Love INC, through local churches, seeks to transform the lives of people in need through caring relationships and classes/training opportunities. Love INC organizes and equips church members from across many denominations to lead courses and/or walk alongside (mentor) people in need for a set time period (usually 1 to 3 months) in order to help them acquire one or more skills and move toward self-sufficiency. These courses can be accompanied by material support and special access to Gap Ministry resources (incentives or rewards, such as gasoline vouchers), depending upon how the affiliate structures them. In addition these courses will typically have goal setting, and some level of accountability incorporated into them.
Read the Waynesboro News Virginian’s excellent article describing our Loving Your Neighbor Program HERE.
We offer classes in our “Loving Your Neighbor Program” on Thursday evenings (6p-8p) throughout the year to “Neighbors-in-need” in our community who express an interest in the classes. They may, or may not, have called regarding another need, but have applied for and committed to a 12-week session of classes. These sessions normally take 13-15 weeks, depending on holidays, snow days, and our normal break at the the halfway point in each session. It is quite a commitment, and once completed, each Neighbor feels a sense of accomplishment and renewed hope.
We begin each Thursday night by sitting down to dinner together, prepared and served by a volunteer group in our community (church, small group, etc.). After dinner, classes begin. Our prerequisite class is entitled “New Image” and prepares each Neighbor for the life-change that is occurring or is about to occur in their life. It helps them examine some false narratives that they have been living under… beliefs about themselves, about God, and about others that are simply not true and don’t line up with God’s Word. They discover God’s love and the love we feel toward them. We stress building relationships with each Neighbor. The class, in one word, is transformational! It is amazing to see how lives have been changed by the power of God’s love.
After graduating from New Image, Neighbors are then eligible to take other classes which we offer, which currently include “Making Sense with Your Money” (Financial Management), Parenting, Health & Wellness, the Alpha Class (discipleship), and our newest offering, “Renewing The Mind.” Currently, there are about 50 families represented in this program, which offers Bible-based curricula for youth and children as well, and provides childcare for our youngest attendees. Call our office to find out our next session’s starting date.
Each week our Neighbors renew their dignity and self-esteem by completing homework assignments and EARNING vouchers that they can use for gasoline, oil changes, and haircuts, as well as gift certificates for our Treasures For Love Resale Store. Neighbors also are assigned “Spiritual Friends” or mentors, which they meet with during the week and attend class with them. They know they have the support of someone who is walking this journey with them. Along with the vouchers, our Spiritual Friends provide accountability, something sorely needed.
The attendees of these classes keep coming back session after session, attending all the classes they can, and have become family, both with one-another, and with Love INC and the Spiritual Friends. This Loving Your Neighbor Program is truly the heart of God’s ministry at Love INC, and what we aim each Neighbor toward, whether they initially express an interest or not. Dozens and dozens of lives have been transformed, both our Neighbors and our volunteers and staff as well.