Love INC was founded in 1977 as a way to encourage churches to become more engaged with people with needs in their community. It was designed to inspire a greater number of Christians to put their faith into action.
Love INC's founder, Dr. Virgil Gulker, was a social worker and outreach director in Holland, Michigan, in the late 1970s. Deeply committed to helping people who found themselves in need and lacking resources or a support network, he was certain God had called Christian churches to the same mission.
As he talked to church members and pastors, Dr. Gulker came to understand that Christians did indeed want to help people who had needs, but they did not know how to do so. Many times people did not even recognize that they were gifted in ways that could have a positive, life-changing impact on someone else's life.
It was clear to Dr. Gulker that if churches were to better serve their communities, they needed leadership, organization, training, encouragement, and prayer. He developed the Love INC model to fill these critical roles. Love INC taught churches to assess their capabilities. It also unified local congregations so that, working together, they could more effectively help their neighbors.
One man's idea for an integrated church ministry in his community inspired Christians in other regions. Other communities duplicated the Love INC model—with its successes—as they sought to meet the needs of hurting individuals and families in their own areas. By the late 1980s, fifty Love INC affiliates were operating in fourteen states.
As the Love INC ministry grew, so did the need for national leadership and support. In 1988, Love INC became an operating department of World Vision U.S., an international Christian relief and development organization, where it remained for the next fifteen years. Under World Vision, Love INC continued to grow throughout the 1990s, and in 2001, Love INC separated from World Vision and again became its own national nonprofit organization.
In early 2011, Love INC completely restructured its operations going to a "virtual" (on-line) office model, significantly reducing its operating costs while providing more timely resources and improving networking among the operating affiliates.
Currently 157 Love INC affiliates in 30 states represent a network of more than 8,600 churches, 9,200 community-based organizations and 100,000 volunteers meeting more than 1,680,000 needs last year.