Favorite Moments from Easter at Thrive 2016

Today was a great day!

Today was the culmination of months and months of planning, preparing and praying!

Today was our third Easter Sunday at Thrive.

We decided even before we started as a Church, that we would invest a ton of prayer, effort, finances and dreaming into Easter Sunday’s. Why? Because 8 our to 10 people say they would accept an invitation to Church on Easter Sunday. So, we dream big. We pray boldly, but humbly. And we went for it today.

Here are some of my favorite moments:

1. Lives were changed! 16 people today made a spiritual decision! Wow! That’s why Thrive exists, to help people find and follow Jesus!!

2. Seeing something on paper become a reality. Every big Sunday at Thrive, starts out as a google doc. We have a Master plan that’s shared with all of our staff and key leaders and it evolves as our planning moves forward. Then, our creative teams meet and do more dreaming. The plan is tweaked and tweaked and then it is prayed over.

3. Our Volunteers! It hit me a few days ago that we had more volunteers serving today than we in total attendance on our launch Sunday! That’s just humbling!

4. The stories. Our creative team captured the amazing stories of a Thrive couple and a Thrive high school student! It was awesome to hear about how God is moving in their lives. Then, at the end of the experience, they played the amazing worship song ‘Death was Arrested’ and the song was intertwined with the culmination of the videos! WOW!!!! It was amazing!

5. Watching Generations Serve Together! Its just so awesome to see so many families serving together. Kids, Parents and Grand Parents! And, today, our worship pastor lead worship with his wife and his dad played lead guitar! THAT WAS AWESOME!!

6. Thrive Kidz absolutely ROCKED! It was amazing to have a REAL & LEGIT place for Thrive KidZ!! We normally meet at a movie theater and we do the best we can with the kid environments, but they’re not as great as they could be because of space issues. Today though! Wow! We had an amazing amount of space for our kids! We had a band for our kids! It was awesome!

7. Shoe Project! We’re raising about $23,000 to buy 850 kids a brand new pair of tennis shoes at two local elementary schools! We raised $5644 from today’s offering to go along with what’s already been raised, for a grand total of…$17843.82! That’s 713 pairs of shoes! We are just 137 pair of shoes away from our goal of 850!!!! So CLOSE!!

8. Co-teaching with Dr. Tom! This guy has always made me better! He makes my teaching better and he sharpens me! He’s a huge gift to Thrive Church and it was awesome to work through our messages together over the last few weeks!

9. The worship was off the hook! Holy Cow! Matt and his team did an amazing job of leading us in worship! I love the worship culture that Matt is building at Thrive and I love that we Worship Jesus Loud at Thrive!

10. Our staff just killed it! After our second experience, a Thriver came up to me and said, I just can’t believe how organized this all is! That was music to my ears! I love the team that God has assembled and I’m honored to serve with them!

 Wow, wow, just wow! Our BEST day yet as a Church! All morning long I fought off of tears and then finally gave in! God’s presence, His favor and His hand was on our Church today and it was so humbling!

To think, 130 weeks ago, there was 30 or so people in a living room and today, just wow!

I couldn’t be more excited about what’s ahead for Thrive Church!
We start a new series next week called ‘DO GOOD’ and then on April 18th, we will head into Shepherd Elementary and Winn Elementary and pass out 850 pairs of SHOES!
Then on May 8th, we will celebrate MOM’s at Thrive with a special Sunday called ‘Mama’s Day! 
On May 15th we have another round of baptisms!! I can’t wait!!!
Then, DAD FEST returns to Thrive on June 12th! It’s the next time we’re on campus at CMU!
I’m just honored to be Thrive’s Pastor and I know…



Thrive is Moving this Sunday to CMU + All the details for Easter!

I can’t believe that Easter Weekend is finally here! It feels like we have been planning, preparing and praying for months…oh wait…we have! easter

I am so EXCITED it’s finally here!

All the planning was worth it. Praying at 3:27pm everyday has been worth it! Asking and seeking God for His plan, has been worth it!

And it’s here!

I am beyond THRILLED that Thrive is moving this Sunday to CMU. Down deep, I wish it was for every Sunday, but we’ll start with Easter Sunday. I’m excited to see how it will work out. We LOVE meeting at the movie theater on Sunday’s, but we’ve hit a plateau and we believe a growth lid. And, so for a year, we’ve been praying about a new location for Thrive and God lead us to CMU.

If you’re a Thriver, here are a few last minute reminders.

Don’t Forget…

To Pray! Pray for God’s favor and His blessing. Pray for those coming who don’t know Jesus. Pray for people who need to be fully ALIVE. And, join us tomorrow morning at 830am in front of Finch at CMU for the Easter prayer walk. It will take about 30 minutes!

To Invite! Lot’s of time to invite friends and family. 8 out of 10 people say they will accept an invite to Church on Easter Sunday. Use Facebook. Use email. Use smoke signals, whatever it takes!

To Help Set Up. We’re setting up at 7pm on Saturday night in Finch if you want to help!

To pre-register your kids for Thrive Kidz. Head to www.thrivechurchmi.cc and click Thrive Kidz. You can pre-register your kids there!

To be early!! Yes, please be at least 30 minutes early. Get your kids checked in and be in Plachta by 9:25am and 10:55am at the latest. We don’t want you to miss anything.

AND…Because we’ve never used Plachta before on a Sunday, we need a HUGE favor. Would you consider sitting as close as possible? We want to fill the front first, so we don’t have a ton of people in the way back and no one up front. Thanks!

To bring your best offering yet! Our goal is to raise $10,000 on Sunday for the SHOE PROJECT! Yeah, that would be like 2 Sunday’s of offerings. ITS HUGE! IT’s kind of CRAZY to think about! But, I believe we can do it! Everything given on Sunday is going to the SHOE PROJECT!!

It’s going to be crazy hearing the stories of how this shoe project impacts the town of Shepherd! Thank you for giving, thank you for believing and thanks for wanting to impact others!

Lastly, Come Ready to Celebrate Jesus!

We believe Easter Sunday should be the biggest party ever! Why? Because we celebrate the RISEN Savior! Our Messiah. Our Lord.

So, come ready! To sing, to clap, to raise our hands in worship, to pray, to learn and to give God our best!

You are loved Thrive Church! I am praying for you!

See you on Sunday!


My Heart is so Full…

Have you ever had one of those days where you just feel the presence of God and you know He’s whispering to you?

Yeah, that’s today. 

It doesn’t happen all that often, but the presence of God has been overwhelming today.

I’ve been fighting tears most of the day and the night.

In a nutshell, I’m just so overwhelmed at what God is up too at Thrive Church.

For me, leading Thrive Church is not about a job. It’s not about a paycheck. It’s not about creating a club. It’s not about a nice little hobby. It’s not about reaching people other churches aren’t reaching. It’s about seeing people fall madly in love with Jesus.

It’s my calling. It’s my passion. And I give everything to it. 

And to be crazy honest, it has felt like Hell has tried to break loose all over my Church lately. Some of our folks have experienced too much death. Some are experiencing a crazy amount of pain. Our entire staff has been sick. So many in our church has been sick. There has been conflict. There has been many late night hours praying and seeking God to provide the finances to accomplish the vision He’s given us. There has been very early mornings seeking Him and humbly asking for His guidance.

But, as hard as its been. It’s been so so good! It’s been incredible! People’s lives are changing. We have seen miracles. We have seen answered prayers.

And, as we approach Easter, my heart is just full. We’re taking a descent size step of faith for a Church that’s 128 weeks old. We’re moving venues. It’s much larger. It takes more volunteers. It takes more equipment. There are more moving parts.

Plus, our teams have done an amazing job of putting together an amazing Easter experience and I couldn’t be proud! I have already heard so many stories of Thrivers inviting friends and family. I have heard stories of people rearranging their spring break plans so they could be here at Easter.

And, it’s crazy to think that just 129 weeks ago, Thrive hadn’t even been officially started yet.

So, my Heart is Full! 

My Heart is Ready!

My Heart is captivated by how amazing God’s love is.

My Heart is so thankful.

Thankful I have the honor of being a part of what He’s doing in Central MI at Thrive Church.

Hey Thrive! It’s EASTER WEEK!! Let’s do this!

Hey Thrivers! It’s EASTER WEEK!! 

Tracie ‘Riker’ Raitz and I are at the Hub getting ready for Easter at Thrive and I am so THANKFUL for this CHURCH! We have been a part of so many churches in our young 40 and 38 years and we love–LOVE our Church!easter
When I think about how many people are using their gifts week in and week out for the vision and mission of Thrive, its just humbling! And, how many people are serving and using their gifts for Easter, wow!

Here are a few things every Thriver should know about Easter at Thrive:

1. We have to PRAY! Big, Bold, and Humble prayers! Ask God for His favor this week on everybody inviting friends and family. Ask God for His favor on the people hearing the radio ad. Ask God for His favor on the college students and faculty at CMU who will see the Easter ad. Ask God for His favor on all the details coming together this week and on all the volunteers.
Pray that people will trust in Jesus as their Savior! Pray for the band and the worship. Pray for the speakers. Pray that we turn CMU into the most welcoming and and accepting environment anyone steps into!
2. Social Media Blast is tomorrow at 12pm. Just head to the main Thrive Church MI Facebook page and press share on the latest post. You can also write to invite folks as well! Our goal is a 100 shares. Thanks for considering!!
And, thanks to those who have used the ALIVE header on their pages!
3. We still need candy for the Easter Eggs!! Drop it off any time this week at the HUB! If you can help stuff eggs, let Lindsey.msibi@thrivechurchmi.cc know.
4. Easter Prayer Walk is Saturday morning at 830am. We’ll start outside of Finch Fieldhouse. We’ll head to Big Boys after we pray!!
5. Easter Set up. We can start setting up the night before! If you can help, great! 7pm at Finch Fieldhouse and 9pm in Plachta. Let Lindsey.msibi@thrivechurchmi.cc know if you can help!
6. We still need volunteers. ESPECIALLY in the MOST IMPORTANT AREA…THRIVE KIDZ!! Please let Claire.Torgerson@thrivechurchmi.cc know today if you can serve! YOU ARE NEEDED!
7. Sunday morning instructions:
…If you’re serving, Volunteer Central & Huddle is at 815am in Finch.
…If you’re serving, please arrive 45 minutes early and check in at Volunteer Central in Finch.
…If you’re attending, please arrive 30 minutes early. Get your kids all checked in and please be in Plachta at least 10 minutes early!!
…The Easter Egg Grab is right after each experience and there will be a Picture Wall for families to get a family picture taken!!
8. Thank you! As you know, a few times a year, we really try to use the natural momentum to draw more people to Church. Easter is one of those Sunday’s. Hosting Easter at CMU is a big undertaking, but we’re ready! We have an amazing staff and our volunteer team is the BEST in the world!
God has this! Thanks for asking for His blessing. Thanks for inviting! Thanks for giving! Thanks for serving!
9. LASTLY…Like I announced yesterday, our entire offering from EASTER Sunday will be used for the SHOE PROJECT!!!! Right now, we have raised enough for 360 pairs of Shoes.
I believe with my entire HEART we can be done on Sunday! PLEASE bring your best gift and present it to God!
We’ll update you later in the day with the results!
Know you are loved!!
Jason Raitz

Today is the Day to come back to Church! (insert happy emoji)

Ok, maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve been to Church.

Maybe you were attending a Church. Or at least going to one.

Maybe you even started to get involved, which is so much better than just going to Church.

And then life happened. 

You suffered a loss. You went through grief. You lost a job. You started to miss so much that you started to wonder, ‘why do I need to go back’. Maybe you’ve been away for so long that you think it’s impossible to start going again. Or, maybe, just maybe you’ve been away for so long that you feel disconnected.

Here’s the good news. I hope you’re ready for it. (smilely emoji)

Today is the day to come back! go-back

Yup, it sure is! It’s National Come Back to Church Sunday! I kind of just made that up, but it really is Palm Sunday! John 12 shows us it’s the Sunday we celebrate when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and the people gathered and cheered and laid down palm branches (hence the Palm Sunday).

So, is there is a better Sunday to come back than the Sunday we celebrate Jesus!?! Come on!

Here is your invite to Thrive Church!

We’re a super fun, casual Church that’s extremely serious about our faith in Jesus. I promise there is no weird stuff and you don’t have to worry about to wear. Just be you, just be comfortable.

So, even if you used to come to Thrive, yes, you’re invited back! If you’ve been searching for a Church, you’re invited!

We meet at Celebration Cinema at either 9 or 1015. I would get there at least 15 minutes early!

Next week though…We meet on the campus on CMU for EASTER!!!! More on that later.

See you soon and welcome back!

PS…I refuse to use actual emoji’s, true story. It’s my thing and I’m sticking to it!


Gosh, Encouragement is Awesome!

Do you encourage others?IMG_2102

No, seriously, is it a daily–consistent–habit?

If not, why not?

I came into my office last week and someone had left this on my white board.

It MEANT the world! 

Encouragement is AWESOME!

So, why don’t we do it more?

Here’s what 1 Thes. 5:11 says about that…

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

I know some of us have fallen out of the encouragement life style because life has been hard. I get that.

But, if you know Jesus, you have a calling. And, part of that calling is to encourage. worry2

So, encourage. And…Don’t be cheap with encouragement. 

As a I Pastor, I love receiving encouragement! As a husband, as a dad, as a son, as a friend, I love receiving encouragement!

I know that sounds selfish! It is! But, gosh, I receive a pretty good dose of the opposite. It’s true. I try to not talk about it often. But, I have its amazing the negative comments that thrown my way. Either directly to me, indirectly to me, through someone else or via social media.

That’s discouraging. But, it’s part of life!

And, like anyone else, I could always use the encouragement!

So, here’s what I challenge myself with everyday…

Who can I encourage today? Who can I send encouraging words too today?

I love my Small Group!

Acts 2:46-47…

They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved

I am super blessed.


Because I get to experience Acts 2:46-47 every Sunday night!

It’s sacred to me. It’s sacred to my family.

And, we love our small group.

Our Small Group met last night and I’ll be honest, I almost cancelled. 3 of our kids were away at a retreat and obviously came home exhausted. Tracie and I are still not feeling well. Our house was in disarray.

But, we thought and prayed and decided to not cancel.

I’m so glad we didn’t. Last night BLESSED ME! Last night was FUN. Last night was DEEP. Yes, deep. I love that our group really shared some giant prayer needs they have it took us to another level of intimacy with each other.

I LOVED IT!images

I love my Small Group.

I love that we get to experience Acts 2:46-47. I love that our kids love doing life together. I love that we have big meals together. I love that we pray for each other.

I LOVE THAT WE LAUGH! Gosh, we laugh! And that’s good!

We’re not going to wow the ‘need a super deep bible study’ folks out there. Actually, we just talk through the message and read some scriptures. But, it’s amazing what can happen in a group when people are committed to being there. Committed to each other. And committed to honestly sharing with each other.

I love my Small Group.