Love INC Does What Others Cannot
Agencies, charities and government programs can provide a safety net to help those in need, and they offer a valuable service. How other organizations do their work is valid and valuable, and we honor that. But unlike a church, they do not offer the Christlike love that brings hope and lasting transformation to everyone involved. Churches through the network of Love In the Name of Christ have a unique opportunity to serve our neighbors differently.
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. Our ten non-negotiables ensure that the integrity of the vision, mission, and core values of Love INC are maintained.
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 in Jesus’ name. 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.
Just 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.
Our six core principles of Redemptive Compassion:
See everyone’s value.
Invest relationally in others.
Help everyone achieve their God-given potential and capacity.
Require mutual participation and contribution.
Respond with wisdom and discernment.
Serve in ways that ultimately transform.
An affiliate’s foundational ministry is the Clearinghouse, 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.