We Are About Relationships

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Tim and Heather O’Dell

Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin, TNTim and Heather O’Dell both grew up in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest/Seattle area. They moved to this area when Tim was transferred from Southern California with the Nissan North America Headquarters relocation. Tim is senior manager of Nissan America Purchasing, and Heather, previously a teacher for kindergarten through sixth grade, is now a homemaker and stays at home with their three children — Jack, 5, Avery, 3 and Sofija, 1. Jack is in preschool and is involved in baseball, basketball and choir and plays guitar. Avery enjoys ballet, tap, choir and gymnastics. Sofija is home with Heather and “loves her siblings and loves going with the flow.”

Members of Christ UMC since 2006, the O’Dells first were invited to the church for a Christmas Eve service by their neighbors, Kevin and Debbie Crook. “We later found out that the church had been praying for us for months before this point. That immediately made us feel wanted and needed,” the couple said.

At church, both are members of the Administrative Council. Heather is a small youth group leader, helps lead the Youth Praise Band, co-directs the third-sixth grade children’s choir, is a member of the Celebration Singers (adult choir), and is chairperson of the Children’s Ministry Team. She also attends the Friday morning women’s Bible study.

Both enjoy spending time with their children, singing, hiking, camping, reading, history, traveling and the arts. Tim also likes landscaping, sports, woodworking and outdoor activities, and Heather enjoys cooking and her church volunteer work. Both became heavily involved with church through youth group experiences. A youth leader was the spark for Heather.

“It was at that point that I felt the love of Christ enter my heart,” she said. She became a junior high youth group leader while in college, and she believes Christ led her to Christ UMC to continue working with youth and with the church as a whole. Although Heather says her faith journey began in high school, she understands God’s presence has been with her even earlier.

“I know that Christ has been with me my whole life, through the trials and through the gloriously happy times. All have been blessings from God. I especially feel this now upon my reflections of my childhood and early adult life,” she said.

Tim’s relationship with Christ “clicked” at a Young Life gathering and led him to become a Young Life leader for many years. “At this point I became an advocate for Christ and not just a participant in events,” he said.

What do you like best about Christ UMC?
From the moment we walked into Christ UMC, we felt welcomed for who we were and felt as though we could easily make a connection within the church. We have also discovered that Christ UMC is not just a church, it’s a family. We have met and become close with so many small groups and families and look forward to a lifetime of Christ-centered relationships.

What does “We Are About Relationships” mean to you?
To us “We Are About Relationships” means establishing a “family” of spiritual and daily support with the people that we meet at Christ UMC, and in both the giving and receiving of this support, we all grow as Christians and make Christ’s family stronger. Our family is thousands of miles away, and our church family is helping to grow us and our children. We met a Baptist minister, who married us, and he really broke it down simply for us and it has stuck with us since:

1. Relationship with a community of Christ (aka coming to church and experiencing the joy of fellowship).

2. Relationship in a small group (aka people to hold you accountable and bring you through joys and sorrows).

3. Personal relationship with Christ (aka prayer).

Relationships in our family and the family of Christ UMC are multi-faceted.