Most church leaders and other committed Christians I meet want to serve and impact their community. And, most community leaders I meet recognize numerous needs and problems in the community. So, the problem is connecting the church’s energy and resources to the greatest needs in the community.
One great way to solve this dilemma is through a clearinghouse ministry. Such ministries build relationships with numerous churches on one side, build relationships with community leaders and organizations on the other and then connects the two.
For example, most churches and especially church leaders are not equipped to or do not have the margin to provide a full-service food bank, monitor charitable efforts for fraud or abuse, help individuals in a strategic way so that assistance is a “hand up” rather than a “hand out” and give ongoing training on basic issues such as budgeting and parenting. This is where a clearinghouse ministry is invaluable.
I was recently introduced to Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) of Greater Hancock County, which is a part of a national movement of similar clearinghouse ministries across the US and abroad. Karla Whisenand, the Executive Director of Love Inc, and Saundra Box, the Clearinghouse Coordinator, recently joined me on the podcast to explain their ministry and how churches in other communities can reproduce this effort. These two are a dynamic duo, and I was so blessed by their love for Christ and the joy with which they serve their community!
- Love INC’s description of its ministry: a collaboration between local churches and their community (agencies, ministries, government, schools) to provide effective help for the disadvantaged.
- How Love Inc encourages churches to work together
- Why Love Inc does not focus on giving out financial assistance
- Why many individual’s felt needs are not their greatest needs and why a comprehensive response to such needs is the best response (for example, a call for a free mattress probably signals inability to find work, lack of budgeting skills, etc.)
- Great stories about Love Inc helping individuals in Greenfield.
- Karla discusses how she led the ministry while fighting a personal battle with cancer and discusses an amazing answer to prayer!
Love INC operates in Hancock County, a county of about 75,000 just east of Indianapolis. Here are some recent stats showing the ministries impact in a year:
- Number of Calls received and processed: 1,087
- Numbers of Needs expressed by callers: 1,530
- Numbers of Church Referrals: 874
- Needs satisfied through Acts of Service: 198
- Needs satisfied through Product Ministries: 1,400
- Needs satisfied with Financial Assistance: $37,054
- Number of Volunteers: Over 1,700
- Volunteer Hours (estimated): Over 6,600