LINC® stands for “Loving, Inspiring, Nurturing and Caring.” It is a ministry between a local Southern Baptist church and a senior living community. Let me encourage you to re-imagine your church’s ministry to the local senior living community in your city or town.
A successful LINC® occurs when a volunteer team from a local church becomes actively engaged and invested in the lives of residents, families and employees of a local senior living community. LINC® effectively extends the reach of a church’s ministry and mission field to many who may be unchurched and unsaved.
The foundational scripture is Gal. 5:13b, “through love, serve one another.” LINC® is a pathway for churches to serve their neighbors in love, while meeting ministry needs that already exist but are often overlooked. To respond to these needs, you don’t have to build a building or pay the electricity bill. You don’t even have to provide the snacks. What’s not to like about that?
To initiate a LINC® relationship, a senior living community should be approached with an offer to partner with them in supporting their identified ministry needs. Every senior living community is different, but most will welcome volunteers with open arms. We find that most successful LINC® teams are those that have a strong leader, are supported by the church and have at least five-to-10 intergenerational team members.
In most instances, coordination with the senior living community will be through communication with the life enrichment director. The LINC® team can prove to be a valuable resource for the life enrichment director. Often, there is a lack of spiritual opportunities for residents, including Bible studies and worship services. Of course, keeping commitments and showing up prepared to serve is essential to building trust with the community.
LINC® team members develop meaningful friendships with people who live and work at the senior living community as well as their families. Even so, LINC® volunteers should always keep in mind that they are invited guests of the community and should be respectful of the living environment of the residents. Guidelines of the community and preferences of individual residents should always be honored.
Baptist Village Communities (BVC) offers initial training for volunteers to assist them in better understanding aging services and being comfortable in that setting. Life enrichment directors from local senior living communities are also invited to the training in order to encourage partnerships and as an introduction to church volunteers interested in LINC® ministry. An effective LINC® partnership is one that is open and collaborative with the ultimate goal of serving together in love for the cause of Christ.
BVC also provides ongoing support of LINC® teams by way of ministry resources accessible via the website—www.baptistvillage.org. Resources include digital training tools and online video instruction. Once established, sustaining LINC® ministry becomes the challenge. BVC desires to undergird participating churches and their LINC® teams with support and encouragement as much as possible.
BVC is committed to LINC® ministry. More than 200 LINCs have been started. A successful ministry strengthens the church and replaces discouragement with hope for many, while drawing people of all ages to a closer walk with the Lord. At its core, LINC® is evangelistic, makes disciples and impacts the world for Christ.