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The end of Love INC of Albuquerque

The end of Love INC of Albuquerque

It’s the end of the road for Love INC of Albuquerque.  After 11 years of helping the poor, the time has come for us to close our doors.  July 31 will be our last day of serving the public.  

From its inception, Love INC struggled financially and lacked the volunteer support to sustain daily operation in a healthy way.  While there have been a few amazingly dedicated people who poured their hearts and souls into the ministry, by and large Love INC has been an afterthought, if even that, to those who knew about it.

In the last 6 months, as I have met with other ministry leaders, non-profit directors, and trusted business advisers, I have sought to understand what could be done to save Love INC.  “Out of the box” thinking became the norm, and looking for any “Hail Mary” play we could use was the order of the day.

Within a short period of time, the rapid crumbling of an already shaky foundation finally settled the question “Lord, what do we do?”  We are finished, and we walk away―not in defeat but with a mix of pride and sadness, because the ministry did a remarkable work and touched thousands of lives.

This isn’t a “boo-hoo” narrative, or an “if only someone had cared” essay.  Instead, I pray that it is a wake-up call to the Church, both to those serving in leadership and to those laypeople who have mistakenly believed that serving/giving/caring is “someone else’s job.”

Love INC isn’t the only organization that has been facing critically hard times.  Some of the biggest ministries in town are experiencing financial struggles unlike anything they have known before.  Volunteer commitment is so poor that one leader told me their organization needs to train two-thirds more people than they can use, because of how few actually serve.

What has happened?  Did God run out of resources?  Did His people find other ways to serve those in need?  No.  I believe the answer boils down to one word: apathy.

We are a people addicted to comfort.  I recognize that I too often slip into that mentality myself.  Leaving the safety of our homes or churches exposes us to the unknown, and rather than come face to face with something difficult, we refresh our Facebook feed or scroll through the pretty images of Instagram.  After all, what can I really do about the homeless or drug-addicted, right?

No one is asking for you to hit the streets untrained, unprepared and unequipped.  There are amazing organizations that can teach you how to reach and best serve those in need.  Allow me to introduce you to Care Net, Steelbridge, The Rock at NoonDay, Shine, Beds4Kidz, A Peaceful Habitation, U Turn for Christ, Under His Construction, Spoken For, and Koach, to name just a few.  These beautiful ministries are passionately (though wearily) serving this city, and they need your help!

Church leaders, I recognize and applaud your special programs and events.  But I beg of you, don’t let them become the all-consuming focus of your congregation.  Introduce your people to some of the above-mentioned organizations.  Let the pulpit be a place of grace and challenge, calling God’s people to give of their time and resources, serving both inside and outside your walls. 

If there is not a radical shift in thinking, Love INC’s problems will bleed into the next ministry, and then the next one.  Our absence in the community will leave hundreds of families each year that will now have to look elsewhere for assistance, which puts greater strain on the remaining pool of helping organizations.  

It is time to transform apathy into activity.  This city that I love needs your help!  Will you be part of the solution?  If serving meals to the homeless isn’t your thing, maybe helping someone get a grip on their finances is.  If you aren't able to minister to a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy, maybe you can deliver a bed to a family who has been sleeping on the floor.  There are so many ways for you to use your gifts and passions to help others!

You are not called to be all things to all people.  But you are called.  Ask, and then listen to God’s directions for your time and money.  You will likely be surprised by the answer.  

What if we close our doors?

What if we close our doors?