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State of the Church 2021

By Pastor Tom Anderson

Here’s my take on the state of our church in three words: generous, creative and courageous.


Generous

We completed what was the last capital campaign for the Family Life Center! At the beginning of the Finish with Love campaign our remaining debt stood at approximately $342,500. We haven’t even finished 1 year of the 3 year pledge period and our remaining debt stands at approximately $120,000! At this rate there is good reason to believe that our debt will be eliminated in the next 18 months. Sensational! Thank you everyone for your perseverance in generousity and enthusiasm for mission.


The return on this kingdom investment can be seen in the Sunday messages from two of our students Liz Frank and Brent Cohen this past year. They represent the first generation of disciples raised in our Family LIfe Center. Glory to God for the gospel ministry made possible by the decision to build 12 years ago!


If that wasn’t enough miracle for you, how about this: $13,000 received on Christmas Eve for the Power Company Kid’s Club. This was matched by a donor challenge at the Power Company and became $26,000! That’s an awful lot of support for a fantastic gospel ministry to children and youth at risk in Pontiac and Detroit.


If you’re still in doubt, how about this: you raised $2500 and sent a team of 22 people to help one of our own families for Rebuilding Together Day. Then there is the $7500 you raised to build 3 houses in Mexico and the team you are sending there next month. You have generously opened your hearts and your hands for others in the name of Jesus. The Spirit is moving.


Creative and Courageous

We became Thrive Church. We are proud of our heritage as Highland United Methodist and now with excitement we lean into our future as Thrive Church. After 3 years of surveys, focus group conversations, much prayer and research, we chose a name for our congregation . Thrive is drawn directly from our vision statement: We want to be a thriving church where families can discover life together, connecting with God, growing in Spirit and serving generously.


We believe this name will help us connect with our community by describing what we offer--the abundant life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10). We believe it will spur us to shake off complacency and energetically seek the Kingdom.


To further these ends we’ve spent many hours praying and planning for revival in September and the launch of a new kind of small group ministry. We’re calling it “Thrive Groups” which are based on John Wesley’s system of Methodist Class meetings. These groups will emphasize life transformation instead of mere information. Our desire is to coach one another in living the Christian life. Training for leaders begins this month!


A new logo has been created by a dedicated and creative team. They persevered through long discussions about color shades, fonts and graphic arrangements. God bless them all! New road signs are in the stage of active design and planning. Renovations in the lower level of the FLC are also being pursued. I commend you all for daring to do new things and great things for God.


Challenges ahead

The challenges before us are many. We need to overcome the drop in general fund giving we experienced over the summer. We need to follow through on the plans we’ve made for small group ministry, road signs, renovations and reaching new people for Christ.


Sometime in 2022 the United Methodist Church will separate into two bodies: 1)The new Global Methodist Church and 2)what is referred to as the post-separation United Methodist Church. Thrive Church will then have a choice to make about our future denominational direction.


There is no space here to present the differences between these options but I look forward to exploring this with both the FAST team and the congregation in the coming months. It’s an exciting time and I’m more enthusiastic about the renewal and reform of the Methodist movement than ever before. The Spirit is moving! I am blessed to be the first pastor of Thrive Church, and I am blessed to serve such a generous, creative and courageous congregation. Hold fast God's promise:


And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants,

and my blessing on your children.

They will thrive like watered grass,

like willows on a riverbank. (Isaiah 44:4)


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