Richland Pastor Challenges Congregation

February 01, 2004 | Anita Lebold

Keith Hanson is making a career change that is based on conviction and faith. Hanson found that he was being led to additional service focused on ministry to children and youth. He worked with the conference office, local churches and church school to establish a part-time position as the area youth pastor.

It took quite a leap of faith to make the change from a full-time position with the conference to a part-time position that is financially supported by the local constituents. But Hanson felt that God was leading him to make this move.

For the last six years Hanson has been the pastor of the Richland (Wash.) Church. In that position he has emphasized the importance of ministering to children and youth. He championed the development of a summer camp program called "Camp Safari" that employed young people and provided a place where children could learn about Jesus in a fun and safe environment. His wife, Linda, focused on organizing family outings such as hikes, canoeing and other activities so that children would have enriching experiences on Sabbath afternoons. He challenged members of the congregation to identify their spiritual gifts and rely on the strength of God to step out in faith and use their gifts in the service of the Lord.

Even though Hanson has changed his ministry focus, his challenge continues to positively impact the Richland Church. Church leaders have been spurred on by his challenge and are moving forward in the strength of the Lord as He leads them in their areas of ministry.