MOBILIZING LOCAL CHURCHES TO TRANSFORM LIVES AND COMMUNITIES IN THE NAME OF CHRIST
Love INC (Love In the Name of Christ) networks churches across denominational lines and leverages our collective impact to bless those in need in our community. When our local churches, united in the purpose of showing Christ’s love in our community come together, we are a powerful force for transformation: not only to individuals and families, but to the entire community.
Love INC of the Tuscaloosa is a local chapter of a national organization. For more information about the national organization go to 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.
Love INC of Tuscaloosa County is an affiliate of a national organization. Love INC was founded in Michigan in 1977 as a way to encourage churches to become more engaged with the poor and to inspire a greater number of Christians to put their faith to action. Since then, others have duplicated the Love INC model. Today, Love INC has over 150 affiliates in 30 states, representing a network of more than 9,000 churches, 7,000 community agencies, and nearly 300,000 volunteers meeting more than 1 million needs each year.
In 2009, a board of developers was set in place to begin a Love INC affiliate in Tuscaloosa County. This board attended the Love INC National Gathering and in March of 2011, they hired their executive director. The doors of Love INC of Tuscaloosa County opened in July of 2011 with 14 partner churches. We are continuing to add church partners and grow our ministry to serve those in need.
2017 UPDATE COMING SOON
18: the percentage of those living in poverty in Tuscaloosa Co.
23.4: the percentage of children living in poverty in Tuscaloosa Co.
7,490: the number of needs met by Love INC in 2015.
Over 13,600: the number of hours volunteers served at Love INC in 2015.
2,864: families assisted in 2015.
FOR EVERY $1 DONATED $15 IS INVESTED BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY
The Love Inc Difference
Love INC believes in showing the unity of the Body of Christ to the world through local churches working together to serve the community. This unity is about unity of purpose. As traditionally defined, all Christian churches within a community are welcome to participate in the Love INC network. We are united in our purpose of serving and ministering to those in need without allowing theological or social debates to distract from this unity of purpose. The people we serve are watching us; let them see our care, not our contentions.
Love INC is an explicitly Christian organization and ministry. All churches participating in the network of local churches comprising a Love INC affiliate must be Christian as defined traditionally and historically by Christians over the centuries. All staff, board and volunteers of a Love INC affiliate must be professing Christians willing to agree to the Apostles’ Creed, as it has been interpreted historically and traditionally by Christians.
One of the most valuable Kingdom resources we have is prayer. Prayer is integral to who we are and permeates everything we do. Nothing should be initiated without praying first. All Love INC meetings should open with prayer. All Love INC clients should be prayed for (and with if they desire it.) Each workday should start with prayer. As the Apostle Paul said; pray without ceasing.
Love INC is a partnership of churches. Love INC does not and cannot exist without the active involvement churches of the community. A Love INC affiliate is only created when local churches in a community come together. And a Love INC 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 serve. Love INC exists to serve the church.
Just as Love INC cannot exist without local churches, clients 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 those in need in their communities. Love INC staff should not be serving clients – church volunteers should be serving clients. When Love INC staff starts delivering services, Love INC ceases to be Love INC and becomes just another social services agency or para-church ministry.
Love INC is about building relationships with clients and treating them with dignity as creations of God made in the image of God. Our goal is not to just address a perceived need in a transactional fashion, but to take time to enter into relationship with those we serve in order to understand the real needs of the client, build a trusting relationship with the client, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through the church volunteers to initiate both physical and spiritual transformation. This means we take the time to understand the client’s situation and needs, include them in the solution to their need, and always treat them as image bearers of God, their creator.
Although a local Love INC affiliate is its own non-profit entity focused on its mission of mobilizing the local churches in its community, it is part of a larger network of Love INC affiliates around the country and world that we call the Love INC Movement. As part of this Movement, each local affiliate has a responsibility to support it with its prayer, its presence, its gifts, and its service. It supports the Movement by praying for the needs of other affiliates; participating in national, regional, and local gatherings of affiliates, virtual informational meetings and trainings; and giving a small percentage of its financial resources to its national organization so that the Movement can be grown, trained, supported, and coordinated effectively. It supports the Movement by volunteering to serve on the various support teams that comprise its national organization.
Love INC is about providing a hand up and not just a handout. Although there is a time and place for providing handouts, Love INC is not a crisis intervention or disaster relief ministry. Love INC’s primary focus is helping the church transform people’s lives (physically and spiritually) so they can break the dependency cycle they are in. We seek to engage and hold accountable people receiving help, and work with them to strengthen the assets they have and develop new ones that allow them to break the cycle of poverty and dependency they find themselves in. We call this developmental compassion (as opposed to the traditional charity compassion so prevalent in our society today.) As a result, direct financial aid to clients (charity, with little or no relationship) is not a significant component of our ministry.
The foundation of Love INC’s ministry is called the clearinghouse model. In the clearinghouse model, all of the requests for assistance are received, assessed, referred to the most appropriate resource, and followed up on. All additional ministry modes are built upon the systems and information contained within the clearinghouse model. The clearinghouse model is central to (and the center of) how Love INC functions and is able to operate daily. It is the fundamental ministry that touches and coordinates all other ministries.
Love INC exists to mobilize the church, so the church can transform lives and communities in the name of Christ. Love INC’s mission is to mobilize the church, but the ultimate goal is the transformation of the individual, the family, and ultimately 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 it is also about awakening in them a sense of the depth of their spiritual need for Christ.