Jason Raitz

Jesus Follower. Husband. Dad. Son. Brother. Pastor.



3 More days till Bobby comes home!!

My 14 year old, Bobby, has been traveling in Africa since August 1st! IMG_1511

I feel incredibly blessed that he’s gotten this amazing opportunity but


Wow, I miss him. Tracie misses him. His sibling misses him. His grand parents miss him. His friends miss him! Every one misses him!!

You know Why? Yes, he’s our family.

But, its because he’s an amazing young man!

He really is! He’s a difference maker! He loves Jesus. He loves people and it shows! He’s got an amazing head on his shoulders. He’s polite. He’s caring. He’s a thinker. He’s always looking out for the person who is left out. He’s passionate. His laugh is amazing! His heart is gigantic!

Yes, I’m his dad, so I am little bias! But, I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am when I go to his room and see cards that other adults from church have sent him sitting on his desk. Cards thanking him for spending time with their kids and loving them!

Oh my goodness!

Our house hasn’t been the same without him. I can’t wait to hug him. I can’t wait to shoot hoops with him. I can’t wait to go for walks. I can’t wait to hear about video games. I can’t wait to hear his laugh and watch him dance!

I can’t wait for Bobby to be home!

Meet my friend Jess and the famous Slurpee Sunday tradition

I have an amazing friend named Jessica or Jess or as I try to pronounce it with an ‘h’…

Hessica. I don’t know why I do. It’s silly and I try to be funny with it. Its not, but she lets me do it.IMG_0231

Jess has been at Thrive since our very first Sunday, I believe. Or the second. But, either way, she has been at Thrive ever since. She hasn’t missed many Sunday’s in that time. She plays in the band. She has served in Thrive Kidz. She has helped set up at 7am on Sunday’s. And, she serves in One Youth! Actually, she’s one of the reasons One Youth got going and stayed going. She was the first adult leader and has loved and served students ever since.

If I had to describe Jess using one word, I couldn’t. It would just be too hard. Because I would want to use too many words, words like…

Faithful. Servant. Friend. Hero. Leader. Example. Loving. Caring. Believer. Amazing. Humble. Freaking Awesome. Lover of Jesus. Jesus Follower.

My wife and I have 4 kids and they all adore and love Jess.

Our 12 year old Zach is addicted to slurpees. There is a story behind that, but because of a special diet he’s on, we gave him his first slurpee pretty early on (like barely crawling, hahha) and he’s been hooked ever since.

Well, Jess and Zach have this cool tradition.

It’s called Slurpee Sunday.

After Church, before we’ll head to lunch, she takes Zach to his favorite slurpee place and they get a slurpee. As a dad who believes in having other adults be a part of our kids lives, this means the world. Some Sunday’s it’s probably a pain for her because Zach always remembers and is pretty persistent.

But, Jess is just faithful. Jess just loves. Jess just keeps investing into his life.

She cheered him on at his football games. She’s also taken our 16 year old to her favorite coffee place as well. And she has sat in the stands at many games from students from Thrive.

I was thinking about this today because last Sunday was slurpee Sunday and I was asking God to make me more like Jess.

I hope your kids have a Jess in their lives.

Today’s message at Thrive is the kind I wish I wasn’t giving on July 4th weekend!

Today is July 3rd!

Happy ‘Merica! (almost)

That means though that a ton of regular Thrivers will be not at Thrive this morning!

Now, don’t get me wrong, so many are camping and traveling and relaxing and enjoying their families!

I think that’s Friggin Awesome!

I even told our worship pastor, Matt Moore, to stay home this morning because he deserves a rest and a break!

We all need a break from time to time. Especially folks on our Thrive teams who serve every week!!

But, not to be debbie downer, but today’s attendance at Thrive will be a lower than normal because of those reasons. Again, so happy for people to rest.

For some reason though, when I did the sermon planning, I decided to teach on one of the most important scriptures in all of the Bible about Church Unity and Togetherness today of all days!

1 Cor. 12:12

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

I love 1 Cor. 12:12-27! It kicks my butt every time I read it!

It basically encourages followers of Jesus to put aside their pride and realized you’ve been gifts to serve the body of Christ. It reminds us how important we all are and how no one is not important.

So, when people give me the excuse that they have nothing to offer or they don’t feel connected or they want to give up on the Church, I’m reminded of these passages!

The local Church, because of Jesus, is the Hope of the World and we all have the honor of bringing that hope to the world! So, don’t miss on your part!

If you can’t be at Thrive this morning, I hope you’ll catch the message online.

And, have a GREAT weekend!!!

We’re praying for 25 people to Help us Bring home Kai. Would you pray with us?

If you haven’t heard yet, the Raitz family is adopting a little boy from China named Kai. You can read more about it here. 邹宏凯+(1)

We’re beyond EXCITED and HUMBLED! We pray everyday for the moment we’ll be able to bring him home!

That’s why we’re praying for 25 people to each give $100 towards Kai’s adoption fund!

To date, we’ve been able to raise about $17,000 towards his adoption!! Its just been unreal and we’re so humbled and honored God would move in peoples lives to help us bring Kai home!

But, we have about $13,000 to go! And, in the next 25 days…

We have to raise $2500.

Here’s why. What’s been raised so far has been applied to our Home Study process, adoption fees and the numerous extra things that have to be done for the adoption process.

We have to raise $2500 immediately for our next payment to the adoption agency that oversees Kai. That will help us make sure that Kai stays with the Raitz family.

If you can’t help financially, we would so appreciate your prayers!!

We’re getting closer and closer!! We’re waiting on our home study report and then we will submit our final paperwork to the US and China. Then we will also apply for a few adoption grants. And then we will wait for the final approvals and then wait for our travel window from China.

Then, we will fly to China, spend 14 days there and then…


We pray about the day we get to hold home everyday! We pray about the day we get to walk around the streets of China with him everyday! We pray about the moment we will load up on the plane ride home everyday. We pray about the moment we will land in Detroit and then head home and introduce him to our friends and family!

I pray everyday for the day we will get to bring him to our Church! I pray everyday for the family walks we will take! I pray everyday for the times I’ll play catch with him and watch him playing with his siblings.

We can’t wait! Thanks for being a a part of our journey!

Oh facebook, I think I’m done loving you

Well, here’s the deal…

I think (think being the key word)…

I’m done loving you facebook. 

Now, you know me. We go way back. I was so excited to sign up way back when. You know this is a big deal for me to say because I absolutely LOVE you! It’s true, I think you’re awesome. I think you’re one of the greatest things ever and I think you’re one of the best tools ever created to help GROW the Kingdom of God!!

But, there is quite a bit I don’t love about you. Let’s start with that. And, some of this is not your fault.

So, here’s what I DON’T love about you...

  • I don’t love the endless mounds of garbage that people post on you. Again, not your fault, but you collect a lot of garbage! A lot of trash!
  • I don’t love the ridiculous drama that people create on you. Again, not your fault, but for some reason you seem to attract drama.
  • I don’t love that your presence in some peoples lives, seemingly increases there lack of emotional intelligence.  Again, not your fault, but self awareness and relational awareness is at an all time low.
  • I don’t love how awful Jesus followers treat each other sometimes on your site. Again, not your fault, but my heart has broken hundreds of times reading peoples thoughts that they post in the name of being a Christ follower.
  • I don’t love how sometimes, you give people a false sense of identity. Ok, maybe this is your fault. That little like button causes havoc in peoples lives. They worry about getting more likes and more comments. I’ve been there.
  • I don’t love how people can sometimes feel excluded when they see all their friends partying and hanging out. Again, not your fault, but I’ve learned to be careful from posting because sometimes my posts attract some passive aggressive comments.

Again, I’m sorry! Most of this isn’t your fault! After working with middle school students for 15 years, most of the conversations I’ve had with adults about their struggles with you, remind me of middle school problems. That’s not your fault.

You just seem to amplify problems sometimes. 

I’ve only been off of you for a week, but here’s what I’ve already noticed:

  • I’m not as anxious. I’m not a conflict guy. I can deal with it, but I don’t go searching for it. For some people, they love the conflict that they can create on Facebook. I don’t need that in my life.
  • I’m hopefully more present with my family. Countless times over the last few years I have been buried in my phone as we’ve hung out as a family. Shameful!
  • I’ve spent more time reading and reading things that matter. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE reading peoples thoughts and posts! I love it! But, 75% of those posts are not helpful at all and I don’t miss those. I’m reading through the Old Testament and I’m working through my read pile!
  • I’ve noticed how much people are buried in their phones. Outside of my Youversion app, email, text and calls, I don’t really have much reason to pick up my phone. I’m not a big video game guy, so I don’t even have that. And, I’ve noticed how much people scroll through you as their hanging out with others. I think that’s why I’m going to keep you off my phone for good.
  • I’m praying a lot more. Instead of scrolling through your news feeds, I try to talk to Jesus more. That’s been really good for my heart, by the way.

I’ll be back. Don’t worry. I know you miss me. I know your algorythms are wondering why there are no posts on

Side note: I am still blogging on this social media fast and when I post those, they automatically update to Facebook).

So, you’re still getting a few rhythms, but not many.

We’ll see how I am in 21 day more days. I think I’ll be back. I think.

But, for sure Facebook…

I’m done loving you. 




What I love about my Dad

I’m blessed. I have an incredible Dad. In fact, I have an incredible Mom as well.

Yes, I’m blessed. IMG_0445

Here’s the deal, I try very hard to not take this giant blessing for granted. I have quite a few friends who are not close to their parents as all.

But, my dad has always been there for me.

I love that. Through good times and bad, he’s been there.

When I was in high school and struck out, he was there. When I got a job in high school and it was miles away from our house, he was there and drove me to work. Some nights, he would have to leave the house late at night to come pick me up and he did.

I also love that my dad has always been there for my mom. They are a great team. He’s been there for my brother as well. He’s been there for my kids as well.

Yeah, I think the world of my dad.

He’s a man of God. He has a quiet strength. He has a ton of wisdom. He is incredibly patient. Again, he’s just incredible.

Yup, I love my dad.


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:


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.

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