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.

5 Tips to Strengthen Relationships

young women at park

God established the idea of community in the Garden of Eden, and this theme is woven throughout the Bible. But if relationships are so foundational to Christian life, why do we often struggle with them? There is no easy answer, but we can take some steps to improve and invest in our friendships.

Transform your mind-set. Instead of seeing relationships as time-consuming or difficult, consider how they can enrich your life. Since American culture places such a large emphasis on timeliness and productivity, it is easy to forget to make time for others. To change this mind-set, it is helpful to remember that God sees each person as precious and worthy. When developing relationships, it is essential to embrace this mentality. People are important, and spending time in fellowship with others helps you learn and grow.

Be present. When you spend time with people, remove distractions. Put your phone away, and try to go somewhere without TVs or loud music. Slowing down and unplugging from technology allows you to engage in the current moment and demonstrates respect for your relationship.

“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.

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.

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.

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

Missions at Easter

It is a blessing to be a part of what God is doing in missions through WMU. As we prepare for the season of remembering Christ at Easter, we know the power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is at work in our world today. We are drawn to love, to be light, to reach out, to share Christ, and to overcome darkness in His name. This is missions. This is our call.

I love that the offering for North American missions received at this time of year is named for Annie Armstrong. Miss Annie lived out the call of the gospel. She was a force of God’s love and power in Southern Baptist life in 1888, when she helped begin WMU.

Her biography illustrates her belief in the power of the gospel and the strength of cooperating together. She believed steadfastly in the important role of women in God’s kingdom, to serve and use their gifts for God’s glory. She loved the vulnerable and sought to go the extra mile to see God’s work accomplished. She is known for her untiring work for immigrants in Baltimore, where she lived; for Native Americans; and for women missionaries such as Lottie Moon in China.

Showing and Telling the Gospel

“What was it like growing up with the boy Jesus?”

My home church pastor posed that question as I listened to his sermon via live stream from the comfort of my bedroom a few thousand miles away.

It’s an interesting thought, being one of Jesus’ brothers or friends when He was a kid, before His ministry started. Being the friend or sibling of someone Who was always perfect, Whose words always matched His actions, was probably not an easy thing.

Making our own words and actions match isn’t easy either. Because we’re striving to be more like Jesus daily but still going to sin sometimes, we’re prone to mess up and show the people we’re trying to share with that we don’t always reflect the gospel.

Despite the mess-ups we have, isn’t that the message of the gospel? We are imperfect people striving to love a perfect God, which is made possible by the One Who knew no sin, the One Whose words and actions always communicated the gospel.

Excuses, Excuses

Every day God gives us opportunities to share His love with people around us. But how often do we walk right past these open doors? If you are anything like me, then you have a million reasons for missing these opportunities that you wrap up in pretty little packages with bows on top.

But in the end, these fancy explanations are just excuses. We have to recognize them for what they are and learn to overcome them.

Here are some common excuses I recognize in my life:


What will people think about me if I share the gospel with them? Will it be awkward? What if they reject me?

Well, it turns out these are all the wrong questions. My natural tendency is to focus on how I am affected by an interaction rather than thinking about how God can be glorified through it. In these situations, I am continually reminded to shift my focus to God.

Showing Love by Sharing the Gospel

Raising a 2-year-old toddler has raised quite a lot of parenting discussions in our home.

Two-year-olds need a lot of guidance for life. They need a lot of patience from their parents. And they need a lot of love and comfort to know they are secure.

We will teach our girl many things as she grows in our home over the next 16 years until we send her out.

But what if I failed to tell her that we love her? What if I skipped over teaching her a basic concept like brushing her teeth? What would happen if I never shared with her how to eat properly and healthily, how to be kind to others, or how to take care of herself?

Many would question my love for her. Raising children means loving them. Loving them means teaching them fully how to live.

Sharing the gospel with others is not much different.


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