Sunday, 18 February 2018

C Columns

LOVE INC Anniversary: Local Churches impacting lives with love

By Kimbra Shaw

Love in the Name of Christ helps churches help people; it’s a cooperative ministry of more than 48 local churches networking together to meet real needs and help families get back on their feet.

People in need are a priority in the Bible. Churches feel the mandate to care for the poor and those in need. But doing it alone can be overwhelming. Agencies and organizations have fostered a “crisis management” approach, and anti­poverty spending through our government has surged to $843 billion (https://budget.house.gov/initiatives/war­on­poverty/); yet roughly 15 percent of the population in the U.S. is living below the poverty line and real median household income is not keeping pace.

The Love INC movement started 40 years ago in Holland, Michigan, when pastors and leaders thought, “There’s got to be a better way to help people.” They created a groundbreaking solution that absolutely changed the way we meet needs. They created a clearinghouse model to match needs with resources, and equipped the church to go beyond giving out stuff to giving a hand up and investing relationally in the lives of those they serve.

Today there are over 130 affiliates across the country, and Love INC Boise is celebrating 10 years of “Impacting Lives with Love!” Volunteers in our clearinghouse take an average of 120 calls for assistance each month. They listen to each story, verify the needs and then connect families with resources to help them work through their need.

We’ve seen tremendous growth in local churches getting engaged. In the last four years, the number of partner churches has doubled and so has their impact. Last year, churches logged more than 7,200 volunteer hours and delivered over $118,000 in products and services to 1,600families through Love INC Boise. And they’re on track to exceed that this year.

Many of those services go through the Abundant Living program, where volunteers from 18 churches come together once a week and serve as teachers, mentors and budget counselors, teaching God’s principles for how to handle money effectively. The transformation we see is awe­inspiring. Since 2014, graduates average paying down $7,000 in debt while they are in the program. More importantly, they are given the tools that strengthen families and create long­term sustainable solutions.

New classes start every month and enrollment is free. This January, we're introducing:

• The Road Map – A course on planning, setting and achieving goals and objectives for the year. Doing WITH people, not to them or for them but with them...that’s what helping churches help people looks like. As people begin to believe and see themselves the way God sees them, they move from being in need to being part of the solution.

• Going the Extra Mile – Creating long­term family sustainability takes time. It takes commitment to relationship and it takes people on the front line — those called to serve and those called to give. Monthly donors share our passion to help families stop relying on crisis management and help churches invest in solutions that impact lives with love.

To become a giving partner or to learn more about getting involved, you may contact us through our website at www.boiseloveinc.org.

To celebrate our 10­-year anniversary, Love INC Boise is holding an Impacting Lives BenefitDinner on February 22 at Vineyard Boise. In addition to dinner, Grammy­ and Dove­nominated artist Honi Deaton and Dream will be performing. We’re lining up special guests to showcase how the church, through Love INC, has been impacting the lives of those in need andsharing the vision for the next 10 years. Seating is limited so get your tickets early through the website.

Kimbra Shaw is executive director of Love INC Boise.

Christian Living Magazine

Email:

boisechristianliving@gmail.com

Phone: 208-703-7860