Create Space for Relationships

Loosening Our Grip on Time for the Gospel

young woman holding pocket watch

One of the first differences you learn about when you’re living in a different culture is how people value time.

In the United States, we love schedules and strictly adhere to them. We spend money on agendas and apps that will help us manage our time. We make sure we’re on time for meetings and lunch dates with friends, because being late says we don’t value other people’s time.

South Asia, on the other hand, is completely different. Being late is OK, whether just a few minutes or a few hours. Things don’t always start at the time they’re scheduled. Getting from one place to another on time is a daily challenge due to traffic in some places.

South Asians don’t value their relationships any less because they’re late or because they see time differently. In fact, they might value them more than Americans. For them, spending time with people, no matter the hour or what they have going on later in the day, is important.

As followers of Jesus, spending time with people should be just as important to us. No matter our culture, people whom we’re close with but who are far from a relationship with Jesus should be those we are investing in regularly.

Sacred Space: Margin in Motherhood

mom and daughter playing

When I was in my early 20s, I stayed busy all the time. If I had downtime, then I felt lazy. Each hour of each day was planned and filled accordingly.

The main issue with this is that each hour of each day filled to the brim leaves little room for interruptions. When we are in relationships with people, interruptions happen. When we have children, more and more and more interruptions occur.

After living in a South Asian culture where relationships take priority over everything and then having 2 babies, I have learned that not every hour of every day needs to be planned in such a way that I cannot allow for interruptions.

It’s in these interruptions that I have found some of the deepest relationships, the most treasured memories with my children, and gospel-centered conversations simply because I was able to add a little margin in my schedule and life to welcome a disruption.

When You Just Can’t Seem to Find the Time for Relationships

young woman checking watch

Relationships are one of the greatest gifts God has given us. God has created us to be relational beings—first in a relationship with Him and then in relationship with each other. Relationships bring blessing and joy into our lives and provide us with the love and support we have been designed to need. But often we find ourselves struggling to balance deep friendships and the busyness of life. Consider these 3 practical ways to make time for relationships.

Recommend a reoccurrence.

Relationships deepen as we regularly walk through life together. A great way to do this is to set fixed times so that every week (or month) at this particular time you know you will be meeting. Ask a friend or group of friends to meet regularly with you, even if those meetings are at odd times. The scheduling may be difficult, but the payoff will be great.

Mobilize the mundane.

Make it Personal: Build Relationships with Refugees

Headline news reports daily showcase the worldwide refugee crisis. Governments pass laws to deal with influxes of homeless internationals. Communities struggle to find solutions to growing multicultural populations. Neighbors voice conflicting opinions. What should believers do in the face of such turmoil?

Sure, we care about the refugee issue. But how can we change caring about the issue to caring for the refugee? Instead of being overwhelmed with current events, let’s allow God to use us to reach the nations, one person at a time, right in our own backyards.

Ways to Create Space for Relationships

Physical Space

“Race” to Reach Your Community with a Missional Scavenger Hunt

In The Amazing Race, competing teams travel around the world to complete challenges in their pursuit of the $1 million grand prize. Plan an Amazing Race–style scavenger hunt to energize your missions group and reach out to your community.

Divide your group into teams (3–5 people is ideal). Give each team a list of challenges to complete within the time frame of the game. Teams should start with the required task and then choose which optional ones they will complete. The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner (recognize the winning team at a church service or with a small prize).

Ready, set, go! Blow a whistle to send teams on their way. Play music to create a race day atmosphere.

Mission Scavenger Hunt

Assign 1 person to be the scorekeeper for the game. Instruct each team to select a team member to serve as reporter and send a photo of the team completing each challenge to the scorekeeper. Distribute the scorekeeper’s contact information (mobile number, email, Facebook messenger, etc.) to reporters.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Week of Prayer for North American Missions missionaries

It’s in our DNA as Southern Baptists to pull together as a community of believers and spread the gospel.

In the 1880s, Annie Armstrong pioneered the Maryland Mission Rooms, a missions literature library that detailed and circulated information regarding vital needs on the missions field. Armstrong called for women’s groups throughout the United States to pool their “egg money” and prayers for missions. Women knew that by combining their efforts, they could make an impact.

It might be 2018, but the goal remains the same. The Annie Armstrong Easter Offering enables North American missionaries to plant new churches, care for those in the community, and reach the lost all across the United States, Canada, and their territories. It is one of the most unique cooperative offerings in that 100% of the gifts go to support and equip missionaries.

No Longer Alone

“Our work is all about building relationships,” Kandi Ostertag said. She, husband Matt, and children Kaitlyn and Mckenzie have served in Guadalajara, Mexico, for 10 years. They lead a team of International Mission Board (IMB) church planting missionaries in the Bajío (central highlands of Mexico). They also encourage and help Mexican church planters as needed.

The Bajío covers a large area. As a result, many house/simple churches planted by the IMB and national partners over the last several years feel alone. Kandi Ostertag said the church plants often feel like “the ugly duckling and different from everyone else.” Since they differ so much from traditional churches, the house/simple churches’ sense of isolation can grow intense.         

To help overcome such feelings, the Ostertags host retreats and other events for these churches. Those activities allow church members to “get away from everything and have time with the Lord.” They also foster prayer support, encouragement, and friendships.

Back to Top