Love KC is the vision of Dr. Gary Kendall and Rev. Belinda Kendall supported by many who desire to see every neighborhood adopted by a disciple living on mission in Kansas City.
In August of 2017, the Kendalls turned the leadership of Indian Creek Community Church (Now Hope Chapel) to friends and mentees Rev. Jake and Sarah Zaske. The Kendalls knew God was leading them to ministry in the “Big C” Church of Kansas City they just didn’t know exactly what that was to look like.
What they heard in their spirit was the call to leave one church to serve many. If they had another chapter or two left in ministry they wanted to use it to focus on the importance of prayer/evangelism and discipleship.
Gary Schmitz, a longtime mentor of Gary’s, called together a group of dreamers in May of 2017 to meet regularly to pray and discuss what was in God’s heart in the next season for Kansas City. The dreamers were Gary Schmitz, Malachi O’Brien, Gary Kendall, Steve Weber, Nancy Mitchell and Eric Rochester. Over several meetings, the idea of sharing and launching a new ministry in KC began to take form.
Gary and Belinda Kendall felt that God asked them to take an “Abraham” journey to “go where I will show you.” They knew they were led to leave the church they founded 32 years earlier and that it was in good hands. They knew they were being led to the city, but the exact nature of the ministry remained a mystery. They said, “yes” to God’s will without knowing the details and felt peace in doing so.
In July of 2017, Gary Kendall was a part of a Sending Project banquet at the Brio in downtown, KCMO. Gary Schmitz sat beside him. Eric Rochester was chairing the meeting. During the program, Gary Kendall believed God was lifting out one of The Sending Project’s goals, the uniting of 100,000+ in KC to pray “kingdom” prayers. Gary said, God seemed to point to the fulfillment of that goal as a priority for the new ministry. Gary talked to Gary Schmitz that day and Eric Rochester the next day about the possibility. They encouraged him. Belinda first, and later the group of dreamers, confirmed the calling over the next month.
As Gary Kendall prayed over the goal, another step became apparent. Gary remembered talking toChris Coopertwelve years earlier at Colonial Presbyterian Church aboutMission America’sstrategy of neighborhood adoption called “prayer, care, share.” Gary believed this was God’s answer to the question, “what do we do after we pray?” Gary perceived there was strong leadership from the Spirit to target adopting all 400 school districts in the greater KC metro. We called them neighborhoods.
In order to go after these new objectives, a new ministry was formed calledLove KC. It would draw from the best of Citywide Prayer and The Sending Project and be a ministry of them. Love KC was added to The Sending Projects “Saturate KC” plan.
Love KC would include staff from both and be connected to the governance of The Sending Project. The Steering Team is made up of the original dreamers plus Robert Castile, Dave Pudhoff, Lance Cleaver and Belinda Kendall.
In October of 2017 Gary Kendall and Chris Cooper met in Grandview, MO. Blesseveryhome.com had the tools that Love KC needs to see every neighborhood in Kansas City adopted. They formed a partnering relationship. Chris asked Gary to become the National Prayer Coodinator of Blesseveryhome.
In 2018, Love KC, is partnered with theWhat if the Church?Network and leader,Matt Adams, in a projectwhere 20+ churches determined to live on mission and adopt neighborhoods where their members lived.
Out of the What if the Church? project Gary and Chris began tracking the number of neighborhoods adopted in Kansas City. The first time they ran the report 436 neighborhoods were adopted by “Lights,” which is what the adopting person was called.
As a part of the project, The American Bible Society asked Gary to write a series of devotionals and publish a book entitled, Love Your Neighbor, a field guide for adopting your neighborhood.
Love KC produces a weekly prayer prompt that includes a scripture the city can agree in prayer concerning KC. It is placed on a beautiful picture and published widely in KC with the hope that 100,000+ in KC will pray the same prayer in agreement weekly. To be added to the distribution list contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In November of 2018 Love KC moved underneath the umbrella of the Mapping Center of Evangelism, a not-for-profit led by Chris Cooper. Chris and his board agreed to allow designated giving to go directly to Love KC. Gary would retain his own board as an operational board but would be subject to the governance of The Mapping Center of Evangelism. The arrangement worked well to allow Gary to partner with Chris and benefit from his tools and national connections at the same time allowing Gary to function in Kansas City to fulfill his calling there.
Love KC began to grow in volunteers, adopted neighborhoods and support throughout the course of 2019 crossing the 2,000 neighborhoods adopted in KC in July.
In July of 2020 Love KC filed for not-for-profit status with the encouragement of Chris Cooper and the board for The Mapping Center of Evangelism. A board formed and bylaws were adopted. By the time of this writing Love KC as a freestanding Association with Blesseveryhome has 2,624 neighborhoods adopted.
The number of neighborhoods adopted is growing at an average of 50 a month for the last 2.5 years. This kind of growth is in large part due to “friends telling friends” about the fulfillment of living on mission where you live, learn, work and play. Many people, churches, and ministries play a role in the Lights in Kansas City growing rapidly. In fact, Kansas City has more “Lights” than any other city in the U.S. as of this writing (July 2020).