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The Best is Yet To Come

By Pastor Tom Anderson

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your support, prayers and kindness to Karen and me over the last 8 years. Thank you for being such an amazing congregation–it’s been a joy to be Pastor here! To God be the glory for all that we have accomplished together. When we arrived in Highland, Karen was recovering from cancer surgery.  She was  beginning a grueling daily routine of radiation therapy in Ann Arbor. You opened your hearts and brought wonderful meals to us night after night. It’s one of our first and fondest memories of this church.

During that first summer here, I was honored to lead Bob and Bev Spear in the renewal of their vows for their 50th wedding anniversary! It was an emblem of the love, commitment and loyalty to Christ that we’ve always seen in Thrive.The best results of our ministry together are all in the next world. Together we’ve sent on before us some wonderful saints: Martha Schwaninger, Joe Waldron, Jim Beal and Jim Kettinger just to name a few. These are storied leaders and servants of Christ among us.

Over the last eight years approximately 150 people have confessed Christ in front of the altar in the worship center–Including Vince, Holly and Lia Meyer as recently as just 2 weeks ago! We have begun new ministries like American Heritage Girls, Trail Life, Thrive Groups, and the drive-through live Nativity. Our financial support for missions like the Mexico Mission, Power Company, Key of Hope and Blessings in a Backpack has been off the charts! It warms my heart to think of the generosity and compassion of Thrive! I treasure the pillow that Selza from Rio Bravo made for me using the sewing machine we bought for her! What miraculous stories of love we can tell from the last years here!

We’ve had our challenges: finding new musical leadership and, finding new youth leadership. The ride got bumpy but God brought Randy Pellet to us and he’s taken us to a new level of worship.Then there was 2020–a year most church leaders would like to forget. Let’s just say it plain: it stunk. COVID ended in-person gatherings and stressed out many of our ministries. But the miracle was we were prepared to go live on YouTube with our services just before the lockdown. Our online congregation has now grown to 316 subscribers on YouTube!

Another miracle during COVID was this: we paid off our building loan for the Family Life Center. When I came here in 2016 we owed $1.3 million on the FLC but by 2021 it was all paid off. It was an act of God! Thank you for letting the Holy Spirit work through you all!

In eight years, we built the pole barn, renovated our worship center, renovated the fellowship area, reroofed both the parsonage and the main church building with volunteers. But my favorite memory was installing a new water heater in the parsonage with my good friend Jim Kettinger. Let the record show we made only one trip to the hardware store–and that was only before we started the project!

After several years of conversation we gave a name to our church in 2018. We became Thrive Church, inspired by the words of Jesus, “I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) In 2023 we joined the new Global Methodist Church. We’re now part of a worldwide movement of 7000 congregations and growing. It is an exciting time to be a follower of Christ. I believe God is going to move in a powerful way and Thrive will reach new people for Christ in this generation.

Karen and I retire to Escanaba. Our first job will be to find a church where we expect to worship, volunteer and serve. Our children will be close by as well as many blue-ribbon trout streams. We want to take our camper west to see the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders. Our son Craig will be getting married this August and he and his fiancee Lea along with our daughter Sarah will be here for May 19. Our new mailing address is 5740 Birch O.1 street, Gladstone, MI 49837. Email and cell stay the same.

When you are walking with the Lord, there is one thing we can all be certain of:the best is yet to come. We love you and God bless you all!


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