Rev. Todd Marlin
As we prepare to conclude calendar year 2020 at the end of this month, we’ve asked our pastors to answer the question: What did you see in 2020, and what did you learn from it? The fifth pastor to answer that question for us is Rev. Todd Marlin, Pastor of Independence Hill Baptist Church. Here is what he has seen this year:
The events of this past year have challenged my life and ministry in ways that I could not have imagined. But the common thread that runs through both areas is relationships.
The pandemic gave our family a gift. We will never have the opportunity to spend that amount of time under the same roof again. The Marlins ate a home cooked dinner at our table every day for a month. That had never happened in the history of our family. We planned and pulled off a wedding. 2020 focused our love and care for one another in our home.
At church, relationships rose to the forefront. This season has necessitated the need for more phone calls and porch visits than I’ve done in all my ministry. When services and programing change overnight, it reveals the need to be intentional about creating community.
Regardless of what ministry looks like moving forward, I will not take for granted the need for building relationships and community in each and every thing we do.
Taking a cue from Pastor Todd’s reflections on relationships, consider the relationships that you need to be keenly aware of as we conclude 2020 and prepare for 2021. Please use this checklist as a personal development tool sometime before the end of the year or just as the new year begins.
- My relationship with God: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit – am I where I need to be with my Lord as I prepare to conclude what may have been the most challenging year of my life? Am I spending the quality and quantity time needed to be close to the Lord who loves me? Find a way to increase your time with God on a daily basis – a great time to start that is January 1.
- My relationship with my spouse (if married) – am I being the husband/wife that I need to be, giving all that is needed to care for my mate? Are we spending quality time together? Find a way to let your spouse know how much you love them. Be creative.
- My relationship with my family – find time to spend with your children, grandchildren, any other family members that you need to be closer to than you have been. Call, visit, email – stay in touch.
- My relationship with my church – 2020 has been a challenging year, but we can still be actively connected with our church families. Find ways to strengthen those important relationships in the Body.
- My relationship with my neighbors – you may be the only Christian your neighbor knows. Ask God to help you build discipling relationships with your neighbors as the new year begins.
- My relationships with my friends – Remember how important those connections with friends are and can be. Find ways to pray, care, and share – you may not know this side of heaven how important these relationships are. Make the most of them in the days ahead.