What is Love INC? (In the Name of Christ)
Mission: to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities in the Name of Christ.
Vision: to see Christian churches united in purpose and fully engaged in actively living out their faith by lovingly serving people in need in their communities.
Love in the Name of Christ is a volunteer based proven model that brings local churches, church volunteers, and community organizations together to respond to needs in our community. Our core values, rooted in our Christian faith and the holistic, Biblically-based principles of Redemptive Compassion, are designed to strengthen the faith of both our volunteers and the people we serve so together we become a living sign of our Lord’s love and compassion. Love INC volunteers enter into a relationship with their neighbors in need, not just responding with transactional charity to a crisis or need, but responding in developmental compassion and mutual support. The relationships developed through the Love INC ministry create “Love Stories” for both our volunteers and neighbors in need. We believe that lives are transformed when we deepen our faith and find commonality in these relationships. Love INC transforms our community through personal actions and social justice advocacy taken by our committed volunteers.
Founded in 1977, today there are more than 134 Love INC affiliates in 30 states, representing a network of more than 9,000 churches, 7,000 community-based organizations, and 300,000 volunteers meeting more than one million needs each year. The Love INC National Movement assists communities in developing new affiliates and supports existing affiliates by providing training, technical assistance, marketing support, networking opportunities, and best practices. www.loveinc.org
- We are Christian. Everything we think, say, and do is in the name of Christ.
- Prayer is an integral part of who we are.
- We follow Christ’s example of valuing the poor and needy.
- We value unity of the Body of Christ.
- We value transformation in the lives of people and communities.
- We value churches living out the two great commandments to love God and love their neighbors.
- We value building Christ-like relationships.
- We value the connectedness of the Love INC movement.
- We model excellence.
- We value continually maturing in our capacity to meet people’s needs.
How It Works
The heart of Love INC is the Help Center (Clearinghouse), where resource navigators receive requests, assess the need, make referrals for help and follow up insuring that needs were connected with resources. Through the Help Center, Love INC identifies gaps in services and resources in the community, and helps churches develop ministries to fill the gaps. Gap ministries are available for assignment to interested member churches. These include minor home repair, budget mentoring, lullaby baby ministry, personal care pantry, car repair and more.
How We're Different
To help people better grasp how Love INC is different from other ministries, we have identified ten key areas that define a Love INC affiliate’s ministry. They clarify what this ministry is and distinguishes it from others. How other organizations do their ministry is valid and valuable, and we honor that, but we do ministry differently because we are called to do it differently. Our ten non-negotiables ensure that the integrity of the vision, mission and core values of Love INC are maintained throughout the Movement.
10 Distinguishing Indicators:
- Christian: Love INC is an explicitly Christian organization and ministry. All churches participating in an affiliate’s ministry must be Christian as defined traditionally and historically by Christians over the centuries. All staff, board and volunteers of an affiliate must be willing to agree with the faith as described in the Apostle’s Creed,as it has been interpreted historically and traditionally by Christians.
- Unity: Love INC believes in local churches working together to address needs in their community. This demonstrates a unity of purpose – showing the Love of Christ to a hurting world – not a unity of theology. Participation in an affiliate requires each church and each volunteer to be gracious to every other church and volunteer. When involved in Love INC, Christians are united in the purpose of serving and ministering to people in need in the community and do not allow theological or social debates to distract from this unity of purpose.
- Prayer: One of the most valuable Kingdom resources Christians have is prayer. Prayer is integral to the Love INC ministry and permeates everything done by Love INC. We believe that nothing should be initiated without first praying. All Love INC meetings should open and conclude with prayer. All people served should be prayed for (and with, if they desire it). Each workday should start with prayer. As the Apostle Paul said, “Pray without ceasing.”
- Churches: A Love INC affiliate is a partnership of churches, not a partnership with churches. The affiliate does not and cannot exist without churches actively involved. A Love INC affiliate is only created when local churches in a community come together to initiate the process. An affiliate ceases to be a Love INC entity when local churches are no longer actively involved. Love INC is church-driven and exists only to aid the churches in mobilizing their members to demonstrate Christ’s love in practical ways.
- Volunteers: As an affiliate cannot exist without local churches, neighbors with needs cannot be served without church volunteers. Love INC’s role is to help churches mobilize their members to live out their faith through service to people in need. Love INC affiliate staff are not to serve people in need; rather, church volunteers serve them.
- Relationships: Each Love INC affiliate values building relationships with neighbors in need, viewing them as people who have great value and worth to God. An affiliate’s goal is not to address a perceived need in a mere transactional fashion; rather, it is to take time to enter into relationship with people to understand real needs, build trust, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through church volunteers to initiate material and spiritual transformation. This means an affiliate invests time to gain understanding and respectfully includes each person in the solution to their need, treating them as image bearers of God.
- Developmental Compassion: Although there is a time and place for providing relief assistance (for example, in crisis and disaster relief situations), a Love INC affiliate is not an emergency response, crisis intervention or disaster relief ministry. An affiliate’s primary focus is helping churches transform people’s lives (physically and spiritually). It seeks to work with people in need to strengthen the assets they have and develop new ones. For people stuck in hopelessness and dysfunction, this approach empowers them to break the cycle of dependency. We call this developmental compassion. As a result, direct financial aid to clients (with little or no relationship) is not a significant component of an affiliate’s ministry.
- Help Center: An affiliate’s foundational ministry is the clearinghouse (link) mode, where requests for assistance are received, assessed, referred to the most appropriate resource, and followed up on. From the Clearinghouse comes inspiration and recruitment of church volunteers. All additional ministry modes are built upon the systems and information developed in the Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is central to how a Love INC affiliate functions. It is the fundamental ministry that touches and coordinates all other ministries.
- Transformation: The Love INC affiliate exists to mobilize local Christian churches, so these churches (through volunteers and ministries) can transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. Love INC’s ultimate goal is the transformation of the individual, the family, and the community. Transformation involves both a physical component and a spiritual component. It is not just about changing an individual’s or family’s physical circumstances, but also about awakening in them (through the Holy Spirit working through Christians) a sense of the depth of Christ’s love for them.
- Connectedness: Although a local Love INC affiliate is its own entity (a non-profit organization, governed by its own Board of Directors), it is part of a larger network of Love INC affiliates around the country and around the world. This network of affiliates is called the Love INC Movement. The Love INC National organization serves the Love INC Movement and facilitates its connectedness.