Why LINC Works
We’re committed to our belief in grassroots leadership, sustainable ministry, and asset-based community development.
LINC works with local leaders around the world to establish sustainable training, coaching and support systems for new leaders.
The LINC model is built to drive transformative impact, sustainability and scalability.
We the church have been given a mandate by our Lord Jesus Christ: To make disciples of everyone, everywhere.
Everywhere we look we see people who don’t yet know how much God loves them. They haven’t heard the Good News that Jesus died for their sins so they may have peace with God. Instead, they try to make their way in world going solo. As this world can be a very difficult place, many lose hope and believe they must just accept life and all its challenges.
Because of wide-scale poverty, families in our urban communities struggle to even put food on the table. Children grow up in neighborhoods where the streets have more influence on them than their parents and teachers. Families struggle to stay together and many children grow up without a single positive role model.
Immigrant families struggle in a similar fashion. Language barriers, lack of education and higher level job skills make securing a well-paying job extremely difficult. Most piece together multiple part-time jobs, which leave little time for their families and provide limited financial resources.
People from every corner of the earth now live in our cities, and they bring with them their own cultures, beliefs and values. The city is a tough mission field to say the least! However, this is the mission field where LINC has been called by God to focus all of our efforts – the communities that are the most unreached and underserved by the church at large. Despite the challenges, we find many opportunities through amazing, grassroots leaders.
Our mission involves reaching more and more urban areas where these challenges exist. In order to do this well, we must overcome three basic challenges: the Challenge of Impact, the Challenge of Sustainability and the Challenge of Scale.
When most people think of ministry in the city, they think of charity work and service projects. But charity work among the truly destitute actually serves a very small percentage of individuals in the city who are unable to function in everyday society. The vast majority of the poor throughout our city don’t fall into this category of needing charity. Instead, they need opportunity and empowerment. That’s where LINC comes in.
Service projects by outside groups are tremendous blessings to people who are truly in need of short-term relief from a natural disaster or debilitating health issue for example. The problem, however, is that most of the projects that outside groups engage and perform actually take initiative away from proud and able-bodied individuals who could learn to do these things for themselves. Instead of helping people fix their situation, it diminishes their worth and keeps them waiting for the next handout.
The not-so-popular truth is this: most service projects create a lot of goodwill among the volunteers, but make very little lasting positive impact in the local community. And possibly the biggest challenge for the church is that we’ve come to equate this relief work with mission work.
Let’s look at what mission work is: To take the message of Jesus Christ to places where the His kingdom of grace isn’t yet established. In its narrowest terms, every heart without Jesus is a mission field.
The outcomes for all mission work ultimately results in new disciples and new churches. At LINC, we accomplish these outcomes by training new leaders for ministry who plant new churches that reach, impact and transform their communities with the Gospel of Christ.
We believe that this focus provides the best potential Kingdom impact in our communities.
Another challenge to work in the city is sustainability. Often communities that need the most focus and attention also have the fewest financial resources.
In low-income communities, families often live day to day or week to week, not knowing where the money will come from each week or even day. When whole communities are living in survival mode, its extremely difficult to sustain even basic services without outside assistance.
Mission work in these communities faces the same challenges. Outside resources are invested into new mission work in a new community. When those resources eventually go away, that mission is typically left unsustainable and struggles to survive. In fact, most don’t survive, and that community is left without a mission presence until the next outside group rallies the resources to start new work. This cycle repeats itself over and over until the residents stop trusting any new work, and outside supporters stop believing that their contributions will actually make a lasting impact.
By focusing on the development of local leaders who can properly leverage their own resources, we empower communities to create a sustainable development ecosystem for themselves. A local missionary leader who learns to develop the resources God has put in front of him or her usually just needs the proper training, coaching and incentives to do the work they’ve been called to do. That is precisely what LINC provides in order to create a sustainable mission field!
Because of the unique challenges in each community, a ministry model that works in one location rarely replicates itself into another. It typically takes so much energy and ingenuity just to make something become effective and sustainable, the idea of scaling or multiplying is unfathomable. Even ideas that attempt to scale are rarely successful.
Great organizations work as a part of a network, dedicated to principles of collaborating with one another to create more impact than they ever could achieve on their own. LINC has been working in the city of Houston for 15 years, and has helped other LINC organizations begin around the country. This isn’t based on a single model that is difficult to replicate, but on the basis of principles that are universal to mission work in the city.
The first principle we stand on clarifies that main goal of all mission work is to make disciples, who in turn make disciples. The second principle is that planting new churches is the primary means of making new disciples, through the Means of Grace, Christ’s Word and Sacraments. The third principle points out that mission work is best done through local leaders who are indigenous to their community. Fourth, we believe work in the city must be holistic in nature in order to truly be impactful. In other words, we believe that community transformation should be an intended outcome of all urban church planting.
We’re now doing everything with the end goal of multiplication. Multiplication of disciples, ministry leaders, ministries, churches and community transformation work here in cities where LINC already works, and into new cities across the world.
LINC is networking leaders on a local, national and global level for encouragement and collaborative sharing of best practices. We’re producing programs and materials that are teachable and reproducible in every community. We’ve built a sustainable and valuable back-end system and replication model for launching LINC ministries in new cities. We believe that LINC ministries offer the Church a clear mission for the cities of the world, and that together through courageous and empowered leaders we will see changed hearts and transformed lives.