‘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.

 

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Maybe our parenting approach is all wrong?!? Parenting and the Church pt. 1

My wife and I have 5 kids. We have 3 teenagers (17, 15, 13) and a 9 and 3.5 year old. Parenting is an important part of our lives. One of the most important. And, for the past 22 years, I have had the privilege to serve families in local churches and have had a close up view to many different kinds of parenting styles.

On top of that, I have traveled all over the world and have spoke to thousands of teenagers. I don’t know the exact number. Retreats, Conferences, Camps, Christian Schools, Public Schools, Churches and Colleges. All over.

One more on top of that, we have a Senior in our house. That means we have one year left before she heads out on her own. It really is amazing how quick it goes.

All of that to say, we talk parenting a lot in our house. I talk parenting with my parents a lot. All of my friends have kids similar in age and we talk parenting a lot. I read parenting books and articles. I talk to parents about their thoughts. I talk to teenagers and parents about their thoughts. Because of all that, I’m at a crossroads and I’m thinking that…

Maybe we’re just wrong…jonnywow-maybe

Maybe Tracie and I are just wrong about Parenting when it comes to the Church.

Here’s where we’re coming from. We want our kids involved with the ‘Church’ and their Church. That’s the goal. That’s the win! 

Actually, we don’t want them to ‘just’ be involved or to just be attenders. We want them to be Contributors, Investors and Owners in their local Church.

Why?

A. Because the Church is the most important organization on the planet! I mean, Jesus gave His life for us and then He gave us the Church! It is the Bride of Christ and there is nothing more important. 

AND…

B. Something becomes so much more alive when you actually own it, rather than just renting it. 

Our point of view on the Church with our kids…

So, our approach to Parenting and the Church is that the Church is non-negotiable. It’s just a part of who we are as a family. And, we don’t want to sit in the cheap sits and watch. We want to be involved. We want to be on the field. We want our kids to love their Church and to be an Owner as much as we are.

That means that our kids are expected to care about their Church, pray for the leaders of their church and to be involved. And to be involved with their age appropriate ministries.

And, from what I can tell, our kids love their Church.

  • Madison, our 9 year old, has been talking about her Club 45 SpringHill retreat for months. (Club 45 is Thrive’s ministry to 4th and 5th graders)

A side note: As a family, we have made the choice that our kids won’t miss retreats or camps. Why? Because that’s where the power happens! There is something so incredible that happens on retreats and camps. I actually wrote an article about this years ago that’s been posted on many camp websites! Here it is. 

  • Zach, our 13 year old, decided to not try out for a travel baseball team because they practice on Sunday’s and he didn’t want that to interfere with Church and Youth Group.
  • All of our teenagers have already started their countdowns to next summer’s Big Stuf Camp. 
  • Shoot, during my recent 29 days off, our kids, on their own, still decided to join our Thrive community on Sunday’s. We let them decide and they decided to be a part.

Don’t think for one second that we’re experts or have the perfect family. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There are so many things we do wrong and need to do a better job when it comes to parenting and parenting teenagers and kids. 

Ok, why all of this? Why am I going on and on?

As a Pastor, I pretty frequently from parents who are beyond disappointed that their teenagers want nothing to do with the Church. 

I hear from other parents who are banging their heads against the wall and want help in getting their teenagers involved at church. 

So, all of that to say…

What if Parents gave even 10% of the passion they put towards their kids…

  • Prom Pictures
  • Football Practice
  • Travel Sports
  • Marching Band
  • 4H
  • Dance Competitions
  • School Stuff

And gave it to celebrating their involvement and serving in the Church?

I mean, its safe to say that parents are very excited about spending hundreds of dollars on Prom and then posting a million pictures of it. I mean, maybe I’ve missed something, but why is spending all that money and going to a dance all that important?

Now, I’m not trying to sound ridiculous. I love that my oldest daughter has gone to prom. She’s beautiful inside and out. I’m also proud that she hasn’t made a big deal about going with a guy and has just choose to go with friends. I went to prom. I love the dance scene from the movie footloose as much as they next guy.

But, when it comes time for parents to pay for summer camp or a youth retreat or a mission trip, sometimes its the end of the world.

End of the freaking world!

‘I can’t pay for that’ or ‘We don’t have it for that’ or ‘the church expects too much’

Hmmmm. But when it comes time to plunk down the fundage for a travel team, or a spring break trip, or a dress…the money is somehow there.

Ok, I know this a GIANT generalization. But, it’s also based on my experience of 22 years of being up close and personal to hundreds and hundreds of families.

Just imagine, MAYBE, how much more passionate our kids and teenagers MIGHT be about God and Church and Student Ministry…

If their parents Celebrated their faith like they celebrated Prom of Football or Soccer or Band?

Is this all unfair?

I know some parents slap up pictures on Facebook of their kids first communion or confirmation, but what about all the other hundreds of Sunday’s? Oh, it could be that some parents only get excited about a few milestone type church events. It could be that those parents themselves are only in Church for those milestone type events. That’s a whole other situation.

But what about all the Sunday’s their kids could be learning about Jesus? What about all the Sunday’s their kids could be leading at Church. Using their music gifts. Using their art gifts. Using their people skills.

Mom and Dad’s, we’re at a crossroads.

It’s time for us to decide if the goal of our parenting is to raise Jesus Followers or Prom dates or Soccer players or Baseball players or Marching Band Players.

The reality, if you don’t make your child’s faith a priority now or you don’t make Church a priority for your family, the likelihood of them coming back to the faith decreases rapidly.

All I know is…

What gets Celebrated gets Repeated.

(thanks for that phrase Andy Stanley)

So, if all we do is celebrate the Prom nights, the homecoming dates, the games, the grades and we don’t spend any time celebrating Church or making room for it or Youth Group or Bible Study or Small Group or celebrating our kids involvement with them. We can almost guarantee that our kids won’t be excited about them.

Maybe I’m Wrong. Maybe I’m too passionate about my kids loving the Church or being involved.

Maybe.

Or Maybe I’m onto something. More thoughts in part two coming next week.

 

 

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!

 

10 Ways to Support your Church in the summer

Summer is AWESOME!! Many people get to vacation. They get to rest. They get to breathe a little bit.

For some, life slows down a little bit. For others, it ramps up.

For most Churches, things slow down in the summer. Which is good. People need to rest.

BUT…FullSizeRender

If you’re a fully devoted follower of Jesus, your Church home is pretty special and important to you. If its not, you have some things to work through and do them quickly so you can get fully on board with your Church.

As an owner or partner or member (whatever term your church uses to describe being ALL IN), there are some very important things you can do to help your church still move forward during a slow time.

Let me give you a quick list on how you can support your Church in the summer.

1. Pray for your Church. Please don’t pray tiny, whimpy prayers. PRAY BIG, PRAY BOLD.

Ask God to grow your Church. Ask God to give your Church His favor. Ask God to financially bless your Church. Ask God to ready you for the fall.

2. Pray for your Pastor. Again, pray hard! According to this latest survey, about 250 are leaving the ministry every month. Pray for strength, pray for their health, pray for their family.

3. Watch the messages you missed. Keep up to date on what is being taught. Take the time to hear the vision.

4. Like stuff. If you’re not around, and that’s all good, you could still have an online presence. Its super encouraging to the leaders of your church when you take the time to LIKE posts online and comment.

So, like stuff. Comment. Reply. Respond.

5. Give financially. There’s an interesting thing that happens with some people. They only give financially to God when they attend Church. In one way, that’s kind of like giving Him a tip. In another way, it’s an interesting way to be faithful with your generosity.

6. Set up Online Giving. This is really awesome. Some people don’t do this because they like to actually write the check, totally get that. But, it really does help your church when you set up an automatic and reoccurring giving online. It helps with planning and spending on necessary resources.

7. Step up to serve. There’s an interesting dynamic that happens in many churches. A small percentage does the large amount of the stuff to do. So, change that. Volunteer. Commit.

8. Ask. There are always lists and lists of tasks to do. If you have time, ask if you could help.

9. Check in with people. Summer is a strange time. People are traveling. Some may miss every Sunday in the summer. So, check in with them. Start with the people in your small group. Check in with the people you serve with or sit by.

10. Help your Church win! Yup, I guess this is all of these ways combined into one, but do you help your Church win? If not, start today! Support your church. Encourage your church. Be there for your church. Help your church.

Summers are awesome. But, be careful to NOT disappear from your Church family!

Meet Thrive’s new Small Group Director…Jon Strifler!

Are you even kidding me? God just continues to blow me away!

I am beyond excited to introduce Thrive’s newest staff member.

Why?

Because has God sent an amazing leader to Thrive and He has filled a tremendous hole! And that hole has been for someone to lead our Small Groups. I have been trying to fill that hole and honestly, I haven’t done a great job. Cue our newest staff member.

Meet Jon Strifler. He’s our Small Groups Director. 

Small Groups are the secret sauce of Thrive Church! Sunday’s are awesome, but it’s just a small part. Small Groups are where it’s at! And, I’m so thankful that God lead Jon and wife to be a part of Thrive! Jon will be working closely with Dr. Tom to create healthy communities for our Church to be a part of and they will be creating tools to help us grow spiritually!
Here’s a little bit about Jon:
How long have you lived in Central Michigan?FullSizeRender.jpg
-Been in Central Michigan for 4 years. Originally from the Indianapolis area
What’s your favorite thing about Thrive?
-So far my favorite thing about Thrive has been the amount of fun we have working as a staff team
How excited are you to lead Small Groups at Thrive?
-I am quite excited–super geeked–fangirl moment, whichever you want to use
If you had to pick between either Hootie and the Blowfish or Country music, what would you choose?
-Certainly not country, so give me Hootie
Jon has been married to Jennise for a little over a year and together they have a dog. Jennise is a professor at CMU and is an amazing artist!
If you want to be in a small group, lead one or have questions, shoot Jon an email. Make sure you go out of your way to welcome him on a Sunday morning!
Jon.Strifler@thrivechurchmi.cc

 

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!

 

 

 

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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