Exponential Conference…The Highlights…Day One…

For the second year in a row, I’m down at the Exponential Conference and its just awesome! My soul is being refreshed and I’m more excited than ever about what God is doing in my local church and the capital ‘C’ Church!

If you’re interested in church planting or wondering if God’s called you to plant a church, you have to get to Exponential. Its just that simple.

Ok, my time here is flying by, but I wanted to take a quick second and post about some of my highlights and learnings from day one.

The Highlights…

1. Tracie (my wife) being able to come. Over the last 20 years of ministry together, we really haven’t been able to attend all that many conferences together. I have traveled a ton for my speaking and the majority of the time, she’s had to stay home with the kids. But, she’s here and it’s AWESOME! So thankful for my parents and them taking care of our kids this week!

2. Part of our Thrive church staff team was able to come. I’m bummed we couldn’t bring everyone, but I am so excited we could bring part of our team and its awesome to experience it together. Its awesome to be inspired and encouraged and already we have had so many conversations about the dreams that God is putting on our hearts.

3. Leading a Stadia training on communication & preaching. Yesterday morning I had the blessing of leading a training on communication and preaching to a great group of new Stadia planters. It was a privilege and I loved being able to share what I’ve learned in my short time as a Pastor and a Church Planter.

4. Being reminded that the LOCAL CHURCH is ALIVE and WELL! I get so frustrated sometimes reading all the negative that’s written about the church. Being at Exponential is so good for my soul and every where I turn, there are constant reminders that because of Jesus, the Church is the hope of the world. And yes, I do know that many churches are in trouble and closing and that breaks my heart. But, so many are growing and planting new churches!

5. Gathering with our Stadia family. Last night was the annual Stadia banquet and it was so GOOD! To be in a room with hundreds of church planters and leaders is just awesome! I loved hearing all the stories of what God is doing across Stadia churches and it’s honor to be a part of the Stadia family! Plus, last night, we raised enough money to plant 12 Hispanic Churches across the country! So exciting!

6. ‘Let them see you bleed. Lead like Jesus’ ~Danielle Strickland. I just can’t stop thinking about Danielle’s talk yesterday. She was challenging, encouraging and it was so powerful!

7. Seeing so many friends! It’s a blast coming to conferences like this because I run into and I’m able to catch up with ministry friends from all over the country!

8. Hanging out with my boys from Journey Church! Last night was awesome! I actually stayed awake past 10 and hung out with the staff and our friends from Journey Church! I love those guys. Journey’s pastor, Jeremy Brown, has been my Stadia Coach for the last year and I wouldn’t have been able to lead my church without him! Brice, their worship leader has become a good friend and has been a constant source of encouragement. Chuck, their next gen pastor is an all around amazing guy and he helped me write our next gen pastor job description and I loved getting to know him as well.

It’s just awesome to have a partnership with their Church and to know we’re not alone! I love those guys and I know they have no idea how encouraging they are to me and my Church!

Day one was great! Day two has started and I can’t wait for what God has in store.

I miss my kids. I miss sleeping in my bed. I miss studying at my desk. I miss Mt Pleasant.

I can’t wait to be at Thrive Church this Sunday.

 

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The time my 12 year old was ticked about baseball

I love baseball. I love that my boys love baseball. IMG_4900

I have played catch with them since before they were walking.

Every trip we have ever gone on, we always bring our gloves and play catch. We’re always throwing something. Always hitting something.

Honestly, as they’ve gotten older, it’s so fun! We throw harder…they dive…it’s fun.

I love it! 

But, today my 12 year was ticked about baseball! Let me back up. Yesterday, Bob, had a great first baseball game of the spring. Hit a great double to centerfield, pounded another ball that was caught and was hit by a pitch, and he eventually scored! He’s a good ball player. He loves playing baseball. It’s not his life, but I’m glad he plays.

Today he found out that some of his baseball games are on Wednesday nights and he was ticked.

No, I mean, straight up TICKED!

Why? Because that means he will miss ONE YOUTH. One Youth is Thrive’s student ministry and HE LOVES IT!! I love that he loves it. But, my goodness, he was mad.

I explained that we’ll get him to One Youth as soon as the games are over, but that wasn’t good enough for Bob.

Ok, this is tough for me. I love baseball! I love watching my boys play. So, it’s hard to see him mad about it.

But, I love ‘the Church’ and I love our church more. I love our student ministry. And, I’m proud–glad–excited–happy that he’s ticked about missing One Youth.

Yes, today I am one proud dad!

3 Reasons to Check out Thrive Church this morning

Ok, let’s catch up a bit…

  • You have been thinking about coming to Thrive Church for awhile now.
  • For some reason or another you have been searching for a church home.
  • Some friends have asked you to come with them and you’ve noticed on Facebook, that some other friends go to Thrive.
  • There has been this tugging on your heart about putting it on your schedule to actually go.

So, you’re invited to Thrive Church this morning and are a few reasons why you should come.

3 Reasons to Check out Thrive 

1. You have questions about Jesus. 

Maybe you believe in God, maybe you were a part of a Church in the past, maybe life has fallen a part on you, maybe you have a ton of questions about Jesus or maybe you’ve heard that Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God.

Whatever the reason, you’re in luck, everything we do at Thrive points to Jesus. We exist to help people find and follow Jesus. So, come to Thrive and get your questions answered about Jesus and in the process you will find out how to have a personal relationship with Him! BONUS!

2. You are desperately alone. 

Life is hard, isn’t it? Work is hard. Having debt is hard. Sometimes relationships don’t work out. Or, maybe you know a ton of people, but they don’t know you.

Whatever place you find yourself in, I guarantee it’s better to do life with people who care for you and pray for you.

So, come and be a part of a family. Meet people who will encourage you.

Step into a environment where ‘no perfect people are allowed’.

3. You’re looking for more. 

Do you like to be challenged? Do you need to be pushed? Thrive is not a church that’s going to gloss over all the tough stuff of life and the tough teachings of Jesus. Actually, we’re going to go right at them. We’re going to dive in and ask you to come along on the journey.

So, are you ready for me? Are you ready to be a part of a Church that has a HUGE vision and mission and desperately wants and needs you to be a part?

If so, then come to Thrive!

Come this morning!

Head to Celebration Cinema this morning at either 900 or 1015.

Oh, come early. Grab some coffee from the lobby. Take your kids to Thrive kids. Head to theater one and get ready!

See you at Thrive this morning. 

 

 

Tomorrow is a Significant Day for Thrive Church and I can’t wait!

Ok, every Sunday is a Significant day at Thrive ChurchIMG_4652

AND…every Sunday is a Significant for every local Church!

They’re all important!

It’s the day that we get the privilege and blessing to gather together as a body.

Because at least for Thrive, Sunday is just a tiny moment of the week and our goal for Sunday is point people to Jesus and then release them to go be Jesus. To go be the CHURCH!

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

There has never been a time when people need Jesus more than right now! There is so much pain, so much hurt, so much hopelessness and so many needs.

And, Jesus is the answer.

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

And, for our young, 81 week old church, we are in a growing season and honestly, every Sunday is vitally important for us to gather together.

To be…encouraged, challenged, taught, to serve, to give, to meet new people, to be prayed for, to laugh, to cry, to think, to be pointed toward Jesus and to worship Him.

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

Also, we’re experiencing communion together tomorrow and that’s just a major moment for every Christ follower. It’s a time that we really get to REMEMBER and CELEBRATE what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

Plus, we’re going (I believe) to have a powerful moment to go along with it.

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that! 

Lastly, I get to update our Church on our progress to hire a Next Gen Pastor! I can’t wait! It’s a HUGE honor to bring on another staff member and we believe God has brought an amazing candidate to our attention. AMAZING candidate!

Don’t miss out on hearing the details and how EVERYONE can be a part of this! Not just people with kids. EVERYONE in our church.

Because, if we want our Church to continue to grow and flourish, we have to POUR into, INVEST, RESOURCE and want kids and students to love Jesus and our church.

I love what Perry Noble said about this…

‘Student ministry is only important if you want life in your Church’. 

So, tomorrow is a HUGE DAY for that!

Please be praying! Please invite someone. Please show up early. Please reach out to someone you don’t know. Please serve. Please give financially. Please look to Jesus.

Tomorrow is a significant day and I can’t wait to gather together with my Church! 

I just want more of Jesus

I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Lot’s going on for our family. Lot’s going on at Church.

Life is full. Too full. 

Just like any family, we have a lot going on. We have kids in baseball and track and we have kids with special diets and lots of homework. We have a teenager, a pre teen and two who think their teenagers. For the first time in years, my wife is working again. She was a full time stay at home mom, but now she works for our church 25 hours a week (unpaid) and our family has adjusted to that.

Just like any Pastor, my week is insanely full. I take my work home. I’m constantly thinking about my messages, the people who haven’t been to Thrive in awhile, our church finances, are we an accepting church, future hires, spouses who don’t know Jesus, the upgrades we need, fundraising, who we can help, who we can’t help, our staff, our staff families, upcoming outreach events and the list goes on and on.

And, when I get too busy…I take my eyes off Jesus. It’s that simple. I’m not proud of that.

My morning quiet time is replaced with hustle or sleeping in or something else. 

My prayer walks go away or are less frequent. 

My reading of the books I love (typically about spiritual formation) is replaced with Yahoo news. 

My patience goes out the window.

My eating habits go from bad to even worse. 

I hug my wife and kids less. 

Again, I’m not proud of any of this. But, it’s amazing how easy it is to slip into this mode.

But, I can’t let my life stay in this mode! And, the only solution I know of is…

Jesus. 

I just want–Need–long for more of Jesus. 

So, I’m going to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I’m going to make sure to pay attention to my life when it starts to get too full and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to protect my soul.

I just want more of Jesus in my life.

HUGE Thrive Church Updates…Including an update on our future Next Gen Pastor

It’s 70 degrees and yes I’m wearing shorts! And yes, we are the kind of church where the Pastor wears shorts and I love that! Actually, once I wore khaki’s on a Sunday morning and was lovingly chided for weeks about that!! So great! 

If you call Thrive Church home, if you support us from a distance or you’re interested in being a part, here is everything you to need to know right now.

EVERY UPDATE…THE STUFF YOU GOTTA KNOW!!

 Update One…The Next Gen Pastor Update! We are hiring a Next Gen Pastor! We are ridiculously EXCITED! We have been praying for months, actually a year and we have a Candidate! An unbelievable man who has a great wife and an amazing family!

They will be officially interviewing the first week of May and we’re inviting all Thrive Kidz and One youth parents to meet them on Wednesday night, May 6th at 7pm at the Hub! Meet them, hear their story and ask them questions. They will be interviewing with our financial team, our Thrive Kidz and One youth leadership teams, our students will meet them and they will be interviewed by our Management team down state!

If you’re interested in helping us raise the extra support needed for this giant venture, thank you!! You can head here to give online!

Update Two…Week Two of ‘What on Earth am I here for’ is this Sunday! Did you miss week one? thrive oneGo and watch it. Be ready for week two. We’re diving into the idea that we were created to belong to God’s family!! This Sunday is going to ROCK!! I popped in on the band rehearsing last night and it was awesome! Get ready!

Update Three…START Class is this Sunday and Next! If you’re a current volunteer with any team you need to go through this class. If you want to get to know more about Thrive Church, attend this class. If you’ve ever wondered what we believe, attend this class. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s time for you to officially call Thrive Church home, attend this class!

It’s in theater 3 at 1015!! See you there!

Update Four…Are you in a Growth Group? If not, here are some to pick from. Email info@thrivechurchmi.cc to get signed up!

Tuesday night women’s group. Lead by Connie Haley. They meet at the Hub at 630pm.
Wednesday night mixed group. Lead by Bryan and Delani Huntoon. They meet at the Hub at 7pm during One Youth.
Thursday night young professionals group. Lead by William and Chelsea Schneider. They meet at the Hub at 7pm.

These are Exciting times at Thrive Church! Please, PLEASE be praying for our Church. Pray for God’s protection, His blessing and his hand!

I know that the best is yet to come!!

See you Sunday at either 9 or 1015!