LINC is an organizational model for an entire metro area, and the primary purpose is to plant groups of new believers throughout the city. Not only do new groups typically grow faster than established ones, but they have the opportunity to change more quickly to reflect the needs and values of the community where they are planted. LINC Houston currently includes 29 discipleship ministries in 12 different languages across the Houston metro area.
Any mission work that is effective in reaching people is also tied with needs-based outreach that doesn't just put a band-aid on the problem, but rather helps build people and communities to their fullest potential. Most of our attention is focused on the under-served and fringe groups of our society that would otherwise fall between the cracks. We also don't love only potential members of a new mission plant. We believe that God loves, and so should we. By practicing holistic ministry, we try to build up individuals spiritually, physically and emotionally at the same time.
We believe that when social ministry is taken out of context of mission planting, it fails to provide the next step for people to experience the abundant life in Christ, which is discipleship. It also puts a distinction in the minds of our church members between social and spiritual ministry. This distinction robs the mission planting effort of having a full arsenal of tools for holistic ministry to a particular community.
LINC doesn't seek to continue needs-based ministry indefinitely in a certain community, but rather seeks to empower and turn over responsibility to the community itself. New disciples learn quickly how to give their own gifts and talents to the community.
In order to plant new missions and begin new ministries to the community, there must be a continuous supply of new leaders. These leaders come from the partner congregations, from the community and from the ethnic group that is being reached by a new mission plant. Leadership training takes place on various levels.
- Congregational training – Ex. workshops and seminars
- Experiential training – Ex. Mission trip to local mission site
- Training for specific ministry to community – Ex. ESL, computer training, Tutors, Crisis Pregnancy, etc.
- Theological training for ethnic leaders – EIIT, Hispanic Institute, LBI
- Local Missionary training for LINC missionaries
New and potential leaders are given responsibilities that match their training and stretch their abilities so that they can realize their God-given potential as individuals created in His image.