Meet Pastor Joe Marlin and family.
Before planting Epiphany Church we spent the past four years as missionaries in Rwanda (Central Africa) till the Lord brought us home to the U.S. for the health of our sweet daughter. That is how we ended up buying a home in Gloucester City the end of May 2016. We thank God our daughter has gotten excellent care at CHOP and has recovered amazingly.
In Rwanda, I mentored and trained rural pastors in their own language with Africa Inland Mission. Before that, I served as the Pastor of Mercy Ministries at Liberti Church East and as an Associate Pastor at Calvary Bible Church while living in West Kensington for ten years. We also spent a year serving as the Pastor of Community life at Epiphany Fellowship of Camden.
Minister in Training
Dylan Lebakken along with his wife have been making disciples out of youth in hard places since they met. “We feel so called to the mission we are on now because I used to be in the same spot as some of those who we minister to. God planted a seed in my heart when I was 16 through an urban missionary who took It upon himself to invest in me. By 19 years old I had destroyed my reputation and almost my life through an extremely rebellious lifestyle that resulted in my removal from a high school, endless partying, and drug use. The same seed that helped me to realize that I had lost everything and had no future, also told me that I could have new life if I trusted in Jesus. After rock bottom, that same urban missionary trained me up to be a young, mature, responsible, servant of Jesus. He taught me how to follow Jesus and Jesus brought me from nothing, into new life with him. I was one of those kids who was told he wasn’t going to be anything, so we want them to have a place where they can hear that Jesus has a purpose for their lives. We want to give their families a solid foundation on which to build their lives.”
In the past ten years, they have seen God transform the lives of young people in Dylan’s hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, then in Camden, NJ, and now in Gloucester City, NJ. Since they have been in Gloucester City, they have seen teenagers with challenging backgrounds come to Christ, be baptized, and be given a new family in Jesus’ church. This is the result of God placing it on their hearts to pioneer a comprehensive youth ministry strategy that reaches ages 0-18, in their church at Epiphany Gloucester City. This strategy includes high school outreach, middle school outreach, elementary outreach, a free 4 weeklong summer camp, Sunday school, youth group, and bible studies for both young boys and girls. Their passion in this is that more families would be baptized and become life-long members of the Church.
Locally, Dylan Lebakken is known in Gloucester City as a Youth Pastor where he is looking to be officially ordained in February of 2022. He has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a focus on Social Policy from Duquesne University and has recently competed his Master of Divinity at Columbia International University. Dylan and his wife Tayler of 8 years currently reside in Gloucester City with their 3 children (ages 5, 3 and 10 mo.).