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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


I love Mother’s Day at Thrive Church! See you at either 930 or 11 at CMU!!

At Thrive, we call Mother’s Day…

Mama’s Day! Mama's-Day-2017-Square

You’re invited today at either 930 or 11am at CMU!!

We spend months making sure everyone knows the date and to clear their calendars to be at Thrive on Mother’s Day. It doesn’t always work because, well, it’s Mother’s Day! Haha. But, more and more families are traveling up to Mt Pleasant, so that’s awesome!

But, there are 6-8 Sunday’s a year we go all out on: Mama’s Day, Dad Fest, Baptism and BBQ, our Anniversary, Christmas, Super Bowl and Easter. We go all out because honestly, it’s easier to invite and bring people these Sunday’s than regular Sunday’s.

So, today at Thrive, there will be…

  • Golf Carts picking up ladies at their cars and driving them to the front door.
  • We do some extra special stuff in Thrive Kidz for moms
  • We work extra hard on some creative elements that will speak to ladies in whatever season they are in: Pre Kids, Mom, Step Mom, Grandma, Aunt, Mentor and struggling to have kids.
  • Child Dedications
  • And, today, we’re doing something we’ve never done before at Thrive.

Today will be a special day! I hope you will join us at CMU at either 930 or 11am!


A Giant Family Experience + Thrive is serving Central Michigan = A Special Day ahead!

Today at Thrive is going to be…

Different, Exciting, Awesome, Encouraging and Fun

We’re changing things up a bit. Because of a scheduling issue, we could only rent Finch Fieldhouse on the campus of CMU. So, we decided to turn today into a giant


Yup, our entire Church family is gathering together under one roof and we’re going to be together! Same experience times, 930 and 11am.

Half of Finch will be set up with 5 Giant Inflatables! The other half will be set up for worship experience! Thrive Kids will only be going for kids from 0-2 years! All the ages will be sitting together! It’s going to be AWESOME!


if that wasn’t enough, we’re going to head out after each experience and serve our CITY!


So, wear your #forcentralmichigan shirts. Throw a rake or shovel in your car. Then, after each experience, head to one of the sites and let’s serve!!!!

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Thrive Sermon Notes. Week Two of #ForCentralMichigan. ‘Be Practical’

Last Sunday at Thrive Church, we kicked off a new series called #ForCentralMichigan. It was awesome and it was a GREAT Sunday!

We kicked off this series by laying out that we believe Thrive is called to be a Church

FOR the Community, not just in the community. 

Today, our plans changed a little at Thrive. We were going to spread throughout Central Michigan and serve at a ton of different projects. But, the rain decided it needed to come.

So, we changed our plans a bit! We hosted a LIVE online worship experience and it turned out GREAT!

This week, I wrote out my sermon notes. Here they are.




My Seminar Notes from Exponential: Engaging Your Community (Pt. 1)

Engaging Your Community

    • Good afternoon! So excited you’ve joined this conversation and that’s what I hope this will be. So, pipe up at any moment, throw in ideas. I hope that this is a think tank for you and I hope you will walk out of here with tons of ideas!
    • I’ve been serving as a Pastor at local churches since 1995. I was in youth ministry, well, I still am, but I served as a youth pastor for 17 years. I started a nonprofit to speak in public schools and then my wife and I planted Thrive Church on October 6th, 2013. We are 184 weeks old.IMG_9996.JPG
  • It has been the GREATEST journey of our lives. Lots of ups, lots of downs, lots of paint and lots of joy and everything in between!
  • So, this conversation we’re having, I’m going at it from the perspective of a church plant that’s in the preplant days. Now, if you’ve already planted, I think we’ll have some ideas to help you to continue engaging with your community. But, I wanted you to know that.
  • In a nutshell, if we’re going to really engage with our communities, I really believe our philosophy and our focus has to be rooted in this idea:

Big Idea: Be a Church FOR your Community, not just IN your Community

  • Thrive, after 3.5 years, still doesn’t have a building of our own. That helps us a little with this mindset. But, it’s super easy to slip into the philosophy of…well, people just need to come to us. It’s easy once you’re up and going to just take your foot off the peddle a little bit.
  • At Thrive, we set out to reach people who had given up on God and church. We want to create irresistible environments for people who have given up on God and Church. That’s our context.

Story: This is a great F’ing Church

  • We were like 2 months in, and this giant guy, came up to me after church. Like, he’s a massive man. We’re in the hallway and he grabs my shoulders and he says…I LOVE THIS F’ING CHURCH! It was awesome! A few older ladies sprinted out of there!
  • That to mean was an indicator that we were reaching people who hadn’t been reached!
  • But, if even before we launch and plant, this idea of being FOR the community is front and center, that will keep us moving in the right direction.
  • I love what Andy Stanley says about a Church being a movement:

“The church at its inception was essentially, a movement…a movement built around conviction that Jesus had died as the only Savior for sinners and that he had risen from the dead proving he was who he said he was; that he was the rightful Lord of the earth and all people everywhere were now commanded to repent and invited to come home to him.” ~Andy Stanley

  • If you haven’t had a chance to read Deep and Wide by Andy, oh my goodness, do it immediately. The book continues to blow my mind and is so powerful!
  • In it, he really breaks down this thought process of…is the Church a Building or a Movement?

The Church? Building or Movement [From Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley]

  • This will be a refreshers course, but I think it’s helpful to lay this foundation out before we get to 10 really practical steps to Engaging your Community. So many people, when they hear the word church, immediately think of what???
  • A Building. A Place.

Story: Planting Thrive in a Rural, predominantly catholic area

  • So many people thought I was crazy when we announced that we were going to plant a Church. And they just couldn’t wrap their minds around not having a building. To them, the church was a place they went to a few times a year, wore their Sunday best and it was a building.
  • So, to some in our area, we were a cult. We started in a bar (some people seemed to dig that, hah!), then a movie theater and, wow, the very traditional crowd thought that was crazy.
  • In our first year and a half we started this annual giving campaign called the SHOE PROJECT. Schools and supporting them has always been on my heart. We found out that shoes was a very real need. So, we raised $15,000 and bought 425 brand new pair of shoes and gave them out in a school!
  • It was like a giant foot washing!
  • And, then we cancelled a Sunday pretty early and started a ‘Church has left the building’ day where we served schools.
  • We want to teach very practically early on, that the Church was both a gathering and a movement.
  • That’s exactly what Andy Stanley teaches in Deep and Wide. He takes the world Church and teaches that in the Greek, it’s translated, Ekklesia, it literally means…

‘Ekklesia’ = [‘ek’ = ‘out of’] [‘kaleo’ = ‘called out’]

  • So, it’s an Assembly of people called out around an idea, a movement
    • But over the years, a terrible thing happened. People began to think of church as a place that you went to for religious services.
  • Our English word “church” comes not from the Greek ekklesia but from the German word kirche, which meant “a sacred place where you gather for religious purposes.”

‘Kirche’ = A sacred place where you gather for religious purposes

    • That shift in thinking changed the fundamental way people related to the church. Throughout the Dark Ages people went to church; it was a place you attended or sat through, rather than a movement you were part of.
    • And the church became an institution that essentially provided services for people and was controlled by powerful people who used it to serve their own interests.
    • But then something awesome happened. God raised up a group of people called the Reformers. One of the main ones for the English speaking world was William Tyndale.
    • He came to the conviction that Christianity was essentially a movement, and that if people were going to be devoted to the movement they had to understand the message and so his life’s work was to produce the first translation of the Bible into common English.
  • And every time he came to this word, ekklesia, he translated it ‘congregation’ instead of church, because he was trying to emphasize that the church was not a place you went to, but a movement you belonged to.
    • You church history buffs know that infuriated Church leaders because it undercut their authority. Eventually Tyndale was tried as a heretic, hanged and burned at the stake
  • During his trial, right before he died, he said, ‘If God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more Scriptures than you do’.
  • As he was being burned his last recorded words were, ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes’. If you’ve got a copy of the King James Bible, you can see that God answered that prayer.
  • But, the Church is an assembly built around a movement.

Illustration: Cruise Ship or Coast Guard

  • It’s easy to have the MOVEMENT and ENGAGING YOUR COMMUNITY mentality in the beginning. But, trust me, you can slip into the safe, no risks, pleasing the Church people mentality very quickly.
  • There is a GREAT Church in Rapid City, South Dakota and the Pastor, David Kinnan, uses this illustration.
  • Are you a Cruise Ship Church or the Coast Guard?
  • Cruise Ship Churches are obviously ‘kirche’ kind of Church! A place you go. And, it attempts to meet your every need! You are pampered, stuffed at buffets and everything is about you.
  • Unfortunately, that mentality cannot slip into Churches. We have to Be the COAST GUARD! An ekklesia that moves throughout our communities and saves drowning people!
  • So…

Is our GOAL to just launch a SERVICE and find a BUILDING … or create a MOVEMENT and ENGAGE your Community?

  • I know this is probably a crazy way to start out, because if you’re planting, you are in the thick of being a movement.
  • But, I know so many planters that just work so hard to get to a service or a building. You work so hard just on details!
  • Details are fine! Details are important, they’re necessary. It’s one of the reasons I planted through STADIA CHURCH PLANTING. They provided me a Project Manager, really an Ex. Pastor for the first 10 months to handle the details.
  • That freed me up to ENGAGE with my community!
  • The big question to ask is…

“A movement is something that is usually marked by three things, or it’s said it’s marked by three things. First of all, a movement is something that’s united around a common, compelling vision. It’s got a broad base of involvement and participation, which is very broadband and spontaneous. And it’s energized by a power that leads to innovation and sacrifice.”  ~Tim Keller

Big Idea: Are you a Church FOR the community, or just another Church IN your community?

  • Acts 1:8 reminds us why this is all so important!

Acts 1:8

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

  • We have to MOVE. We have to ENGAGE.
  • This has got to be one of the strangest scenes ever, doesn’t’ it? He gives them the largest assignment you could ever imagine…and then…with hardly any explanation, or plan of action, he leaves.
  • They are like, what? The whole world? As he is ascending, they are like, ‘Jesus, do you realize how big the whole world is? Jesus is like, ‘Yup, I can see it from here suckers! And, you have no idea how big it really is!
  • This is where it all began. 2000 years later, here we are, with more Christians on the planet than any other religious group, all stemming from a group of 12 fisherman, carpenters and tax collectors.

The Question to ask before you launch?

‘If our Church disappeared someday, would anyone in our community even notice?

  • When we planted Thrive, we said that this question would be one that we would come back to all the time.
  • Our area is smaller, its rural. We have 26,000 people in our town, about 130,000 in a 30 mile radius. Lots of traditional churches.
  • So, we just keep asking ourselves, if Thrive goes away, will anyone notice?
  • We ask that, because we want to make a big impact in our area!
  • And the way to do that is by Engaging with our community.
  • So, here is a step by step to do just that. To be FOR the community, not just IN the community.

Step by Step Plan to Engaging Your Community

  1. Remember that you CARRY the most important news ever.

And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere’

  • Yes, of course we remember this, that’s why we’re doing this. But, we get so busy, again, with the details. The pressure of Launching Large, or getting Missional Communities going, or building a launch team.
  • So, a good question to ask is, Do you really know the Gospel Message?
    • I Love the Gospel Message. But, if I’m being honest, it was years before I really could articulate it in a way that an unchurched person could understand.
    • Todd Clark: How to lead a person to Jesus on a napkin
  • Do you know what you believe about the essentials?
    • People will ask. Be ready.
    • And, they will want to know what you believe about Homosexuality.
    • I got the most emails about that before we launched. We’re in a college town. I got emails from parents asking if there kids would be accepted at Thrive. Broke my heart.

Story: Cornered by a Grandma on Child Dedication Sunday

  • This grandma cornered me and drilled me. You a real pastor? Where’s your robe? Why don’t you baptize babies? What’s this child dedication?
  • What are your non-essentials?
  • What are your Core beliefs?
  • Are you passionate about sharing Jesus?
    • Are you more passionate about the idea of starting and growing a church, that about sharing Jesus with every person you come into contact with?

Story: Panera Bread: You’re a Pastor?

  • I worked at Panera Bread my first year at Thrive! Hundreds of meetings, coffees, thousands of study hours, phone calls.
  • I got to know the staff very well. The manager would let me clean up tables.
  • Staff would talk to me on their breaks!
  • One day a young lady who I was getting to know sat down and rather rudely said, I just found out you’re a Pastor! Is that true? Because what I know of Christians, they hate everything and everyone and you just don’t seme that way!
  • Remember that you’re a carrier!
  1. Learn how to be an AMAZING story teller.
    • Study how to ‘Cast a Vision’ from both in front of people and face to face with people
      • Read Visioneering by Andy Stanley and then read it again!
      • Watch GREAT vision Casters
        • Greg Nettle
        • Albert Tate
        • Bill Hybels
        • Andy Stanley
    • Learn how to share the story of your church in under 5 minutes
      • What makes you different?
      • Read everthing you can from Will Mancini and get CLARITY.
      • Do you have a tag line? Thrive’s is NO PERFECT PEOPLE ALLOWED.
    • Practice, practice, practice.
      • Ted Williams, I believe was the greatest hitter of all time. Played for the Red Sox in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s. He swag a bat 1000 times a day!
      • Practice like that.
      • Charles Swindoll has a full length mirror in his office and he practiced in front of it.
      • Actually be compelling
    • Do you know how many stories (or parables) Jesus told?
      • 58! Fifty-Eight!
  • Stories are powerful!
  • I love this quote by Eugene Peterson…
    • “Stories are verbal acts of hospitality.”
  1. Build a team of storytellers.
  • Teach them the Gospel [How to share the Gospel in 2 minutes]
    • Have them watch Todd Clark’s…How to share the gospel on a napkin
  • Remember that vision leaks, so teach them the vision over and over
    • Figure out how many 1 on 1’s you can emotionally process in a week and then set a goal. Meet for early breakfasts, coffees, lunches, walks in a park. Every conversation bring up the vision.
    • Ask the tough questions.
      • Are you praying for anyone to share the Gospel with?
    • Create a facebook private group and share vision stories
  • Show them how and when to share stories of your church
    • Our society is not very keen on Emotional Intelligence. Read everything Daniel Goleman has written on it!
    • Teach your people Self Awareness, and Relational Awareness
  • Resource them with your Church Swag
    • People love free stuff. We didn’t send mailers, we didn’t spend a lot of marketing dollars. But, we provided COOL SWAG.
      • Make T-Shirts
        • Cool T Shirts. Sweatshirts. Great designs, Quality Designs.
    • Lawn signs that don’t look Churchy
    • Invite Cards. Business card size.
      • Ours say…Not your mama’s Church, unless of course, your mom goes there.
    • Car Decals
    • Door Hangers
    • Facebook Page
      • Use this primarily for INSPIRATION not INFORMATION. Tell the story of your Church online.
      • Turn them into Online Evangelists
        • Teach them how to share online
        • Use hash tags
        • Use great photo’s
  1.  Really get to KNOW your community.
  • Be the expert
    • I grew up in the city of Detroit, I planted in a rural area. I had a lot to learn.
    • Stadia helped me with this as well. Provided reports for me. Information.
  • Do the research
    • Go to your cities websites.
  • Build a database of the who’s who
    • I created a google doc with everyone!
  • Drive around it, walk around it and pray for it
    • Prayer Walks are HUGE for me.
    • We didn’t launch with a ton of resources, so prayer was all we had!
  1. Meet with as many Community Leaders as you possibly can. 
  • Police, Fire, Mayor, City Manager
    • I remember meeting with the Police Chief and he said at the end of our conversation, I wish I wasn’t Catholic, this Church sounds awesome! I drag myself to Church!
  • Principals, Teachers, Superintendents, PTA’s
  • Pastors, Clergy, Chaplains
  • Nonprofits, Business Leaders, Chamber of Commerce

Are you looking for a Church Home? A few things I would look for…(part 1)

From time to time, I’m asked this question:

What would you look for if you were searching for a Church home?

So, here are some thoughts. Now, this list is for people who are genuinely searching for a new church home. Maybe you’ve moved, maybe God’s lead you to help start a Church, maybe your last Church was unhealthy and God finally gave you the ok to leave.

This list is not for the Church Shoppers and Hoppers. As a Pastor, I’ve seen and experienced the steady stream of those and my encouragement is to stay far away from that stream!

How do you know if you’re a Shopper or Hopper? How many Churches have you been a part in the last 5-7 years? If the answer is multiple fingers, you may have your answer.

And, Please…PLEASE never refer to your search for a church home as church shopping. The Church isn’t a great deal. It’s the Bride of Christ, so no shopping has to happen.

Here’s what I would look for…

Jesus. There are over 300,000 Churches in America. Believe it or not, not all of them point people to Jesus. In some churches, you can sit in a row for weeks and months and get involved and not even hear His name.

Jesus has to be all over the Church and the focus of the Church.

The Gospel. I would look for a Church that regularly gives people a chance to respond to the Gospel. That teaches people how to find the answers they’re looking for in Scripture.

Evidence of Life Change. Is anything happening? Are people being baptized? Are there people in groups. Are people serving? Is there life in the church? Are all the generations represented?

Music that’s not stuck in the 50′, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90′ or the early 2000’s. This one is a big one for me. I think sometimes churches get stuck in a time warp of when the church was going well and they stick with everything from that era. Churches need to change, the Gospel stays the same.

FOR their community, not just in their community.. In my opinion, many Churches are just the opposite. Churches have a tendency to become super insider focused. And, after time, they turn more and more inward. I would look for a Church that’s focused on reaching people who have given up on God or the church.

No churchy language. Would you need a translator to explain to you what’s happening to be a part of the Church? Sometimes, churches have their own christian sub-culture and again, that can be a real turn off to someone who won’t understand it.


Ok, that’s the first 7 things I would look for! Tomorrow I will post 7 more!




Sermon Notes. #ForCentralMichigan. Week One. We have to be a Church FOR the community, not just in the community.

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

    • Good morning Thrive church!! How are we doing today?
    • Today we start a new series where it’s basically one of those…less talking, more doing kind of series.


  • For a long time, it seems, the CHURCH as a whole has been known for what we’re against and not we’re FOR.FullSizeRender
  • Shouldn’t we change that?
  • Wouldn’t it be awesome if the CHURCH and THRIVE CHURCH was known as a place that cared so passionately about people that everyone heard about it because it was so different?


  • And, it’s so important, we believe, if you’re going to experience the full goodness is to SHOW UP, JUMP IN and DO GOOD!
  • See, so many Churches are like Cruise Ships. A Pastor I admire a ton in South Dakota just used this analogy.
  • Sometimes, if we’re apart long enough, we just expect a nice ride. We have a saved seat. We like things our way. We don’t ever think of what someone new would like or want. We come to expect a club environment.
  • The Pastors and staff are just event directors. Make me laugh. Get me the answers I need. Make me feel comfortable.
  • Thrive cannot and never will be a Cruise Ship Church. That’s one of the reasons Tracie and I started this Church. We looked around the area and we couldn’t find a church that we wanted to dive into with our family. We found lots of cruise ship churches in our opinions. Lots of denominational churches with their stuff. And, I’m not speaking bad about them, that’s one of our biggest rules, we don’t talk bad about other churches.
  • But, we have to be a COAST GUARD type of CHURCH! A church that never gets too comfortable and loves to change. Why? Because when we hate change and we get really comfortable, we start to care less about the sinking ships around. We care less about what we need to do reach others.
  • So, we have to be the coast guard!
  • That’s why we’re doing this series! That’s why we have a Shirt for you to buy that says we’re all about Central Michigan.
  • So, let’s jump in! How can we be about CENTRAL MICHIGAN?

Story: Mother Teresa Story

  • There was a little boy once who asked his mom if he could send a letter to Mother Teresa and his mom said yes. So, he wrote out a letter. The mom thought for sure she would never reply.
  • Well, the boy worked on the letter for a week! He was very proud of it.
  • He had his mom read it.
  • Dear Mother Teresa. I really like how you care for people. I really want to do that as well. Where do I start? Signed little boy.
  • Well, a few months went by and a letter did come in the mail. The little boy opened it up and Mother Teresa wrote out a reply

Slide # 2…’Find your own Calcutta’ ~Mother Teresa

  • Right?!? That’s it! So many people are like, there’s just nowhere for me to serve. For me to make a difference.
  • So, for the next three weeks, we will dive into how we can SERVE our city and LOVE our city. Oh, and get ready for our next series! I haven’t been this excited about a series since, well, I don’t know. Oh, and just a heads up, we’re doing a series called ‘Better Together’ after that to help strengthen our marriages and relationships.
  • So, if you live in Mount Pleasant, great. Clare. Alma, wherever.
  • We now have people who are a part of Thrive over a 40 mile radius!
  • So, together we are going to SERVE and LOVE the Central Michigan area.
  • And, we have to remember that….

Slide # 3….We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

    • So many churches are just IN a community, doing their thing.
    • Now, we have a VISION and MISSION.


  • Our VISION is To create environments that people who are done with church and God will find irresistible.  
  • Our MISSION is to help people find and follow Jesus.


    • So, what we do on Sunday mornings is vital, because we share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus and give people a chance to invite Him into their lives! That’s why Sunday’s are so important. And, us who have done that, it’s important so we can serve and continue helping others.
    • But, its not all about what we do in here. It’s so much about what we do and how we live out there. Our hope is that you learn how to follow Jesus in these gatherings. That Jesus will inspire and encourage and lift you up!


  • So, we can go out there!


  • We’re basing this whole series on a great verse from the Old Testament in the book of Jeremiah.

Slide # 4…

And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” ~Jer. 29:7

  • We’re encouraged to LOVE and SERVE the place we live.

Story: Jason’s story of learning to love Central Michigan

  • Maybe this is to honest, but I really struggled with living in Central Michigan when we first moved here almost 7 years ago!
  • I grew up in Detroit. Lived in the suburbs and then in the suburbs of Chicago and then bam, Mt Pleasant.
  • I searched for the Mountain of Mt Pleasant the first 4 months we lived here. Where is it???
  • After a year, I tried to get us back to Chicago. 15 months in I had two job offers, one in FL and one in TX. I was packing!
  • But, God just kept saying, you’re supposed to be here.
  • I’ll never forget taking one of my kids to work on their homecoming float at a farm and the only time I saw a farm as a kid is when we went to Greenfield Village. Amazing, right!?! That’s it!
  • Then, God did something in my heart! I love this area now.
  • And, I’ve experienced serving at Churches like Willow Creek and what they offer just doesn’t exist around here and that’s why I’m so passionate about Thrive! Because I think we offer something new to this area.
  • We are FOR the community, not just IN it.
  • If we’re going to be FOR this community, we have to…

Slide # 5…Dump our PRIDE. Dump our pride. Get it out of the way.

  • Two types of Pride. The good and the bad.
  • The good takes pride in who we are. A Child of the risen Savior. A son or daughter of the most high king. A beloved creation.
  • The bad side though, well, it’s bad. We exclude others, we remind others how great we are, we talk about ourselves all the time, we never ask questions in conversations. We post everything about how awesome we are.
  • If you’re going to Love and SERVE your area, you have to dump your pride.

Slide # 6…

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Eph. 6:10-12 MSG

  • Often Christians think that it is us vs the evil people out there. But Paul makes it clear that our battle is not against flesh and blood people, but against spiritual evil powers.
  • In our walk with Jesus, we are going to battle against some very powerful evil forces that don’t us to work together or be for others.
  • That’s why Satan loves when we’re Prideful. Because It’s all about us!
  • So, that’s why we have to rely on God and not ourselves.
  • I love this quote by CS Lewis.

Slide # 7…“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” -C. S. Lewis

  • You cannot love someone you are at war with.
  • Jesus says to love even our enemy
  • Humility is the crowning virtue of each Christian (Phil 2 mind of Christ)

Big Idea: We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

Slide # 8…Wear some GLOVES

Slide # 9…

Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do. I’m only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn’t give orders to the employer. If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life. John 13:12-17 MSG

  • You didn’t become an elite human with privilege when you said yes to Jesus, you became the servant of all, just like our Master
  • My dad taught me a valuable lesson when I was 15 years old. We were building a deck, a big giant one for this massive house and we were talking about work.
  • He said, you’re number one job as an employee is to make your boss’s job easier. That’s it. Don’t’ make extra work for them. Take things off their plate. Be reliable. Show up on time. Have a great attitude.
  • Wow, that has stuck with me. If we’re going to serve, we don’t walk in all high and mighty.
  • We have some incredible servant leaders at our church. One of our elders, all of them do, but one of them models this amazingly well. During the work week, on the org. Chart, he probably oversees 300 employees. He’s a big deal!
  • But, at Thrive, he’s a servant. Help set up, sure. Pray for you? Sure.
  • That’s the kind of attitude we need if we’re going to serve our City.
  • We often times replace humility with self righteousness (moral superiority, doctrinal correctness, which leads to an attitude of entitlement and privilege)
  • Jesus came not be be served but to serve. He is our model, pouring out his whole life for the benefit of others.

Slide # 10…

“Christians don’t simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus’ name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son.” ― Eugene H. Peterson

Big Idea: We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

Slide # 11…Work for your CITY

  • We are a church FOR the community and not just IN the community. Loving our community helps them see the face of God

Slide # 12…

Work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jer. 29:7 NLT

  • A church FOR the community asks,
    • “what are the needs we are gifted to meet?”
    • “Where are the hurting and forgotten cast aside to?”
    • “Who has not heard the Message, and how can we bring it to them?”
  • A Church IN the community asks,
    • “What’s in it for me?”
    • “Do I have to reach out to THAT group?”
    • “Why are people NOT coming to hear our message?”

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold.  When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone.  But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself. That is what our life in community is about.  Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world.  Nobody can say:  “I make God visible.”  But others who see us together can say:  “They make God visible.”   Community is where humility and glory touch.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Big Idea: We have to be a Church FOR the community not just IN the Community!

So, here’s your action step, go and sign up to be a part of serving our City next week.

We are serving at Morey School, West, Fancher, Vowels and Ganiard. The Foster Closet. Downtown, parks, the cemetery, the airport and a few homes of shut ins.

Buy a shirt and wear it with pride!!