Churches Bring a Bit of Heaven to Lake County

The Bible says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10). Love INC of Lake County provides our churches and volunteers with opportunities to use their variety of gifts to help people overcome the struggles, pain, loneliness and inequities that we experience here on earth.

In so doing, we work together to bring heaven to earth in Lake County.

Our church partners accomplish this in both practical and life-changing ways. First, they help meet the tangible needs of families like yours and mine – delivering beds, sorting donations, putting together “new baby” and “new home” welcome kits. Second, but most importantly, they develop personal, caring relationships with the people they serve. The goal is to create a community built on love that shines Jesus’ light, drawing more people to Him.

For example, Katie and Clark Cashman and Stacia and Adam Tyner are part of a small group at Lakeland Church in Gurnee created to actively serve within the local community. Stacia explains that relationship-building with the people you’re serving happens naturally at Love INC events and classes. During New Hope Ministry life skills classes where the Lakeland small group served monthly potluck dinners, the volunteers shared meals and got to know many of the participants.

“It was a reminder that, even though we may have different backgrounds and life situations, we’re all equal in God’s eyes,” Stacia says. “Not surprisingly, we found that we have more in common than we have differences –including love for family, sports and church. We left each class feeling like we had made new friends.”

The Cashmans and Tyners also recall fondly serving last year at Love INC’s “Christmas Tree Lot and Ornament Shop.” Due to the pandemic, the annual Christmas party and shopping event had to be cancelled, so church volunteers brainstormed with Love INC staff to re-engineer the event.

Together, they created a “Christmas Tree Lot” displaying dozens of donated artificial Christmas trees and thousands of ornaments in the Love INC parking lot. Lake County families that didn’t have a Christmas tree and couldn’t afford to buy one were invited to pick out a tree to decorate their home for the holidays. Volunteers also played Christmas music and served hot chocolate to guests.

“The kids’ eyes just lit up walking through the Christmas trees and picking out their ornaments,” says Katie. “It was a way to connect with people during a time when connections were difficult or impossible, adds Clark. “When we do fellowship together, we shine the light of Jesus, and that’s what it’s all about.”

At Love INC, the opportunities to show His love by using your God-given skills is nearly unlimited. In fact, the staff has a favorite saying: “No matter what you like to do, we have a place for you.”

Here are just a few of opportunities to serve for you and your small group to consider:

  • Sorting or organizing donations
  • Delivering refurbished furniture (beds, dressers, etc.)
  • Delivering basic kitchen & bath items in Household Starter Kits
  • Host a donation drive for incentive items
  • Preparing and serving meals at New Hope Ministry life skills classes
  • Calling our neighbors to check-in in our Neighbor Care Ministry

While the two couples agree that Love INC is effective in finding and filling the practical needs of impoverished people in our community, they also found the staff open to serving ideas suggested by their small group. “If your church has an idea, the staff is there to help you make it happen. It’s their mission to help churches serve the community,” says Clark.

“Love INC brings churches of Lake County together as one,” says Adam. “The way the organization is set up, you can see that the work you’re doing is really making a difference. Love INC enables churches to be more effective in serving the community.”

“Being in need isn’t something that exists in heaven,” adds Adam. “When your church or small group volunteers with Love INC, you have the chance to create a little bit of heaven on earth.”

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Help Us Bring Heaven to Earth