180 Weeks equals an amazing Chapter One for Thrive Church!

Having a hard time putting into words how I feel about tomorrow morning. 

You see, its not just another Sunday morning!

Not one Sunday morning is just another Sunday morning! They are all special. They all mean the world!

Tomorrow is Thrive’s last Sunday at the theater we’ve been using for 180 weeks!

The night before our first Sunday (October 5th, 2013), I wrote this…

blog post.

To be honest, not much has changed since that Sunday! We’re still extremely passionate about being a Church for people who have given up on God and Church! We still exist to help people find and follow Jesus.

But, we’ve grown. We’ve matured as an organization. We’ve had unbelievable highs and super deep lows. Through it all, God has been so faithful!

So, I can’t wait.

I really believe to my core that Thrive’s next chapter will be our BEST YET!

Next Sunday we will move to the campus of Central Michigan University. Which is a miracle!

In Two Sundays, we will experience EASTER! Which is always tremendous!

In Three Sunday’s, we have our first baptisms on campus!

In Four Sunday’s, we are cancelling our morning experiences and heading out all over Central Michigan to serve!

I can say whole heartedly…

The Best is Yet to Come! 

How to REALLY support your Church

The ‘Church’ is extremely important to me. I operate under the premise that because of Jesus and when it is working right…

The Local Church is the Hope of the World! 

The church isn’t a social club. The church isn’t an inward focused organization. The church isn’t a religion check mark.

Jesus died for the Church. If it was that important to Him, it is that important to me.

So, how do we go about supporting our local Church? Here are a few ideas.

A few ways to really support your Church

Actually devote time to pray for your Church. Yup, do you spend time every day praying for your Church. For your Pastor? For the staff and leaders? For God’s hand and favor upon it?

Move forward with your Church. Churches are notorious for refusing to change. So many are stuck in the past. And, the only forward movement they have is to try to relive the glory days. One of the best things you can do for your Church is to move forward with it. Don’t try to hold it back.

Have a financial plan to support your Church. So many Christians argue about tithing. Regardless if you believe the tithe is a New Covenant command or an actual 10%, we are still encouraged by Paul to give. Pray over a percentage to give that’s already planned between you and God. And then give faithfully and obediently and then see what happens in your life.

Get your kids involved. For my family, its just not an option for my kids to NOT be involved. So, we attend on Sunday’s. We all serve on Sunday’s. My teenagers are involved with youth group and our younger kids are a part of Thrive Kidz.

Represent Jesus and your Church online. The thing many people forget is that they are actually carriers of the mission of the Church. So, represent Jesus and your church wherever you go. Especially online. LIKE your Churches Facebook posts. LIKE your Pastor’s posts. Write encouraging comments.

Leave the best seats for guests. When you do gather on Sunday, leave the best seats for guests. Sit in the middle of a row. Leave the outside seats for guests.

Fight the urge to disappear. You will cause so much hurt if you just disappear, especially if you’ve built relationships with people. You think that if you just disappear quietly, it will cause less pain. Here’s the reality, when you disappear, you will cause pain. So, don’t. Fight the urge to disappear.

Honor your Pastor and Each Other. This is HUGE! Raise the culture of honor in your Church by actually honoring each other. Be kind and compassionate. Be loyal. Be ready to help.

These are a few absolute GREAT ways to Support your Church! 

 

 

 

Can 7 Sunday’s really be all that important? The next 7 at Thrive are just that…

 

Sunday is coming! I am extremely EXCITED about this Sunday! Why?

It’s Thrive’s last Sunday at the theater!

I have been praying for this day for over 2 years and I can’t wait! Don’t get me wrong, I will miss the theater! I am sad!

But, I am more EXCITED and EXPECTANT and EAGER than I am sad!!

 

Save a Seat Campaign

Have you had a chance to save a seat? If not, there are still seats to sponsor!! Right now **986**seats have been sponsored! That still leaves a few hundred that need to be sponsored!!

If you want to help, THANK YOU! Just head to http://www.thrivechurchmi.cc/give and select CMU fund. Or text, 84321, the amount and CMU!!

****THE NEXT 7 SUNDAYS****

I can’t even begin to explain how important the next 7 weeks are for Thrive Church! I know we’re all busy. But, I’m asking you to consider making these weeks a huge priority, here’s why.

March 26th…Our Last Sunday at Celebration Cinema! Let’s CELEBRATE together! Popcorn, Memories, the most IMPORTANT message ever, Communion, a time of prayer and the band has been putting in extra work on some very special songs.

April 2nd…First Sunday at CMU. 930 and 11am.

April 9th…Palm Sunday. A GIANT Sunday!

April 16th…EASTER SUNDAY [Look Again]. The super bowl of all Sundays.

April 23rd…BAPTISM Sunday at CMU!! Our first ever baptism on the stage at CMU. If you have never been baptized through immersion, please check out this link. http://thrivechurchmi.cc/baptism/

April 30th…The Church has Left the Building! We are not meeting for our experiences, but we will meet at CMU and then spread out all over the area and serve!

As you can tell, wow, this is our MOST IMPORTANT SEASON ever as a Church!!

Thank you for Stepping UP! For Showing UP, for Jumping In and for Doing Good!

 

Thrive Church…Tomorrow is going to be Powerful. Plus (+) We have an Interim Director for One Youth! Woo Hoo!

Happy Saturday Thrive Church
 
I hope you’re doing well and enjoying this weather!!
 

You have to know 3 things…

 
1. We’re talking about how to Recalibrate Your Life tomorrow. Maybe you’ve been out of whack. Feeling like something is missing. Feeling like you’re ‘off’ with God? We’re diving into this passage…
2. Please check your mailbox or email inbox on Monday and Tuesday. I sent home a letter with some SUPER IMPORTANT UPDATES ON THE MOVE TO CMU!!!
 

Are you praying for that? Are you asking God to provide? Are you asking Him to open up the floodgates of heaven on our Church? Please do!

 
3. Jessica Herron is One Youth’s new Interim Director! WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!! Let me back up. One Youth has come a LONG way this way! We have record students involved, record adult volunteers, amazing worship and its been AMAZING on Sunday nights!
 
PAUSE: If your student isn’t involved, come on! Get them there!!
 
Ok, anyways, I have been leading the Church and leading One Youth. Which has worked. But, honestly, I need to raise up new leaders and Matt and I have been praying for One Youth’s next steps.
 
God laid Jess on my heart. She’s been at Thrive since the beginning. Her heart for our students in unreal. She helped start One Youth and honesty, it wouldn’t be here without her faithfulness!
 
Plus, I have personally seen her GROW a ton as a leader over the last 3 years. So, Matt and I took her to lunch and asked her to be the Interim Director and she said YES!!!
 
She is the Interim and she is volunteer staff. I have empowered her to LEAD. To make decisions. To be the point person.
 
So, PLEASE Congratulate her! Please THANK her!!!
 

2017 is already shaping up to be our BEST year yet as a Church!!!

 
The Best is yet to come!
Jason Raitz
 
PS…You coming tomorrow to Thrive? If not, why? If you’ve been away for a while and find it hard to come back, just take the step!

Meet Sam!! Thrive’s Newest Staff Member!! I am sooo EXCITED!

I pinch myself daily because I believe that God assembled an…

  • ABSOLUTELY
  • HUMBLE
  • HARD WORKING
  • FUN
  • CREATIVE
  • JESUS FOLLOWING 

Thrive Staff Team!!

I mean, I think I have a little experience in the matter! I have served at local churches for  22 years! In that time, I have worked and served with some amazing people. But, BUT and its a BIG but, I have never worked and served with such an amazing group of people!

They really are selfless. Many of them work crazy amounts of hours, way more than they’re paid for, to serve the people of Thrive Church. Many of them raise their financial support so they can be a part of the team. They just serve tirelessly and they do it to serve Jesus and others. No one has gotten a raise. No one is here to get rich. Any one of them would drop anything to see someone find and follow Jesus!

And now, God has increased our team! The Thrive staff team is made up of a few different positions. We have full time Pastors, we have part time paid staff, part time volunteer staff and then we have interns.

Meet Sam!! Our Thrive Kidz Creative Director! 

Sam is absolutely incredible! She’s been involved at Thrive for about a year and a half and

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Sam is second from the right. 

in that time has made an unbelievable difference! She’s humble, she’s hard working, she has an incredible attitude, she is a team player, she loves kids, she serves volunteers, she’s hungry to learn more, she’s a leader, she’s a very good communicator, she always brings so much life whenever she is a part of something, she is a difference maker and she loves Jesus!

She is really a spectacular woman!

So, when the opportunity arose for Sam and I to talk about her coming onto the Thrive staff team after she graduated from CMU, I jumped at it!

On May 16th, she’ll join the team full time! She’ll concentrate on creating irresistible environments for Thrive Kidz. Environments where kids can learn about Jesus in fun and exciting ways. She has already, in her team at Thrive, begun to build an amazing team of creative folks who pour into kids each Sunday at Thrive and that will just get better and better.

Sam is also raising 100% of her financial support for this position and she is stepping out in faith to do so! Yeah, its pretty amazing.

I wish. I dream. I know someday Thrive will be at the place where we can afford for our staff to not raise funds, but we’re just not there. For our size church, we should be. But, there are some variables working against us and we’re working hard to figure those out.

I am so excited! Our team is excited!

If you would like to help Sam raise support, you can give here. Just click on her name.

The Best is Yet to Come!

What does it take to be a part of Thrive?

I get this question pretty frequently.

Here’s the reality…what does it take to be a part of Thrive? Well, the answer is…

YOU.

It just takes you. You just have to Show Up and let God do the rest.

Thrive Church is a place for people who aren’t really all that interested in God or Church.thrive))church-no-perfect-allowed

  • It’s a place for people who have doubts to come and explore those doubts without being asked to sit in the ‘we’re gonna judge you’ seats.
  • It’s a place for people who are struggling.
  • It’s a place for people who want a different kind of a Church, a Church that’s simple, real and fun. It’s a place for families.
  • It’s a place for singles.
  • It’s a place for College Students.
  • It’s a pace for empty nesters.
  • It’s a place for people who have stalled out in their faith and are looking to experience Jesus in a new and powerful way.
  • It’s a place for fully devoted followers of Jesus who want to put their faith into action.
  • It’s a place where you can be prayed for.
  • It’s a place for people searching for more of Jesus.

So, what do you say? Why don’t you check out Thrive today. We gather on Sunday’s at 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema. Just wear whatever you’re comfortable in. Come about 10 minutes early and if you have kids, stop at the Thrive Kidz check in and they will help you.

What does it take to be a part of Thrive? Just you. Come today and be a part.

A Beautiful Post by my wife about Winona’s Death, Moving Forward and the miracle of Kai’s Adoption.

Today is a bittersweet day for me. A year ago we were plowing through the adoption paperwork and checklists to bring Winona Mae home. We had a crib, stroller and had just bought paint for her room and had planned to paint over the weekend! Things were moving forward and we couldn’t wait to hold her in our arms!IMG_3316

The afternoon of 2/1/16 I had emailed our case worker a question about some paperwork and she replied right away with ‘are you home? Can you call me?’ I wasn’t too worried since I had requested a PHE level update on Winona and thought she wanted to give those to me. What she would tell me instead was something I never expected and still today hurts to think about. Winona had passed away…all we know is a virus was going through her orphanage and her little body just couldn’t fight it off. I was in shock, I was pacing the street in front of our house talking to our caseworker and wondering how I was going to go inside and tell the kids? When I hung up with our caseworker I called Jay and told him. We didn’t talk too much cause we were both in tears. Going in the house to tell the kids after talking to Jay was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

That night we were surrounded by friends and family who grieved with us, sat with us and held us while we cried.

The next few weeks were a blur as we tried to process the news. We questioned moving forward with the adoption process…how could we without Winona? How would we even begin to choose another child? Did we even want to move forward? Should we wait a few months, a year or stop altogether?

After praying and talking about it we decided to move forward with the home study and see what happened.

Fast forward a couple weeks and the picture of a little boy who also had PKU was sent to me by a fellow adopt parent who was adopting from his orphanage. We felt a connection to him but he was with a different placing agency and at the place we were at we didn’t feel called to switch agencies. Again we questioned the journey we were on but still felt God telling us to move forward and trust him. 邹宏凯+(1)We looked at other files of kids with our agency but neither of us felt really called to any of them (they were all precious and needing a forever family, we just knew we weren’t theirs). I was just about ready to call it quits cause it was getting to hard emotionally when I received an email and FB message late on a Saturday night from our case worker saying she had a file of a little boy on a 72 hour hold for us if we wanted to review his file. I opened the email and there was the picture of the little boy we both felt a connection to earlier! Everyone else was asleep but all I could do was look over the pictures attached to his file and smile!

The little boy in the file and pictures was Kai! The next day after a long Sunday (we had Thrive, then family over for Bek’s birthday) I emailed our case worker our LOI (letter of intent) for Kai to be sent to China. A couple weeks later we received our PA (pre-approval), and as you all know almost 2 weeks ago we brought him home!

When I think back to the beginning of our journey and how we almost quit when Winona passed away I get sad thinking of the love, joy and happiness we would have missed out on with Kai had we not listened to God’s voice and moved forward even though it hurt! Even though we wanted to stop cause it was too hard and we couldn’t see the end!

I am so glad we were obedient and faithful through the hurt and pain and and so thankful for Kai and for the love and joy he has already brought to our family in just the short amount of time we have known him!

I am excited to see what God has in store for this little boy who has captured our hearts! We still grieve not getting to hold Winona by know she is free of sickness and pain in heaven and will one day meet her! She will always hold a part of our hearts and will forever be a part of our journey to Kai!

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