Jason Raitz

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


Speaking Skills

I absolutely LOVE when Katie teaches at Thrive! Like she does today!!

Today, one of my favorite people on planet earth is teaching at Thrive

eisenbergersKatie Eisenberger!

She is just amazing! Her energy, her spirit, her life story and her passion for Jesus is just contagious.

Katie has been around Thrive before Thrive even was Thrive! One day, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Katie asking if we could meet. I sat down and she immediately began to pour out her out about how God was calling her to be a part of this new Church. The more she talked, the more excited I was for the future of this Church! She caught the vision even before the vision was completely birthed! That was in early 2013 and ever since then, Katie and her incredible leadership has helped Thrive grow and flourish!

She’s just a rock star leader and teacher. 

Today she continues our ‘Thrive at the Movies’ series with a look at Borne Identity! Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Because I’m kind of Matt Damon’s look alike, I could not do the message today! Right!?! It would have just been too confusing! Hah!

But, really, she is diving into a passage of scripture in Ephesians and talking about our Identity! It’s going to be good!

We struggle with our Identity all the time, don’t we? I mean, sometimes we think just students struggle with their Identity, but adults probably have bigger struggles with identity than they ever let on!

We try to find our identity in our cars, in our jobs, in our homes, in our stuff, in our facebook accolades and the list goes on and on.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, our identity is found in Him! Which is amazing! Because He is our rock, our salvation, our freedom and our joy!

So, head to Thrive this morning! 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema and let’s continue this journey together!

I’ve been speaking to students for 20 years and I love it!

I was driving home today from a speaking engagement and the thought hit me…

I have been speaking to students for over 20 years! 

That’s just crazy! speaking

I don’t even have the words to describe how honored I am that I have been able to teach and encourage and challenge students all these years.

I have spoke in churches, youth groups, conferences, schools, private schools and colleges.

I have traveled all over the country. I have spoke to groups of 10 students and all the way to thousands.

I really don’t speak outside of Thrive all that often anymore, but I loved today.

I believe in students and I have always loved teaching them about Jesus.

I have to say no to far more opportunities to speak now than I’d like, but I love the opportunities I can be a part of! This summer I’m speaking at two summer camps and I can’t wait!

I hope that students experienced Jesus today and they were inspired to live like Him!



Week One of Keeping Up at Thrive




Why does a good God allow suffering? @Thrive Church

Week three of ‘Bigotry vs Belief’

Selfless love Bridges the Gap between Bigotry and Belief

A privilege I do not deserve…being a guest speaker

This past weekend, I had the honor of being a guest speaker at SpringHill Camp.IMG_4425

Honestly, I know this is a GIANT privilege that I do not deserve! I know there are so many more qualified men and women, but for some reason God keeps tapping me on the shoulder and has been giving me these opportunities for the past 15 years.

Yeah, 15 years. Crazy! 

I can’t even express how heavy the responsibility is to be a guest speaker. For years, I wanted that responsibility and I DREAMED of having opportunities to go and be the speaker. Then, after about 5 years of having more and more of them, the reality of the weight and privilege began to sink in.

I mean, holy cow! I get to stand in front of a lot of students and present Jesus. That’s something that I do not take lightly.

It’s something that I cherish and I love, but it is also something that I take very seriously.

I know it’s amazing privilege and I hope that I’m stewarding it the best that I can. 

Now that I’m Thrive Church’s full time pastor, I am definitely speaking less and less away from home. Actually, I hate to miss Thrive on Sunday’s. Why? Because I just love my Church. I just being with the Thrive Community. And, I love the privilege of teaching our community at Thrive.

But, a few times a year, if I’m asked, I will travel and continue to speak. Why? I just love telling people about Jesus. And, right now, I’m blessed to be in a place where I have more opportunities to pick from that I can go and do. That could change overnight and I may not ever be asked to speak again somewhere else. And, that’s ok!

So, for now, I will continue speaking 3-5 times a year away from Thrive. Whether it’s a retreat, a camp, a conference or a parent seminar.

I will continue to to respect and thank God daily for giving me these tremendous opportunities to be the guest speaker. I will continue to learn, and to grow and to develop my gift.

Thank you God for blessing me with this tremendous privilege.

Building a Message pt. 1

I have been building, writing, editing and delivering messages for almost 20 years. images

That’s just crazy to think about! 

That started in 1995 and I haven’t stopped. Actually, way back in middle school is when I gave my first official message. Then, in high school, I was on the chapel committee and found myself in front of our student body a lot.

But, it’s true, I have been designing, researching, writing, editing and putting together messages for a long time.

My Personal Plan to Build a Message

Pretty frequently, I get emails from pastors, youth pastors, teachers and people who want to be speakers asking about everything ‘speaking’.

Things like: 

How to be a speaker. How to know if you have the gift of speaking. How to get more speaking opportunities. How to build a talk. How to evaluate your message. How to use humor. How to tell stories. How to develop a talk. How gain favor with the audience. How to write a conclusion. How to work speaking skills.

So, I thought would put together a series of posts about all things ‘speaking’. So, here goes.

Building a Message pt. 1

Let me start with this disclaimer: I have pulled together information from a ton of resources on how I build my messages. It has come from years of trail and error. Most of my material for building a message comes from one of these books:

So, that is pt.1 of building a message.


Take notes. Take more notes. Highlight. Underline. Right down the stuff that blows your mind.

Learn from the best and then let’s go from there.

So you want to be a ‘speaker’?

The year was 1997.

I had been a youth pastor for about a year and a half.

In that time, a few things started to make sense to me. Like, what I loved about my role as youth pastor.

I loved spending time kids. I loved planning events. And…

I loved Speaking! 

My goodness, I came alive. I loved it. I read everything I could. I watched every speaker I could. I listened to every tape I could (yes, tapes).

Then, I heard Ken Davis live for the first time in my life! Holy Cow! Something clicked inside of me and I knew I wanted to devote my life to speaking. I so wanted to use my gifts to communicate.

It was about that time, in a college class, my professor had us read Ken’s amazing book, Secrets of Dynamic Communication. 

Again, I came alive.

I remember thinking, I want to be Ken Davis! 

Fast forward to 2002. I was at my yearly pilgrimage to my mecca…Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention.

I was doing everything I could at that point to build a speaking ministry. I had left my youth pastor position and I wanted to go for it. I wanted to be a speaker.

Through a series of circumstances I still can’t figure out, I found myself in a room with the late Mike Yaconelli.

Now, he was my idol! I read everything he wrote! Basically, I worshipped him. Right around that time, he had written an article about speaking. Immediately it grabbed my attention. Why? Because I wanted to be a speaker. Well, in this article, and I can’t find it now, he basically said…

“we don’t need any more speakers, we need men and women to devote their lives to kids and to their local church”.

Honestly, I was deflated. I wanted to travel from place to place. Go here, go there.

And then, bam, I’m right in front of Mike. He reaches out his hand and says, “I’m Mike, what’s your name and what do you do?” Honestly, my voice quivered a little bit. I mean, here was a hero of mine! I said, “my name is Jason and I’m trying to be a speaker”.

He looked at me and then gave me a…”ohhhhh, gotcha” face.

We talked for a few minutes and he encouraged me and I’ll never forget what he said to me that night, he said…

“I know you will do great as a speaker and we need people to tell as many kids about Jesus as possible. But, we really need people to pour into kids and love them”.

I’ll never forget that conversation.

At other times during the last 15 years, I have tried to be a speaker. Actually, these past 2 years, I feel like I was on my way to becoming a speaker.

But, something didn’t click. There was something missing and for me, it was being involved deeply in a local church.

For me, I’ve learned that I am at my best and do my best when I’m pouring into a local church and the people in that local church.

So, you want to be a speaker? 

Here’s my advice to you. It’s really simple.

Pour into your local church.

Pour into the people in your local church.

Pour into the students and raise up a generation of speakers.

That’s it.

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