Dear Friend of Love INC,
For 37 years, Christ followers in Hudsonville, Jenison and Grandville have joined together as Love In the Name of Christ to show Jesus’ love to our community. During that time, this organization has changed many times: taking on new ministries, moving boundaries, hiring new staff, improving programs, constructing new buildings, welcoming volunteers from new places, and, most importantly, responding to what our community needed. Amongst these almost 40 years of change, one thing remained the same: we continued following Jesus’ call on this ministry to connect with those in our community who were experiencing need.
This fall, we have another exciting change: A new name! We are excited to be known as Love Your Neighbor. We chose this name because this is the command that Jesus emphasized in Matthew 22:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
“Love your neighbor” beautifully describes what we do here: we love others as we love ourselves, strengthening our community so that all can flourish. We are excited to claim Jesus’ command as our identity. Love Your Neighbor. It is a name that explicitly shows that we follow Jesus Christ. It describes what we do. And very conveniently, for those of us who have a hard time changing, it still contains the word “love.”
We did not change our name to distance ourselves from Christ or the church– they are central to what we have always done, and what we will do. We are simply not allowed to use that name anymore because we have disaffiliated from the national Love INC network, and so we can no longer use their name. We have separated from them to have a more local approach to ministry, and we maintain a positive and cooperative relationship with them. We continue to support their efforts but are no longer an affiliated organization. We looked hard for a name that was right from the Bible, and we made sure that we had a cross in our logo. We absolutely do not want to hide that Christ is at the center of everything we do here.
It’s a change. Like many changes before it, it is exciting, and we feel confident God is calling us to this new name. And just like all the other changes that came before, it does not change what we are about. We still follow Jesus’ call on us to pay attention to those in our community who struggle, those who are beaten down, and those who feel unseen. We gather and equip God’s Church to love, serve and connect in the name of Jesus here in this community, and we look forward to seeing the transformation that God will bring to this neighborhood.
We have been blessed through the years to gather a vibrant, diverse and dedicated community of people who make up Love INC. We pray that you will continue to partner with us to invest in a community that reflects and shares the love of our God!
Jodi Cole Meyer