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Our Last Lap

By Pastor Tom Anderson

Thirty-nine years ago, I graduated from seminary, and we began serving churches here in Michigan. This summer marks the beginning of our fortieth year of ministry. It will be our last. Karen and I have closed on a house in Escanaba, and we intend to move into it by next June.

We will be much closer to our children and in a great community with vibrant churches, airport, hospital, shopping and some excellent trout streams. Our new home will allow us to age gracefully in place. We have many dear friends here in Highland and all over the state– including da U.P.

It is my aim to finish strong here at Thrive and to do all in my power to set the congregation up for a successful transition to a new pastor. Karen and I love you very much and we have seen you demonstrate great resilience, determination and faith over these last few years. We’ve weathered many storms together: the frustrations of COVID, the racial animosity of our cities, and the descent into chaos of our former denomination. We’ve also notched some milestones: the elimination of debt from constructing the Family Life Center, witnessing miracles for the Power Company Kids Club, joining the Global Methodist Church and launching new ministries such as the American Heritage Girls and Trail Life.

God has a great future for Thrive Church and now is the season for a new pastoral leader to take the baton and move forward with you in the years to come. I will turn 66 at the end of this year. We won’t stop following Christ and witnessing to him! We will shift to living out our faith in a new way. It’s a prospect that is both scary and exciting. We are enthusiastic.

The appointment process of the Global Methodist Church is new and different from what Thrive has experienced before. Conference leaders will reach out to consult with our FAST team. There will be much sharing about the vision, values and leadership needs of Thrive. A number of profiles will likely be presented to the FAST team for consideration. There will be interviews and for the first time the church will have a significant voice in the appointment of a new pastor. You can read about this new process here.

In the next 11 months, let’s be a congregation in prayer. Let’s begin to seek God’s dream. Let’s work together to have the church full and all of our missions and ministries running well with leadership in place for the future. Karen and I (and Pepper) are going to savor the moments we have with you all through this year. We want this to be a victory lap for God that sets up the next leg of the race. We are looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith to lead us to a strong finish!


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