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Sat Dec 14 @09:00 - 11:30AM
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Downtown Mobile Medical Clinic

Work

We believe that ideas associated with enterprise are central to both ministry sustainability and the work of lifting the city out of poverty. Some of these ideas include work, participation, collaboration, initiative, creativity, industry, empowerment, risk-taking, vision and courage. Giving flight to these ideas in a group of people such as LifeLine, or in a community such as Uptown Toledo, lends tremendous long-term redemptive potential to the energies and activities of those who are involved in them.

Work is one of the ways in which LifeLine can provide opportunity for sustainable life in community. Inspired by Jesus People USA in Chicago, we look for ways to create work crews to provide needed services for which remuneration can be expected. That's a fancy way of saying we want and expect worker to be paid for their work. This may take the form of paint crews or construction crews or window washing crews. We primarily consider options that require low equipment costs and even lower overhead costs. Our goal is to develop cottage industry kinds of enterprise solutions that will bring members of the community together to do work that is good for both the workers and those they serve.

Additionally, we help people to put feet to their own ideas for sustainable cottage industries that will allow them to provide a living for themselves and their families. We're talking about the kinds of enterprises that don't require a person to be hired, but that instead can be a part of the domestic autonomy of an individual or family. LifeLine can provide support and encouragement through various means to people seeking this kind of "leg up on life" as an expression of our commitment to help lift the city out of poverty. The kind of personal empowerment and vision represented by this kind of activity are central to who we are.

We believe that organic, systemic problems such as urban poverty require organic, systemic solutions. Work has been relegated to dependent and even codependent kinds of relationships in America in the past 50 years or so, in particular, so that autonomy and personal initiative have been undermined. We believe the kind of approach discussed here holds the potential to restore a good bit of dignity lost, entrepreneurial energy and sustainable lifestyles to the community, and in so doing to empower people and even neighborhoods for transformation. We also believe the church can and should be helpful and proactive in the process.

Micro Loans

If enterprise is a critical factor for both ministry sustainability and individual/community empowerment - as we believe they are - then creating opportunities to act on ideas is pretty important in our eyes. The beauty of the kinds of enterprise in which LifeLine engages is that they are low risk, low investment entities. Therefore, it is possible to be intentional and aggressive in pursuit and empowerment. Specifically, LifeLine is interested in "pouring gasoline on peoples' burning bushes" through offering micro loans for enterprise start ups. In doing so, we are expressing our core values of creativity, community, a corporate mind of Christ and, especially, justice. We believe it ultimately just to empower people on the socio-economic margins of society to break the systemic chains that make and keep them poor.

Micro loans typically are for amounts ranging between $50 and $500, and are used for basic start up materials such as equipment and supplies, or simple printing or marketing needs. Examples of this might be the purchase of a lawn mower, trimmers and printed flyers for someone who is starting a lawn or yard care business; the purchase of appropriate computer software for a person who is starting a resume service or freelance graphic design business; or the purchase of tools for someone starting a home remodeling or repair service.

Of course, there are criteria required for acquiring a LifeLine micro loan, but because the amounts and attendant risks are relatively small, we can be generous and open-handed with people who may be unable to obtain larger loans from more common sources such as banks. The LifeLine Board of Directors establishes loan criteria, establishes terms, and determines all loan approvals. All LifeLine micro loan policies and procedures are available in printed form upon request, and may be changed by the Board of Directors without notice.

Development

Completing LifeLine's three-pronged approach to bringing about community transformation through enterprise is the element of development - a term we use here to communicate principles of mentoring, accountability and support. These are natural elements of a community but, in churches, are often only applied to "discipleship," such as small groups, Bible studies, men's and women's ministries, and youth ministires. Central to LifeLine is a holistic approach to life in community, in which we are engaged in one another's lives beyond church stuff.

We know that not everyone is interested in such intimate community. Some prefer to keep the varioous compartments of their lives, well, compartmentalized. In LifeLine's concept and practice of community, we seek a fuller expression of life together and of what is "spiritual." We believe all aspects of life - work, play, worship, finances, education, etc. - are spiritual, and that the goal of a Christ-kind of life if full integration of the various compartments. This idea has lots of ramifications, and some of them affect other sections of this site.

Because we believe this, we offer the community as a resource for exploring and developing new ideas, concepts and possibilities for creating enterprises. As previously mentioned, we like to "pour gasoline on peoples' burning bushes." If someone believes they have an idea that would work or would fit their gifts and abilities, we are willing to offer the kind of think tank, brainstorming, critique and facilitation environment that might prove helpful. This includes connections with our ministry partners, all of whom have expertise and resources of various kinds, and are willing to make themselves available to advance these kinds of enterprise practices as part of what we believe to be building God's Kingdom in a holistic, empowering way.

Our hope is that creativity, energy and entrepreneurialism will pervade everything about our life together, and individuals, families and the entire community will be empowered for transformational change as we work together in this practice of devlopment. One of the best things about this is that it is very organic, and not programmatized. In its highest form, this element of development is simply the natural outgrowth of a life together that includes all of life, and not just church times or activities. This is about helping each other make it through life as members of a faith community in which each takes responsibility for the others, and no one falls through the cracks or is left to their own devices. And that, we believe, is as it should be.