Why Thrive gave away 850 pair of Shoes

This past Monday was a pretty amazing day in the life of Thrive Church! Maybe our best yet!


We gave away 850 pair of tennis shoes to students at 2 Elementary Schools in Shepherd, MI! IMG_0407

It was nuts! It was amazing! It was crazy! It was a tear jerker!

Here’s why we did it…

Just Because! 

We did it because kids matter. Because schools matter. Because families matter.

Let me back up. We were inspired to do this from Newspring Church and from my own personal experiences inside of schools as a speaker.

Even before we started Thrive, we had learned that Newspring adopted schools and gave away literally thousands of pairs of shoes. We wrote that down and said that was something we wanted to do someday in Thrive’s history.

And then, I spent a few years traveling inside of public schools and speaking at assemblies. I always noticed how many shoes were falling a part and I would have conversation after conversation with teachers and administrators and I would always what were the greatest needs and so often I heard…shoes for the students.

We prayed about it and we decided to approach 1 elementary school last year and the principal said yes. We raised enough to buy 425 pair of shoes and we had a little extra left over to bless the teachers with a tiny gift. It was absolutely spectacular!

We took some time and prayed and asked God if we should do it again and we heard a responding yes. So, we approached a different school district and they said yes. The only caveat was, they asked if we could do both of their elementary schools. That meant we would need to come up with…

850 pair of shoes! Wowzers! IMG_0355

For a 2.5 year old church that’s already struggling financially, this is a big deal! Now, we don’t go into Dick’s Sporting Goods and buy pairs off of the shelves. We worked out a great deal with a shoe distributer and we were able to get a brand new pair of amazingly cool Adidas tennis shoes for 25-27 a pair! Yeah, it’s a great deal!

I then went to our Church and asked what they thought. Since we didn’t have the $23000 on hand, I asked every Thriver to buy a pair or two of shoes and people were excited!

Last year, we raised what we needed in 14 days! This year it took much longer! Like 2 months! Partly because I allowed our focus as a Church to head in a few different directions. In that same time span, we collected over 20k bottles of water for Flint and we had a giant Easter where we actually moved locations for the Sunday! IMG_0420

Well, we did it!

Shipping actually ended up being a whole lot more, so it cost us a little, but as a Church, we raised the extra funds and last Monday we gave out 850 pair of shoes.

It was a total God thing! 

Its always amazing to see the kids reactions. Its amazing when you see teachers crying! Its amazing when you get thank you cards from the kids! It’s amazing when you see Thrivers wiping away the tears because a student just told them that this was their first brand new pair of shoes!

Let me be honest, this was hard. It’s not easy to raise funds and it’s not easy to raise funds on top of what is needed to operate our Church every month. But, wouldn’t you know it. For the month of March, our giving was the highest its ever been, plus we raised money for the shoes!

You Can’t Out Give God! 


We will continue on this path as a Church! We have dreams to host a Teachers Appreciation Night for 40 miles worth of teachers. We dream about giving away a mini van on Mothers Day to a single mom. We dream of building a church in Ecuador. We dream of having more than 100 kids sponsored at our next Compassion Sunday!

We’re dreaming big! We’re asking God to use us to bless Central MI and beyond!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the SHOE DAY:


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