In 2002, a group of suburban churches in Houston, Texas came together to address a common issue.
Houston was becoming increasingly diverse and the Church was struggling to keep up. It was failing to connect with non-white populations. It needed local, indigenous leaders to help bridge the gap.
Since 2002, that original group of churches has expanded into a network — LINC — dedicated to “reaching the unreached communities that often extend beyond the church’s capacity for ministry” by identifying, engaging, and empowering local leaders to bless their communities.
LINC exists in a number of major metropolitan areas, such as Houston, the Twin Cities, the Bay Area, Tacoma, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee.
Their process begins by identifying a person that could be considered a local leader, or someone that desires to be a leader in their community. These leaders do not need to be ordained clergy, they do not need to be Lutheran, nor do they need to be associated with any specific church-body.
In fact, LINC specializes in identifying leaders that are often overlooked or underestimated, for any number of reasons.
Marty Calderon is one of those leaders that the Lutheran Church, likely, would have never considered. Marty grew up in the south side of Milwaukee. Marty spent time in jail because of drug and alcohol use. But Marty had an idea to help his city: Create a sober-living house for young men, where they can receive real, Christian accountability in the greater Milwaukee area.
So, Marty bought a house in a run-down part of town and opened it up to men struggling with opioid addiction. He just needed help running the business and getting his financials in order.
LINC Ministries was able to connect Marty with a financial advisor. Together, they were able to help Marty obtain 501c status and establish a Board of Directors. Now, God Touch Milwaukee is a thriving ministry and has added two more sober-living homes.
Any money that LINC raises for these local leaders and ministries does not go directly to the ministry. Instead, LINC uses that money for tools and training. In their opinion, it is a healthier way to provide support. It helps with accountability purposes, and their model is more sustainable and easily scaled.
If you have a desire to start a ministry in your city, or if you know of a local leader that needs support for their ministry, consider contacting LINC. Your city can become a member of LINC. To find out more about this process, visit linc.org.