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Jason Raitz

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

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Thrive

Thrive Church is officially 3 years old today!

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ONLY GOD had got us this far! 

It’s been an amazing THREE years! 160 people have been baptized kind of amazing!

This is a big one for me personally, because this past year was hard. I think satan threw everything he could at us and it wasn’t enough! We just kept moving forward! We just kept helping people find and follow Jesus. We just kept seeing amazing life change!

 

Today is a special day!

I’m so thankful!

I can’t wait to celebrate God with my Thrive family!

I do believe the BEST is YET to COME!!

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.

‘I just don’t feel connected at Thrive’

So, here’s the story, I do not feel this way!

I love my Church!

Like a lot! For 20 years I have served at and been employed by local churches and I can say that Thrive Church is my favorite (I did spend some time on staff at a Church called Willow Creek and that was pretty spectacular)!

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, ‘of course you love your Church, you started it’! Yes, that’s true! I helped plant Thrive Church and I lead it, so I am just a little bias! But, the reality is, I feel very connected at Thrive. There’s a good reason for that! More on that later.

But, from time to time, I meet with folks who tell me that they don’t feel connected and I totally get that! Our team spends a lot of time thinking through how people get connected at Thrive. We have charts and diagrams and lots of white board drawings.

In the end though, after many years of conversations like that, I think it comes down to a very simple diagram and 3 short phrases.

Show Up Jump In Do Good scratch4-01Here’s the deal, Thrive exists to help people Find and Follow Jesus! That’s it! We are a Church for people who have given up on God or on Church, so we actually try to not be ‘churchy’. We try to create an environment on Sunday’s where people are welcomed, accepted and loved!

So, we ask 3 things of every Thriver…

Show UP, Jump IN and Do GOOD.

And, we ask them to do these three things over and over and in time, we believe they will become a passionate follower of Jesus.

Show UP…Every Sunday. The reality is, people just don’t attend Church every Sunday any longer. And, we don’t want them to attend, we want them to be a part. We hope that every Thriver would serve at one experience and attend one. But, if you’re not there to hear the heart beat of the Church and to be a part, how can you feel connected?

Jump IN…To a Team, to a Small Group or to Shift. We believe people have to get connected to each other. So, there are 10 different Thrive teams to serve on. And, for three seasons of the year, there are Small Groups. Lastly, for those looking for some Seminary level teaching, we have Shift.

Do GOOD…Every day, every chance you can. We want people to live a lifestyle of generosity. With their time, their gifts and their finances. We want them to expeirence the joy of giving and sponsoring children and buying shoes and serving schools and the homeless shelter.

So, I think, if someone puts in just a little bit of effort, they will feel connected. Now, sometimes people try these things and still don’t feel connected, I don’t know what to do with that.

But, its amazing what happens when you put yourself out there.

I feel very connected because I love my Church! I fight for it! I serve it! I pray for it! I pray for the people of Thrive! I ask God to bless it. I give to it. I tell others about it! I read every email and every Facebook post from it.

If you’re looking to get more connected at Thrive, just email our amazing Connections Coordinator and she’ll get you all set up. Lindsey.msibi@thrivechurchmi.cc.

My prayer and hope is that I won’t have to have many conversations with folks with people who don’t feel connected, but I know we will do everything we can to help get folks connected and growing closer to Jesus!

 

 

3 Reasons You Should be at Thrive Tomorrow

It’s Saturday! Tomorrow is Sunday! Sunday is the day that Thrive has the privilege of gathering together!

I CAN’T WAIT!!! 

I hope you can’t wait as well. Here are 3 Reasons you should be at Thrive tomorrow.

ONE…We start a new series called ‘Grow a Pair’. Yup, Grow a Pair. Ok, because a couple of you probably just scratched your head. Let’s just go right at what you’re wondering.

Isn’t the title a crude? Well, maybe. But, I guarantee to someone who has given up on God or Church, it’s probably not crude at all.

This is just a very real way of saying…BE BOLD! STEP UP! YOU HAVE THE STRENGTH TO OVERCOME!

So, tomorrow we dive into the story of Samson and discover how we can learn to not waste the amazing potential that God has given us!  So, I hope you’ll be there!samson-banner65x35

TWO…We need your pop bottles or cans. One Youth is raising money for their summer camp trip and a very easy way to support this trip is to bring your bottles. If there’s too many, we’ll come and pick them up.

THREE…To meet someone new!  Too many of us are living alone! Sure, we may have family or co-workers, but who do you have in your life to challenge you, be with you, encourage you and pray with you.

Head to Thrive tomorrow and begin the journey of meeting someone that will help you on your journey to Find and Follow Jesus.

See you soon! 

 

 

Do you want to FALL IN LOVE? Today at Thrive

love

Does that describe you?

Do you want to fall in love? Are you praying, hoping and longing to find the love of your life?

OR…

Has your marriage stalled out? You’re no longer in love and honestly, you’re just roommates.

OR…

You want to strengthen your marriage or relationship. You’re in love and you show it by out loving each other, but you don’t ever want to lose that.

Let me cut right to the chase about what we’re talking about today…

If you want something you’ve never had, you must do something you’ve never done.

Yup, that’s it! It will take sacrifice, but it will be worth it!

So, head to Thrive Church this morning. We meet at Celebration Cinema at both 9 and 1015a.

Don’t worry about what to wear, just dress comfortable. Don’t worry about having it all together, just come as you are.

See you soon!

Faith…Football…Fun = Today at Thrive Church

What are you doing this morning? tailgate

Maybe you’ve thought about checking out Thrive Church for awhile now. You have a few friends who go to Thrive and you’ve read a few posts on Facebook about Thrive.

Every Sunday you come up with an excuse and that’s ok.

But, what about taking the leap of faith and checking out Thrive?

Why today?

Thrive is hosting our annual Tailgate Party and it’s the perfect Sunday to check out the Church. Free food, the CMU pep band and cheer leaders are at Thrive. It’s Jersey Sunday, so wear your favorite teams swag! And, we’re starting a new series about relationships.

Who doesn’t have relationship questions?

So, check out Thrive today. 

  1. Head to Celebration Cinema by either 830am or 945am. The experiences start at 9 and 1015 and the adults head to theater one and the kids are in a bunch of different theaters.
  2. Wear your favorite teams swag.
  3. Come hungry.
  4. Come and be a part!

We’re ready for you! See you soon!

My 2 word goal for 2016

Follow Jesus

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Yup, that’s it.

I want to passionately and whole-heartedly follow Jesus. 

Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:27-30).

I don’t want to be a fan. I want to be a follower.

A fan sits in the stands. A fan criticizes without being involved. A fan is great at hype.

I want to be a follower. 

A follower abandons their own ways for the ways of their master.

A follower puts aside their pride.

A follower helps others find the Savior.

A follower serves the needs of others.

A follower surrenders their finances to God.

A follower does life in circles not rows.

A follower changes to be more like who they follow.

So, for 2016, my goal is to follow Jesus. 

NO OTHER NAME…Easter at Thrive

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A letter to my Church about Easter at Thrive

Dear Thrive Church,

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait till tomorrow. I have been waiting, anxiously waiting for Easter Sunday for months and I am so excited it’s almost here. Don’t get me wrong, I love every Sunday, you know that, but there is just something about Easter Sunday!

We have literally been preparing, planning and praying for Easter Sunday for months. Way before Christmas we started to dream and to started to talk about it. And, as the theme and scripture came together and God continued to put on our hearts what we needed to share, the excitement began to grow and grow. Then, our events team started to dream and put together a great plan as well.

And, now we’re here! This time tomorrow, Easter at Thrive will be in our rear view mirror. Before we get to Easter morning,  I wanted to share a few things with you that have been on my heart.

I love our Church. I really do. I have loved our church since it was a dream in my journal. I have loved our church since it was only a discussion around a dining room table. I loved our church when a dozen of us gathered in my living room on Christmas eve a few years ago. I loved our church when we met in the Shepherd Bar. I loved our church when started meeting at Celebration Cinema and now that we have two experiences, and staff and more and more people. I love our church. I love what God is doing. I love what we’re about. I love it.

I love that we will do anything short of sin to reach people for Jesus. We will! Already in our short 78 weeks, we have attempted some crazy stuff. Most recently our shoe project! How crazy was that!?! Let’s keep dreaming! Let’s keep attempting crazy stuff. Let’s let nothing EVER stop us from reaching people for Jesus!

I love that we care about kids and students! We have to care more! We have to continue to raise the bar for our kids and students. We have to be a church that never gives its scraps to our kids and students. So, let’s pray for them. Let’s create great environments for them. Let’s do whatever it takes to pour into them.

I love that we’re all about Jesus. That’s it! We exist to help people find and follow Jesus! Not only to find Him, but then to learn how to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus. To be Jesus. To live Jesus. To love the world like Jesus loves. We have to be all about Jesus.

Tomorrow is Easter.

We have a HUGE day planned. Our band and creative team and events team and kids team have been working over time to make tomorrow morning the best Sunday it could ever be.

SO…

Let’s pray. Let’s seek God. Let’s ask God to move. Let’s beg God to break hearts. Let’s pour into kids and students. Let’s worship. Let’s love. Let’s live for Jesus. Let’s change. Let’s be more like Jesus. Let’s care more for others than we do for ourselves. Let’s give. Let’s give financially. Let’s serve.

I love our Church and can’t wait to see what God is going to do through you!

See you tomorrow!

Jason

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