Love Loud: An interview with Michele Part 1
I feel privileged to know Michele. She is a loving leader, and her enthusiasm is contagious! She was gracious enough to speak with me about an outreach program which she recently organized, called Love Loud.
Keri: Would you give us in general what Love Loud is?
Michele: Ok, Love Loud is a project that our group of singles decided to do in our community , and we base it off 1 John 3:18: Little children let us not love in word or talk but in word and deed.
So it was a project getting ourselves out in the community with acts of kindness and just showing Christ’s love to others in the community
Keri: How did you use it with the singles ministry?
Michele: We decided with the singles to do a different project this year and that is why we chose this Love Loud project. With them we started organizing and just started basic with “what are your gifts?” It was a time when our church was studying spiritual gifts and so we broke people into groups to see what they would be interested in and took off from there to start organizing this project; to teach them what it would be like to give of themselves in a way such like a mission trip but actually in our community.
Keri: So this to you was your missions outreach?
Michele: This was our mission trip. Because of finances, especially the singles, in this time in the United States we decided that we would do a smaller version of our missions trip and we asked the singles of our class to give toward that. We did not keep track of that, we asked them on their own basis we all did different jobs to ear the money and we asked them to give $250. We kind of looked at a budget and decided how much we thought we would be spending ourselves to promote and advertise and that’s where all of the money went to from our singles group.
We had them treat it like a missions trip. We asked them to take the days off, just like they would if we were travelling somewhere and be able to commit to those days. We actually had a commitment form for them. We were asking them to be committed to pray for it, the dates and time we would need them and the $250 commitment. We were of the theory that they were buying the tickets to go on the mission trip.
Keri: How did you go about fundraising? I know there were singles who could not afford $250.
Michele: That’s right. So what they did was that they could contribute that in any form that they wanted to. We had several who took on their own private jobs where they earned babysitting money or pressure washed someone’s house and they put that money in their own fund. Just like if they wanted to raise money any other way I guess. We had some who could not raise money that way but one won Chik-fil-a meal coupons and that person donated all their coupons so we could hand them out. That was one way that person was able to do that.
The class as a whole, we made our whole class available for rent or for a project so someone could have our class come over so for example we organized someone’s house. We moved, we cleaned out, we did a lot of yard work, we cleaned out back yards and the money we earned from that went into our large fund.
Then we had individuals who were able to go to employers or other people they knew in their community and ask them for money. We set up a fund at our church, of course we had all the proper paper work we needed for that. So they could hand out receipts that were tax deductible for their company.
Specifically, we had one person who is in the food industry. One of the projects was doing a dinner for people who had lost their jobs and all of that food except for the main meat, every bit of that was donated. From tea, lemonade, veggies to desserts and he was able to contact all those people who were able to donate all that for us. It was great to see God provide all of that for us.
Keri: What percentage of your singles ministry do you think got involved in your Love Loud?
Michele: Geoff and I were thinking about that just the other day and we think we were at 95%. There were just a few people who could not because of other commitments. The way that it was timed out too because we had some going on during the day and in the evening. There were a couple who maybe couldn’t do projects during the day but were able to do evening jobs. That’s how we got to that 95%.
Keri: Do you think it was more attended by your singles than say a “real” missions trip where you went somewhere else?
Michele: Oh yes because it was so much more feasible, doable for them. They could see that financially I can do this, job wise I can do this, commitment wise I can do this.
Keri: So you decided to do this basically because of finances and so more people would be involved. What makes Love Loud different than if you all had held a VBS camp or some type of community outreach from the church what makes it unique?
Michele: I think what makes it unique is because this is not like a door to door evangelistic type program. When we looked at the area in Simpsonville, where Calvary is at, we saw that Calvary is definitely doing the job evangelizing the neighborhood and reaching out in that way. But, we also felt like in the community that’s what they have known us for. They know us for coming door to door and handing out literature and wanting them to come to VBS and wanting them to come to revival which is all good. But we wanted them to see that we really do care about them and we really do love them. I think a lot of times you have to step out of your box and love how Christ showed love throughout Scripture of just showing kindness and concern for what is happening on in their lives. Reaching out to them in a way that most people don’t. Or that it would be a non profit organization reaching out and servicing them with meals or whatever they need. So we really felt that for our singles it was tiem to step out of that box and just love the community with no strings attached to that. Nothing that we were asking them in return. Like “We’ll do this for you if you come to our revival services.” We just wanted to infiltrate them and love them so they would see Christ.
Keri: I even think about Christ’s miracles. Even when He changed water into wine, His first miracle, He didn’t hand out a tract when He did that. He did it because He loved His mother and the act showed love and kindness to the people of Cana which glorified God. To me Love Loud follows in that train of thought.
Stay tuned for the Part 2 of this interview this weekend!