LinC National is an innovative, Christian, volunteer organisation utilising its expertise and well-established model for integrating local church and community support for people in eleven neighbourhood regions across Australia.LinC National Annual Report 2018-2019
LinC National creates opportunities for cooperative inter-church networks, community engagement, collaboration and the linking of caring church volunteer workforces and resources with the expressed needs of people in their local communities.
LinC volunteers are motivated by a sense of compassion for people in need within Australia as well as a sense of call to demonstrate love in action in the name of Christ.
To meet the expressed needs of people in neighbourhoods across Australia via LinC Affiliate networks.
LinC National Board Members
The LinC National model integrates church and community support to people in neighbourhood regions across Australia.
The LinC National model is used to form local LinC Affiliates in neighbourhoods across Australia to provide pathways to supporting vulnerable people in collaboration with community agencies.
The LinC National model enables local churches to network together and become an integral part of strengthening the ‘whole of community’ through its focus on unity, collaboration and care of people in local neighbourhood regions.
LinC recognises the underlying need for increased involvement of churches in their local communities. Why? There is growing evidence of social isolation, loneliness, unemployment, loss of wellbeing for carers of loved ones, an ageing population, increasing numbers of single parents and lone person households, ongoing challenges for people with mental illness, disabilities and disadvantaged families, plus great demands on state and federal funding.
LinC provides an effective church networking system to help meet people’s unmet needs without duplicating existing programs and services.
LinC empowers church members, as Christ’s body on earth, to mobilise with ‘no strings attached’ all the resources and gifts needed to make a difference in local communities.
LinC enables Christians to respond to the call to help their neighbours and other people in need. For example, “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” 1 John 3:18.
A local LinC Affiliate Referral Centre receives requests for help from potential clients, clergy or professional community agencies.
Trained volunteers/staff assess requests and determine whether they can be met by a local agency/specialist service and/or trained church volunteers.
Clients with complex needs may receive assistance from all of the above. Simple, manageable needs are referred to a suitable, trained LinC volunteer through a local Church Coordinator.
The Referral Centre is managed by a Program Coordinator/General Manager who is accountable to a Board of Management. The Board is elected from appropriately skilled representatives of participating LinC churches.
In order for this facilitation process to be effective, good relationships are established and maintained between local community agencies, the LinC Referral Centre and participating churches. Cooperation, not duplication, is the aim.
LinC Affiliates provide training and general support to volunteers from member churches and all volunteers are required to undergo police checks.
LinC Affiliates offer assistance to all people regardless of belief, gender, age or ethnic background.
Referrals are followed up and further assistance offered if needed.
Every LinC Affiliate depends on volunteers 18 years plus to offer a helping hand and be a positive example of Christian living to their neighbours in need.
Some needs are very simple – just enough care to help a family through a rough time.
* Charlie, who was recovering from serious surgery, needed someone to assist him walk a little each day. LinC was called and a church volunteer located to spend a little time each day to help Charlie exercise. A simple act of kindness made all the difference in Charlie’s recovery.
* One family’s home was burnt to the ground and several LinC Affiliate churches teamed up to provide assistance with clothing, food, temporary housing, furniture, etc.
In practice, the amount and period of assistance can vary and several member churches may work together to respond to a major single request.
A wonderful feature of LinC is that it helps Christians recognise their personal untapped gifts and talents. It enables them to optimise use of these abilities by matching them with particular people they could help. At the heart of LinC are hundreds of church volunteers inspired by their faith to provide care to others.
Provision of material resources and professional services do not always meet deeper needs. People who are hurting need people. LinC volunteers are unpaid service providers who have a unique opportunity to develop caring relationships with community members. LinC has always placed emphasis on being a relational ministry – the deeper needs of people almost always relate to the experiences of isolation and need for meaningful relationships. Love can only be communicated through relationships.
Each local LinC Affiliate is unique, offering a special mix of services. Affiliates determine what assistance can be offered based on identified service gaps and the time, talents and resources available in participating churches.
Assistance might include:
LinC National is currently seeking funding to develop its ‘NeighbourLinC' project and expand it's model with a new opportunity for supporting, caring and connecting to neighbours in its eleven local LinC Affiliate neighbourhood regions across Australia. The NeighbourLinC project will:
Love in the Name of Christ (Love INC) began in Michigan, USA, in 1976 as a way to encourage churches to become more engaged with the poor and inspire more Christians to put their faith into action. The founder, Dr Virgil Gulker, believed that in order for churches to better serve their communities they needed to assess their capacities and be given a strategy to provide leadership, organisation, training, encouragement, prayer and ways to work together.
Canada, New Zealand and Australia have adapted the US model to suit their own contexts. LinC started in Australia in Hornsby NSW in 1991, and in 2020, 12 Affiliates were operating, involving over 80 churches and 400 volunteers.
LinC came into existence to co-ordinate and mobilise resources for needs that are still present in our society today. As long as there are elderly or disabled people needing help around the home or unable to drive, single mothers who can’t maintain their garden, isolated people or a family trapped in poverty, there is work for LinC to do.
If you would like to learn more about establishing a LinC Affiliate in your area or would like to support the work of LinC National, contact us today.
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