Why We Are Different
This heart represents why we are different.
The heart represents the love of God for all. Its unfinished edges remind us of Love INC’s grassroots, relational approach to ministry that engenders transformation in us and the people we serve. The Cross represents the foundation of the Christian Church and the unifying force of the Love INC Movement; the heartbeat of God’s love for us. The Cross is our hope for both the present and the future. The colors remind us of God’s redemptive and transforming love. Purple is a color symbolic of redemption. Red represents the blood of Jesus and the love of Christ – the supreme sacrifice He made for all of us. The entire Love INC image signifies the love we have for God, His Church, each other, and people in need.
This love identifies us, determines how we serve others, and makes us who we are.
Our Strategy Is Different
Love INC is different and not easy to define and articulate to others in a few words. Often people think they understand what Love INC is after hearing a little about it. But Love INC is different.
In order 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 distinguish 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.
Love In the Name of Christ’s 10 Distinguishing Indicators
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 Apostles’ Creed, as it has been interpreted historically and traditionally by Christians, and its Statement on Scripture.
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.
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 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.”
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. And an affiliate ceases to be a Love INC 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.
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 in their communities. Love INC affiliate staff are not to serve people in need; rather, church volunteers serve them.
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.
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.
An affiliate’s foundational ministry is the Clearinghouse 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.
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.
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.
Love INC is different because this ministry:
Assists churches in going beyond benevolence to building life-changing relationships.
Verifies that each request for assistance is legitimate so that churches can be good stewards.
Helps churches avoid creating dependency in people they assist by solving root causes of problems.
Lessens the strain on any one church by building a network of churches to work together to meet needs.
Provides a more cost-effective approach by sharing resources and mobilizing church volunteers to serve.
Demonstrates unity in the Body of Christ as churches come together to help their neighbors in need.
Offers a powerful witness as churches fulfill God’s command to proactively love their neighbors.
Connects unchurched people to churches as they are loved and served by Christians who care.
Love INC Does What Others Cannot
Agencies, charities and government programs can provide a safety net to help those in need, and offer a valuable service. But they do not offer the Christlike love that brings hope and lasting transformation to everyone involved as churches through Love In the Name of Christ do.
A Thought About Transformation
“It is true, tragically so, that people can serve others in need and undergo no transformation. Likewise it is true, tragically so, that the persons being served can undergo no transformation either. The exchange of “services” is reduced to a transaction and the assistance rendered has been reduced to a commodity.
“All such activity can be passed and quantified and look good while at the same time serving only to dehumanize all parties involved.
“People in need are by no means passive and inanimate material things. Vulnerability is no small matter. It makes one feel insecure, unsafe, awkward, and on the verge of being inept. People in need are especially vulnerable because they have no resources, no patrons to speak of, no clout.
“On the other hand, those with resources are also vulnerable since few, if any, such persons know how to be guests of people in need, feel guilty at receiving from them, and often are fearful of hospitality because it means sharing in good that go beyond material resources. The vulnerability comes in part because the provider, who is capable of being a patron, wonders what he or she has in common with people in need.
“If left at that point, transformation is precluded and giving becomes an exchange of commodities. In effect, no dialogue, no transformation.
“Let’s start small. Suppose one couple provides transportation for the child of a needy family to attend a congregation’s preschool on a scholarship. Think of the conversations – like surrogate grandparents. Then let’s suppose the single parent wants to say, “thank you” by inviting the couple in for coffee. Now the drivers are guests, if they say, “yes.” The single parent, the host, is in the position of “power” by being the “provider.” Then and there dialog is waiting to happen and both parties are vulnerable to transformation.
“The key is meeting, seeking a way to meet and be meet, seeking to be “evangelized” by the other who one might have thought had nothing to offer.
“Read the story of Christ’s encounter with the Samaritan woman (John 4), asking her for a cup of water. Read the dialog that follows. The transformation of the woman stems from the capacity of the Sent One from God to be a guest – not a ruse, but a guest. Jesus was thirsty. He was not patronizing but He became her patron.
“All real living is meeting – even for Jesus.”
–Thoughts taken from “Meditations on the Core Values” by Dr. John Weborg