t worry about wearing your Sunday best, just be you!

Why Kids and Students matter so much at Thrive Church

I’m going to cut right to the chase and I believe this passionately about Thrive Church


  • If kids and students don’t love Thrive Church, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t begging their parents to be a part of Thrive Church, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t being poured into, taught and shown Jesus, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t given the opportunity to lead and use their gifts, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t challenged to be Jesus and to be a light to the world, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.

That’s why kids and students matter so much at Thrive Church! cool thrive kids pic

They have to matter! And, every single adult who attends, who is a Thrive Partner, who volunteers, who gives and who prays for our Church has to be passionate about investing into them!

We have to invest amazing resources into our kids and students.

We have to be excited every time they lead.

We have to get them involved as much as possible.

We have to get them to camps and retreats.

We have to inspire them.

We have to encourage them.

We have to help them find and follow Jesus.

That’s why kids and students matter so much to our Church. They are not only our future, they are our now.