Love INC to provide mentor training

by Jeff Pederson
of The Review staff

DAVE AND RENNIE GARDA of Cadre Ministries will lead a volunteer mentor training program titled “Ministry Is Relationship” Saturday, May 14, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls. — Cadre Ministries photo DAVE AND RENNIE GARDA of Cadre Ministries will lead a volunteer mentor training program titled “Ministry Is Relationship” Saturday, May 14, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls. — Cadre Ministries photo In an effort to achieve its goal of establishing a network of active community-based volunteer mentors, Love In The Name of Christ (INC) of Sheboygan County, in conjunction with Cadre Ministries, will hold a “Ministry Is Relationship” training session at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sheboygan Falls Saturday, May 14.

Love INC of Sheboygan County, which formed in February 2015, is a local cooperative ministry between churches throughout Sheboygan County, serving together to help neighbors in need in their quest to transform their lives.

The Love INC network, which currently includes 37 area churches, is equipped to connect clients with child care, budget counseling, automotive repair, food pantry, transportation, affordable housing, homeless shelter, substance abuse counseling, crisis counseling, job placement, clothing and legal services located within the Sheboygan County area.

Love INC has been designed to mobilize churches to help neighbors in need, by focusing on how a person who needs help can start to transform his or her own life by connecting with love in action.

According to Love INC Executive Director Katie Popp, one of the organization’s goals is to develop volunteer mentors to further assist those in need of assistance throughout Sheboygan County.

“The goal with the ‘Ministry In Relationship’ training program is to train volunteers to equip others who need assistance,” Popp said. “Over the past year, we’ve heard from pastors of our partner churches with volunteers that are eager to help, but don’t necessarily know how to. They wonder what to say and how to effectively convey the message of Love INC those they are helping.”

Popp responded to the pastors’ inquiries promptly, which has led to the May 14 training session.

“I talk with our fellow Love INC affiliates in other locations locally, statewide and out of state and they stressed the importance of effectively training volunteers,” Popp said. “Volunteers need to be trained to serve. they aren’t, it could hurt their relationships with what we call ‘neighbors in need.’

“We are looking to move toward a transformational ministry, which changes the lives of others for the better,” she said.

Love INC has enlisted Cadre Ministries to facilitate the “Ministry Is Relationship” training workshop, which is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 1 pm.

Based in Sycamore, Ill, Cadre Ministries is led by the husband and wife tandem of Dave and Rennie Garda, both of whom are eager to make their third training visit to Sheboygan County.

“We are 13 years old as a ministry, but all of us have been working together before this in writing and equipping and training and coaching and mentoring for some 21 years and others up to 28 years together,” Rennie Garda said. “Katie Popp contacted me several months ago when she had been introduced to us by friend in the community.”

“We had an immediate connection with her and with the mission of Love’s INC,” she said. “We have Love’s INC in our community as well, so as a youth pastor in our community, along with being a full-time missionary, I understand and am deeply moved by the mission of Love’s INC. We have since had several other communication times with the Love INC team and we are so delighted to be apart of training and equipping day for their volunteers and leading team.”

The four-hour “Ministry Is Relationships” workshop which was developed by Bill Allison and Dave Garda of Cadre Ministries, has been described as a learning experience, rather than a passive workshop.

Session 1 is titled “No Relationships = No Ministry; Know Relationships = Know Ministry.”

Session 2 covers “God Powered Relationship Skills.”

Session 3 is titled “He That Hath Ears – Let Him Hear!”

Session 4 will discuss “How to Clean Up Messy Relationships.”

Rennie says the training session will include various interactive exercise and training techniques.

“The training of ‘Ministry Is Relationships’ is interactive and experiential,” Rennie said. “We will be talking about what ministry looks like and that it is not just about programs it is about relationships and the programs help us in the relationship with people we serve alongside with and those we are serving in the community.

“We will talk about love languages and heart listening and finally how to clean up messy relationships,” she said. “Our follow-up Living Guide each person will receive is about God’s word to help us live with Him and with each other. It is essentially his guide book for us.”

It is not the first time Rennie and Dave have ventured to Sheboygan County for training.

“We personally have done training one group at a time. one ministry at a time, one business or school at a time,” Rennie said. “We were in Sheboygan years ago for local churches in a network for a tool we wrote called ‘Foundations Of Youth Ministry.’ We also came to Sheboygan County for the Sonlife Strategy Seminar some 18 years ago.”

Dave and Rennie’s spiritual background is extensive and equally diverse.

“We lived in Racine for nine years as associate pastors of Grace Community and our children were born there,” Rennie said. “We since have done much ministry with women’s ministry, church planting, rural ministries. student ministries and The Evangelical Free Church of American Forest Lakes District.

“Two weeks ago we trained students and leaders in a middle school about these same principles of living with one another and God,” she said. “People from Chippewa Falls and a team from Rice Lake were there. This past weekend we were in Jump River/Sheldon, Wisconsin with a rural youth ministry and then follow up with training and equipping church leaders.”

While the number of current volunteers, organization leaders and prospective volunteers in attendance at the May 14 workshop is hard to gauge, Rennie says the size of the group is not the most important part of the training session.

“We are not ever really into numbers as much as we are passionate about training and equipping any person who wants to grow in their heart and skills,” with between 2 and Rennie said. “We have worked 300 people in this particular type of training.”

If Love INC is in need of more assistance from Cadre Ministries in the future, Rennie and Dave would jump at the opportunity.

“We hope to grow with the Love INC team and so we are willing to continue to write training with them,” Rennie said. “Since the beginning of our relationships, we have been so engaging and heart connecting.

“I do pray for more times together, not just for Love INC, but for Dave and I to grow with them as well,” she said. “We love learning.”

Popp is hoping for a large turnout.

“We are anticipating Love INC staff and board membership to attend, as well as volunteers,” Popp said. “Our intention is to offer future trainings as we move toward discovering the joy of Jesus-like discipleship. This is our first step.”

Those interested are encouraged to register at

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