A Powerful Moment at today’s Thrive Staff Meeting

I love our Thrive Church staff meetings! I love our team. I’m pretty protective of our staff  culture and so when it comes to these meetings, I don’t want them to be a waste of time.

That’s one of my biggest pet peeves, meetings that don’t have a plan.

We laugh. We tell stories. We plan. We pray. We learn. We discuss. We dream.

And, we read scripture together. Lately, we’ve been opening our staff meeting with a little S.O.A.P (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer).

Since we’re very close to our 4 year anniversary as a Church, we went back to the scripture that ignited the passion in our team to plant Thrive Church.

This is the passage of scripture that we studied as we planted Thrive Church.

Scripture: Acts 2:42-47The Message (MSG)

41-42 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

43-45 Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

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.

Observation:

  • Their numbers grew
  • They lived in harmony
  • People looked in from the outside and people wanted what they had
  • Pooled their resources
  • They Committed
  • Harmony comes because of a deep commitment
  • Community was LIFE to them. Our culture nowadays is do it all by yourself

Application:

  • Commitment is a daily decision
  • Getting together to Celebrate
  • Gathered together, Scattered everywhere

Prayer:

  • Unity and Harmony
  • Commitment
  • Generosity
  • People would be in AWE of God
  • Model that kind of joy and that people would be drawn to it

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To be honest, it’s easy to get discouraged sometimes about the CHURCH and my church. The bickering, people leaving, the financial worries, seemingly everything else is more important in peoples lives than the Church.

But, when I go back to this passage of scripture I know that God has a tremendous plan for the Church in the days to come and in the future.

I am praying and will continue to pray that Thrive Church does everything we can to live out this passage of amazing scripture!

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‘Waiting is an act of Faith’. Message notes from week two of our Buffering series at Thrive Church.

Message Notes:IMG_8978

Slide # 1. Series Theme Slide

  • Good Morning Thrive Church! My name is Jason Raitz and I’m the Pastor of Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning!
  • Did you know that there are 3 other Churches in a network with us? Thrive TX in Houston and Thrive CA in northern CA. All the pastors have been friends for a long time. So, let’s be praying for Thrive TX!!
  • Did you know that Thrive is almost 4 years old? On October 6th, 2013 we gathered for our first official Thrive Sunday! And, October 8th we are going to Party! Why? Because, we are going to celebrate God’s faithfulness over the last 4 years!
  • So, just know this, you are expected and invited to be here on Sunday, October 8th.
  • Say it with me, Sunday, October 8th!
  • We have been planning, praying and preparing.
  • Here’s the crazy thing, and I know this is only going to interest a few of you. But, we haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
  • So, the BEST IS YET TO COME!!!!

Series: Buffering

  • Last week, Dr. Tom kicked off this series as we learn how to endure God’s silence.
  • Silence is awful sometimes.
  • Like when you text someone and you can see that their writing back, but every time you look, that little thing keep spinning and you’re like, come on!!
  • Silence is tough sometimes on our faith, we don’t always get the clarity we want, and we need to understand how to make the journey in the dark and confusing times.
  • And we WAIT!!!!!
  • And waiting isn’t fun, is it?
  • So, today, we dive into WAITING.
  • We begin to ask tons of questions, just like Habakkuk did in chapter 1!!
  • Will the person forgive me? Will they talk to me again? Is my girlfriend pregnant? Does my dad have cancer? Will my mom be ok? Am I going to get fired? Are we going to be able to pay our bills? Why God, why did that happen?
  • Why can’t ‘THIS IS US’ start back now???
  • Who else hates to wait? We live in a day and age where people hate to wait! We want everything right now!

STORY: Chick Fil A in MD

  • This summer, I was in line in a Chick Fil A in MD with Madison and the lady in front of us was not happy about the wait. How do I know? She was on the phone and she kept telling the person on the phone…
  • If I have to wait any longer for this food, I’ll just go kill a chicken on my own.

And, imagine our what our kids are learning about waiting. They have every bit of information available to them in an instant.

  • They just have to speak into their phone. They don’t have to research. They don’t have to wait till next week’s episode. They are the binge watching generation!
  • But, waiting on God is a theme throughout scripture!
  • Waiting on God to move on our behalf gives us the space to work out our souls. It’s like a gym. Waiting is a gym for our souls.
  • God’s not all that concerned that you get your answer like google gives you an answer.
  • He’s ok with you waiting on Him. And, turning to Him.
  • Last week, Dr. Tom looked at chapter one of Habakkuk and today we look at chapter two.
  • God points out all the junk that needs work: pride, extortion, dishonesty, violence, murder, dishonesty, ect… and asks for silence.
  • Silence of our soul: when we stop our complaints, demands, and questions, it gives God the space to work and speak within us. We stop from asking God to act according to our insufficient perspectives, onto God’s grounds in humility.

Slide # 2…Big Idea: Waiting is an act of faith

  • I hope you walk out of here remembering just that. Waiting is an act of Faith.
    • What’s faith? It’s complete trust or confidence in God. What we believe about God and how we live out that belief. One of my favorite definitions of faith is…
  • Faith is the quality that gives us mastery over life’s difficulties.
  • So, when God is silent in your life, are you ok with waiting on Him?
  • Are you ok with being silent and just listening.
  • Sometimes we’re not, right! We want an answer now! We want God to move now. We want God to speak now. We want our problem or our need taken care of right now!
  • I love this quote by Craig Groeschel.

Slide # 3…Your greatest need becomes a blessing when it drives you to depend on God’ ~Craig Groeschel

WHAT!?!? How in the world can it be a blessing?

  • We’re looking in the book of the OT called Habakkuk.
  • This book’s purpose is to show that God is still in control of the world despite the apparent triumph of evil. It was written a long time ago. Between 612 and 589 BC.
  • This book tries to get answers to the complex questions and discussions in life.
  • Habakkuk was a man who sought answers. He was troubled by what he saw and he asked difficult questions. He saw a dying world and it broke his heart.
  • He boldly and confidently took his questions and complaints directly to God.
  • In chapter two, verse 4 it says this…

Slide # 4…

“See, the enemy is puffed up;

   his desires are not upright—

   but the righteous person will live by his faith ~Habakkuk 2:4 (niv)

    • Guess what, WAITING on God is an act of FAITH.
    • The righteous person will live by his faith!
    • In chapter one, Habakkuk gives it God. Brings all his questions and complaints and what does God say in chapter two?
    • Be patient. I’m God, I have this. I will work out my plans in my perfect timing.
  • To trust God fully means to trust him even when we don’t understand why bad stuff happens or we don’t get the answer we need when we need it.
  • Psalm 37:7 says…

Slide # 5…‘Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.’ Psalm 37:7 (niv)

Waiting is an act of FAITH. But, guess what? Waiting is not just sitting around with lilies in our hair.

Slide # 6…Waiting drives us to Action

  • We don’t have to sit on our hands. Waiting is like a gym for our soul. It can drive us to our knees.
  • In another book in the Old Testament, we see a GREAT example of this. And, before I even say another word, there’s a Pastor by the name of Steven Furtick and he preached a message that hit me hard years ago and some of these ideas are from that message! He also put them in a book called ‘Greater’, check that out.
  • But, in the book of 2 Kings chapter 3, there is a story that just teaches this idea so well.
  • A little background info…
  • There are 3 Kings that have set up to fight an opposing army. These kings are under the impression that they’ve been on God’s good side, but the reality is, they have ignored him in the good times. These three kings consist of two kings of the divided nation of Israel and an ally king. They set up to fight and then realize they have a major problem.

Slide # 7…2 Kings 3:9-12 (niv)

So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout march of seven days (represents completion and perfection), the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

    • The problem! No water and it’s not raining and when you run out of rain, you look to God really quick. In these days, you can’t just walk over to the hose and get water.
    • These Kings were ruling without looking to God. They think they’re ready to fight, but they run out of rain. And when you have men and animals and they’re dehydrated and thirsty, you have a problem.
    • They find out that…
    • Trouble can be a good thing because it will make you look back to the source that you may have forgotten.
  • Sometimes going through a hard time can be the best thing to ever happen to you.
  • If you never went through anything, some of us may never even pray.
  • Wow!!!! Ok, back to the story.

“What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”

    • WHAT he says. Kind of in the Mom and Dad voice. You know the one. WHAT! He’s blaming God in bad times, even though he didn’t even thank God in the good times.
  • I wonder if there is a lesson in there for us? God gets so much of the blame when bad things happen, and so little credit in the good times.

But Jehoshaphat (pretty good king)  asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire of the Lord?” An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of [Snapchat] Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.

  • Ok, this is kind of a put down, he’s calling him Elisha a water boy.
  • And, not like Bobby Boucher! Elisha was the replacement for Elijah. He’s a big deal!
  • Elijah was amazing! He called fire down out of heaven, actually spoke the words for the water supply of heaven to start again after a 3.5 year drought that he called for. He has serious power in his words.
  • Elisha is the new guy and he is about to preach his first sermon to the kings and he just had his first miracle. The Kings have a need that only God can meet and they want a miracle.
  • Isn’t that how we approach God sometimes?
  • I wonder what need you need God to meet? I wonder what the thing is that your smile doesn’t say.
  • You can do all you can do, but only God can make it rain. Some of you are on your 7th lap. Some of you are faking life and you need God to give a new sense of life.
  • But, we don’t want to wait! The Kings didn’t want to wait! They wanted an answer now.

Slide # 8…Waiting is synonymous with attention. Attention is synonymous with prayer. -Simone Weil

  • They call Elisha in and he preaches his first sermon.

[a]”Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

  • This is how Elisha starts in 13 and basically says, ‘oh, you want God to move now’. You’ve waited this whole time. He has a little attitude.

Slide # 9…2 Kings 3:14-19 (msg)

Elisha said, “As God-of-the-Angel-Armies lives, and before whom I stand ready to serve, if it weren’t for the respect I have for Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I wouldn’t give you the time of day.

  • What if that was my opening line of this message? I feel like that could be a line from Connor McGregor!
  • He has a boldness about it. Hard to be subtle when you’re speaking for God. Gosh, which a little side bar: One of the soul searching things I came to grips with during my time off is that I need to speak stronger! I’m a people pleaser. Sometimes, I’m not as forthRight as I should be.
  • I mean, I’m such a people pleaser that I wouldn’t turn off my snooze because it was Hootie and I didn’t want to offend them!
  • I’m going to work on that! Maybe not as hard core as Elisha, but maybe.
  • Can you even imagine that Jason? I feel like God doesn’t approve of me? What should I do? Well, how about you stop sleeping around and gossiping. That would probably help you feel better.
  • Mic Drop! Hahahah
  • Back to Elisha…Elisha says you guys have been trying to do this all on your own. God is not your hobby. God is not a spare time thing.
  • God is the Lord of heaven of Earth!
  • Then Elisha says…

But considering—bring me a harpist.” (When a harpist played, the power of God came on Elisha.)

  • You’re the only one to speak on God’s behalf and you need a harpist?
  • A harpist?
  • That’s the power in music!
  • I listen to worship music on my prayer walks.
  • I can’t wait the final scene in footloose without crying.
  • But, Elisha says that cuz there is power!

He then said, “God’s word: Dig ditches all over this valley. Here’s what will happen—you won’t hear the wind, you won’t see the rain, but this valley is going to fill up with water and your army and your animals will drink their fill. This is easy for God to do; he will also hand over Moab to you.

    • This is not what the Kings wanted. They wanted a miracle and a magic trick right now.
    • They did not want to WAIT!
    • WAITING IS AN OF FAITH.
    • Some of you single people who have decided to wait to have sex are affirming that statement. Yes, waiting is an of faith!
    • But, waiting is also a beautiful thing.
    • It’s a GYM for the Soul!
    • God is working out so much in our waiting! He’s kicking the pride out of us. He’s getting our attention. He’s helping us refocus our lives.
  • Only God can bring the rain, but sometimes He wants us to be faithful.
  • He wants you and I to be faithful!
  • I think it was the great author and Pastor, Eugene Peterson, said this walk with Jesus is about being faithful and obedient in the same direction for a long time.
  • Waiting is an act of faith.
  • But…

Slide # 9…We can go to work while waiting

  • I love the verse that says; Dig ditches all over this valley.
  • You want to know what to do during the time of WAITING.]
  • Dig Ditches!
  • Get a shovel and start digging.
  • Actually, we ordered 300 little shovels and we were going to give everyone one as a symbol to remember what to do when your waiting.
  • Dig Ditches!

Slide # 10… Only God can send the water, but sometimes He wants you to dig a ditch!

Slide # 11… ‘As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.’ ~James 2:26 (niv)

Story of Thrive: Just a story of digging ditches.

  • Thrive is the story of digging ditches!
  • Just waiting on God! And digging while we wait!
  • We started with nothing. Just kept digging ditches.
  • When we went to two experiences, some people were like, really! We just kept digging ditches.
  • We’ve had ups and downs. We’ve grown, lost people, grown again and lost people. We just keep digging ditches.
  • We introduced the first Shoe Project. Oh man, some people were like, you guys are nuts. We just kept digging ditches. We raised the money. The second shoe project. We raised the money, but wow! It was hard, digging ditches.
  • Guess, what, in 2018 when we do our next Shoe Project, we’re going to keep digging ditches! Just to keep the crazy train going, I am praying that we as a Church will raise $50,000. That could do 4-5 Schools!!!
  • You don’t know where the rain is going to come from, but you keep digging!

What area of life is God calling you to digging ditches? In preparation for the blessing He wants to give.

Faith is not just wishful thinking. Oh God, bless my children. You start speaking words of blessing over your children.

Oh God, bless my marriage. You start blessing your marriage. You want love and attraction? You be more attractive? You make your spouse the center of the universe. You pray for them all throughout the day. You rekindle the love.

Oh God bless my finances. You trust him by giving.

Oh God, I don’t know where I fit at Thrive. You start serving! There are over 20 different opportunities on Sunday mornings alone at Thrive! Or you pray. Come early and pray over seats. Or be a facebook evangelist. Like everything on the main Thrive page. Comment and help get discussions going. Invite friends.

  • Make a commitment to SHOW UP, JUMP IN and DO GOOD.

THRIVE CHURCH

  • We’ve dug a lot of ditches. We have to keep digging!
  • Real faith keeps digging when people say no, or are negative, or when it’s hard! We’ve had people say awful stuff about us. Or leave.
  • That’s ok, we will just keep digging ditches.
  • One of the areas I have struggled with, and we even talked about it at our Elder meeting this past week, is when people just disappear from Thrive. It’s hard. Some leave because they feel convicted. Some leave because of conflict with someone else. Some just stop coming because of laziness.
  • Part of my extreme exhaustion was letting the bitterness get to me.
  • God’s given us a GREAT vision for this Church and we can make a tremendous dent for God’s kingdom together!
  • Digging ditches of love. Of acceptance. Of wanting people who are messy so they can meet the God who loves them.

Oh God, I need your joy. God says, if you want joy, then rejoice. Quick watching and listening to crap. Put God’s word in your heart and start rejoicing.

Oh God, I’m single and I just want a good person. Then, stop dating people who want nothing to do with God. I’m not saying at all that they are bad. I’m just saying, if you want to be faithful, take God’s word seriously. Pair up with someone who loves Jesus passionately!!

  • Can you trust God today, because He knows your tomorrow and has already been faithful in your past.

Waiting is an ACT of FAITH!

As you wait, Dig Ditches.

Slide # 12…Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. – John Ortberg

  • As you wait, what ditches are you going to dig?
  • Where can you be faithful?
  • Waiting is not all bad, remember, it’s an act of faith.

 

I took 29 days off and lived to tell about it!

It’s true. I did it. I took 29 days off from my role as Pastor of Thrive Church. I also took 29 days off from social media. I also took 29 days off from constantly replying and checking my messages/emails/voicemails/texts.

And guess what? I lived! And, Thrive Church…

THRIVED!

Let me tell you why I did it. Why I took 29 days off, consecutively. By the way, that’s the first time I’ve ever done anything like this in 22 years of serving at Churches.

Here’s why I did it…

I let myself get to a very unhealthy place of life. 

You don’t understand. I was drained. I was exhausted. I had nothing left. My tanks were beyond empty. I felt like a zombie most days. For 20 some years, I have worked hard. 50, 60, 70 hour weeks. I have traveled all over the country speaking. I have always tried to do whatever I needed to get the job done. Even when I was exhausted, I always had reserve energy tanks.

But, for the first time in my life, the reserve energy tanks were gone. The past 4 years of my life have been a wild ride. We planted Thrive. Which, that journey alone has been amazing and exhausting. After we planted, my already bad back went to def con 5 and then came back surgery. It took about 16 months to start feeling better. But, every day I experience some kind of pain. Whether it’s a limping day or not is up to the weather.

Then there is the day to day stuff of leading a Church. And, we have seen God move in powerful ways and we have seen satan attack the Church in crazy ways.

We also pursued the calling on our lives to adopt and that journey was both amazing and exhausting. Raising $35,000 and doing mountains of paperwork and the waiting and the going back and forth. Dealing with the people who don’t quite understand adoption and receiving some of their non emotionally intelligent thoughts.

This year started in China picking up Kai and bringing him home. It was amazing! But, after I got home, we knew that God was calling us to move locations and we started a major fundraising campaign at Thrive. And, every time you do something like this, satan seems to up the attack. Then, our Church moved locations. To a much larger space that was a miracle. And, every time you make a change, there are those people who either don’t come along with you or criticize every move.

Then, over the last six months, our family has been adjusting to having a new family member in our house and having another child with PKU and the costs associated with that.

I was spent. My normal tanks were depleted and my reserve tanks were long gone. I was leading and living on empty.

AND…ON YEAH, MY PEOPLE PLEASING WENT OUT OF CONTROL

You see, my name is Jason Raitz and I am a People Pleaser. Even the thought of saying NO to someone causes anxiety to well up. Not good for a Pastor. Because honestly, I have to say no a lot. In order to keep heading towards the vision God’s given us for our Church, I simple can’t say YES all the time.

And guess what? 

I started to let a lot of people down. I let my family down. I let myself down. 

I couldn’t fulfill all the YESSES! I dropped balls. I wasn’t fully there for my family. I slept a lot. I gained a lot of weight. I began to let worry and anxiety rule my life.

And then the chest pains came. They set up shop and decided to stay for awhile.

Lastly, not proud of this at all, but in my complete and utter exhaustion, I started to let bitterness well up in me.

What do I have to bitter about? Great question. I mean, God continues to bless my family. I love my Church, I love my staff team and I love my job. The Patriots won the Super Bowl!

Because I’m such a raving people pleaser, and since I spend quite a bit of time pouring and investing in people. When they up and disappear from Church, I take that very personally. When they say negative blanket statements on Facebook or to other people about our Church, I take that personally. When they head to another Church and never have a conversation with me or another staff member, I take that personally. When they look the other way in a grocery store, that hurts.

And, unfortunately, in my extreme exhaustion, I let all that bitterness well up and  it started to take over.

I was no good to nobody. 

Tracie and my parents were worried about me. I know the kids knew something was up.

That’s when Dr. Tom sat me down. And then Matt. And then Sarah. Some of Thrive’s key leaders noticed a difference in me.

Multiple people asked me if I was ok.

Honestly, in my exhaustion, I stopped doing the practices that helped protect my soul.

I stopped reading. I stopped my every morning prayer walks. I stopped seeing my counselor. I stopped working out. I stopped blogging.

I started to dream about working at Meijer’s. I mean, I would keep that parking lot clean! I could push carts and I would do it well! I started to wonder what a 9-5 job would be like. A job that I could leave and clock out and they weren’t going to call me if a grocery cart went rogue.

This is all embarrassing, I know. It’s probably too raw to write about and post. But, it is what it is.

So, I went to our Elders at Thrive to explain and ask for some extended time off and before I could barely pitch my presentation, one of our founders said…’yup, this is a no brainer’. Another said…’is this enough time, take what you need’.

Talk about being loved! Talk about being supported. Talk about being cared for! 

 

29 Days

So, the day after we got back from Big Stuf Camps, I started this 29 day journey. I’ve never taken a full 2-3 month sabbatical. But, I can see how after a month, you really start to do some healing!

My 29 days looked like this…

The first week I slept. No really. I slept a lot. I was utterly and completely exhausted. I also changed my cell phone number. This was recommended to me and this was a hard one to actually do. I did it. I know some folks probably thought I died.

But, in the midst of constant messages/texts/emails, we had a mix up with Kai’s medical insurance when he first came home and we now owe $6000! Its been a ridiculous mess! Anyways, not having the constant phone calls asking for those funds has been nice.

The second week our family went on a vacation. This wouldn’t have happened without some amazing generosity from some friends! We had a blast together. We went to DC. We walked the capitol. We stayed with friends. Saw family we haven’t seen in forever. The kids kept asking, you sure you’re not speaking somewhere? Hah! IMG_8805

The third week, I started to get back into my rhythm of prayer walks and I decided to walk an hour a day around the campus of Central Michigan University. It was a great week.

The fourth week, I tried to listen to my wife and kids as much as possible. 

In these 29 days…

I started a new prayer journal. I’ve been reading through 1 Samuel and the book of Matthew.

I read ‘Emotionally Healthy Leader’ by Pete Scazzero. A must read! This book has helped me heal in ways I never thought was possible!

I re-read ‘The Circle Maker’ by Mark Batterson

I read ‘People Pleasing Pastors’ by Charles Stone

I saw my counselor and spent time with a mentor.

I went on a lot of walks with my wife and kids.

I talked to God.

I took 29 Days off and I survived!

28 or 38 year old Jason would have never been able to do this, but almost 42 year old Jason knew I needed this to replenish my tanks and for some healing to occur and to happen.

I’m thankful for my Church. I’m thankful for my family.

I’m expectant and excited for this next season of ministry!

Oh, here are a few photo’s from our trip to DC.

The Gift of Sheila = Unbelievable Generosity that rocks your life!

The Raitz family has been so blessed over the years.

And, when I say blessed, I don’t mean…’oh, we’re so happy’, kind of blessed.’

I mean the kind of blessed where your life, where your family, where your everyday life is so rocked and so moved and so blown away, you just don’t know how to function! And then, all you want to do, is do just that for other people. 

Well, a few months ago, an amazing couple from our Church came over and gave us a gift that knocked the air out of our lungs. We sat there in silence and we had no idea how to respond.

The size and scope of the generosity was absolutely amazing.

Actually, after it happened, Tracie and I went into our bedroom and shut the door and just hugged and cried. That lasted about 2.5 second because we have 5 kids! Hah!

They gave us the Gift of Sheila! Which, if you’re wondering what that is, Shiela is the IMG_8052nick name we gave their mini van.

They gave us a mini van!

I am not even kidding! Just unreal! 

I can’t even begin to express what an answer to prayer this gift was for our family. I can’t even begin to express how incredibly blown away we have been for the past couple of months as we think about what this family did for us!

This is the kind of generosity that literally CHANGES LIVES! 

And, the amazing generosity started back in 2014. We were headed as a family to Florida to speak at a summer camp. Our van was barely kicking. As a last minute hail mary, I put out on Facebook that we were asking for prayer for our van to get to Florida. That’s when I got a message that we could use this couples mini van. It was a huge answer to prayer.

Over the next 3 years, again and again, they let us borrow their van for us to travel to speaking engagements and vacations. We went to WI and to IL and to SC and to FL. Over the course of this time…

Sheila became a part of the family. 

The couple that gave us Sheila has been a part of our lives since 2012. That’s when I first met them. They lived down state and attended a Church that I was speaking at. They were a part of the prayer and I still remember the day I first me them and they prayed over me before I spoke.

Fast forward and they moved back to Central Michigan and they have been a part of Thrive since the very beginning. Actually, Thrive would not exist without this couple. Their heart to serve, to pray and to give just continually blows me away.

Every Pastor needs encouragers. I don’t know where I would be without them. They have taught me so much about following Jesus and so much about generosity!

Every time I drive Sheila I pray for them. I ask God to bless them.

Our hope is that God will use us in a similar way to bless the people around us!

 

Thrive Church: 10 Ways You Can Support One Youth’s Big Stuf Trip…

In 22 days, Thrive Church is sending an amazing group of students and adults to Big Stuf!

WOO HOO!!bigstuf-(3)

Ok, what’s Big Stuf? Big Stuf is a summer camp/conference for middle and high schools in Panama City Beach, FL. Incredible times of worship, inspired bible teaching, breakouts, group activities, bonding with small groups and the ocean!!

For 22 years I have been taking students to summer camps and for 17 years, I have been speaking at summer camps. In my opinion, not many come close to Big Stuf!

So, as a Church, this trip is incredibly important! We need the entire church to come together to support, pray and encourage!!

10 Ways you can Support One Youth’s Big Stuf trip:

1. Pray. Yes, and pray hard! Seek God on behalf of these students and leaders. Camps/Conferences/Retreats have a way of helping students bust through spiritual mediocrity or to help them own their own faith. Pray for their hearts to be wrecked for Jesus.

If you want to be a student or leaders prayer partner, just email Lindsey.msibi@thrivechurchmi.cc.

2. Write an encouraging card to an adult leader attending.  Email Lindsey.msibi@thrivechurchmi.cc for a list of the names attending. It would be amazing for them to get encouraging cards while in FL!

3. Watch the sessions on Live Stream. This would be awesome! Head HERE and check out the worship and teaching! Especially parents!

4. Bring your Loose Change to Church the next 3 Sundays. Yes, every bit of loose 19024976_1355671291194848_6650784396360443343_ochange helps! Thanks for helping raise the funds for camp!

5. Donate food. We need 6 cases of Little bottles of water. Little pop bottles. (Why little? Because we have a long van ride!) Granola Bars. Cheese Sticks. Fruit (apple slices). Fruit Snacks. Twizlers. Small bags of chips.

6. Donate Sun Screen. We are going to use a lot!

7. Hire a student to work at your house. Email Jessica.herron@thrivechurchmi.cc to get this set up!

8. Get your car washed. On June 24th, from 9-2pm, we will be at Krapohl’s Ford for a car wash. Please bring your car over!

9. Shop with Scrip. Shop at Krogers. Shop at Amazon. As you shop, you can help earn money for One Youth. This is so simple, it’s silly! Please email Sarah.gauthier@thrivechurchmi.cc and she will get you all set up!

10. Donate funds to help. This is also a very simple, yet incredibly powerful way to help. Our students have been working hard all year to each earn and raise $600 to attend this camp. Any gifts given will go towards students who haven’t quit earned everything they need yet.

You can give HERE. Just click on One Youth!

Thank you so much helping and supporting One Youth! 

We can’t wait to share with the Church about our trip!

 

 

 

5 Reasons I’m beyond EXCITED about Thrive’s Dad Fest Sunday!

This Sunday is one of Thrive Church’s most exciting Sunday’s…

DAD FEST!18951327_10158911643060235_5540560706029634397_n

We host Dad Fest every year to honor dads, to hopefully attract men and dad’s to Church and to remind people how amazing our heavenly Father is and how much he loves us!

Some of my favorite Sunday’s in Thrive’s almost 4 year history have been Dad Fest Sunday’s.

Here’s 5 Reasons I’m so Excited! 

1. It will be a blast to honor Thrive’s ‘Dad of the Year’!

This year we’re doing something new. We are awarding a prize for Thrive’s ‘Dad of the Year.’ This will be an awesome moment! Many friends and family have nominated their dads, friends and relatives. Our staff looked over each nomination and prayed and picked. I can’t wait!

2. It will be a blast to remind Thrivers that we have a good, good Father!

The amazing Dr. Tom (Thrive’s Spiritual Formation Pastor), helped me find 5 amazing truths from Psalm 103 about our heavenly Father. I can’t wait to encourage our Church with those truths!

3. It will be a blast to combine both experiences into one!

This is always a treat! It doesn’t happen much, but this Sunday we get to gather all together!

4. It will be a blast to worship outside at Island Park!

I am so proud of how hard our band works to provide an amazing worship experience. Plus, they’re going to play a few pretty fun songs as well! I hear Whitesnake and the Zac Brown Band are making an appearance!

5. It will be a blast to see families experience EVERYTHING!!

This Sunday will be the first time we have all 8 Giant Inflatables set up! It’s going to be awesome! We have also some cool cars coming, a fire truck, police cars, an archery game and a bacon tent! Yes…a bacon tent!

What are you doing on Sunday? 

I so hope you can join us! I know its nice out, but I hope you will consider giving some of your time to gather together!

We will be at Island Park from 9 (ish) to 1230 (ish). Can’t wait!

Are we Crazy!?! Thrive’s 5 year Vision and our Prayer Wall!

Last month, the Pastors of Thrive Church were at the Exponential Church Planting conference in Orlando, FL. It was a GREAT trip. Lots of laughs, dreaming, praying and learning!

The theme of the conference was ‘Dream Big’ and we were challenged to do just that.

One morning, I found myself dreaming big in my prayer journal. I presented this to the other Thrive Pastors (Matt Moore, Dave Shephard and Dr. Tom Rundel) and we all tweaked it a bit. Then, this past Tuesday, I presented it to our staff and we tweaked it a little bit. Next month, I am going to present it to a combined meeting with our Thrive Elders and Financial Team.

Let me just say this…

It’s a wild and crazy Vision!

I read through it and some of the items on there scare me. In a good way, but they’re so big and so audacious, that really ONLY GOD could provide the needs to make some of this stuff happen.

So, this is our 5 year Vision at Thrive! This is what we’re praying and asking God to provide. We desperately want to make a HUGE impact in Central Michigan and the world and we’re stepping out in faith and believing that God can do the impossible.

Thrive turns 4 in October and I feel like in many ways, we’re just getting started!

Thrive’s 5 Year Vision

  • Every Life is changed by Jesus
  • Thrivers to be passionate about: Jesus, the Bible, Prayer, Giving and their Small Group
  • Elder and & Staff Unity
  • Financial Wisdom, Margin and Radical Generosity. We’re praying for a $600,000 a year budget and 4-6 months of operating budget in savings.
    • Staff to not have to raise support.
  • Partner with Local Churches who are struggling and provide help and new life.
  • 20 Acres of Land to be Donated.
  • Semi-Trailer and Box Truck to be donated.
  • A New Hub. 15,000 square feet of Offices, Prayer Center, One Youth Space, Tutoring, Thrive Counseling Center, Studios (Music, Video, Art), Do Good Space
  • Equipment. (2) MacBooks, Drum Set, Keyboard, Video Camera’s, Gaga Ball Pit, Obstacle Course Inflatable, Color Copier.
  • New Staff & Team Leaders. Small Group Director, Youth, Video, Stewardship.
  • Midland & Big Rapids Campus Pastor.
  • Add a Thrive campus in a local prison.
  • (2) Church Planting Residents.
  • Reach 1500 people weekly by 2022.
  • 24/7 Building that can be used 7 days a week by the Community. Including a small apartment complex that can be used to house Single moms, families, refugees, interns.

SHOW UP

  • Raise an additional $20,000 a year to reach students at CMU. This will give us a major presence on campus.
  • See 150 people a year Trust in Jesus at Thrive on Sunday’s.
  • 100 people to be baptized in 2017. 200 by 2022.
  • Record a live worship album.

JUMP IN

  • 500 people in Small Groups by 2019.
  • Increased Volunteers
    • 50 Road Crew
    • 200 Thrive Kidz
    • 75 First Impressions
    • 30 Prayer Team
    • 20 Care Team
    • (3) Worship Leaders
    • 40 Musicians
    • 30 One Youth Leaders
    • 30 Chi Alpha Leaders
    • 30 Outreach team
    • 25 Cars Ministry
  • Start an online Bible School. Offer practical courses to help develop life long followers of Jesus.

DO GOOD

  • Plant (2) Churches in Ecuador through Stadia and Compassion. ($190,000)
  • Join and help plant (2) Churches in Michigan.
  • Raise $50,000 a year to give away 1500 shoes to elementary students at local schools.
  • Give away 20 Cars a year and repair 40.
  • Support 15 Back to School Parties for Local Schools.
  • Sponsor a ‘Night to Shine’ Event
  • Host a community wide Halloween Party at Finch Fieldhouse
  • Sponsor a Teacher Appreciation Night for hundreds of local teachers.

NEXT GEN

  • Thrive Kidz
    • Raise up a Thrive Kidz Worship Team
    • Create a special needs room at Thrive Kidz
  • One Youth
    • Send 100 Students to Big Stuf Summer Camp
    • 40 Small Groups
    • Student Lead
    • Raise up a One Youth Worship Team
  • Chi Apha
    • (2) Houses on Campus for College Students

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