Strengthening Community Missions Through Partnerships

Soon after Operation Inasmuch began in 1995, Baptist Men of North Carolina recognized the potential of this grassroots model of community ministry for churches across the state. At first, they encouraged NC Baptist congregations to consider learning how to conduct their own Inasmuch event by participating in a training experience at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church where Inasmuch began. “This was very early,” says David Crocker, Founder of Inasmuch. “We had no training materials or much of an idea how to train other churches, but we did our best and some churches took what we offered and had very good initial experiences with Inasmuch.”

Somewhere around 2007 Baptist Men and Inasmuch formed a partnership that resulted in a massive Inasmuch event on April 19, 2008. On that date more than a thousand churches across the state of North Carolina, from the mountains to the sea, all 100 counties in the state had Inasmuch events!

Baptist Men, who are committed to hands-on ministry, much of it in disaster relief, introduced their large statewide network to Inasmuch who trained hundreds of churches in how to conduct an Inasmuch Day. Training events were conducted in all 10 regions of the state. Baptist Men arranged for these events; Inasmuch conducted the training, and ministry took place across the state. “Churches, individual believers, countless people in need, and in some cases, who communities have been impacted as a result of the partnership between Baptist Men and Inasmuch,” says Crocker. “There is no way we could have ever expected Inasmuch to grow as it has without the help of Richard Brunson and the entire Baptist Men’s organization.”

Special thank you to Richard Brunson and Paul Langston of Baptist Men for sharing their story with us.

Collaboration to the Max

Volunteers from 23 different countries were represented!

On Saturday, August 29 Operation Inasmuch collaborated with a host of other organizations and entities to pack 40,650 nutritious meals which will be distributed over the next few months. David Crocker, Founder of Operation Inasmuch says, “Of all the events we have conducted, this one may be the most collaborative of all.”

Inasmuch partnered with Knoxville Internationals Network to conduct the event. Funding was secured through two local foundations — Y12 Federal Credit Union and the Robert L. Weiss Foundation. Woodlawn Christian Church in Knoxville hosted the event as well as providing some of their members as volunteers. Volunteers also came from several other churches in the community. Churches represented along with Woodlawn Christian Church included Eden Chapel, Calvary Baptist Church, Arabic Christian Church, Bridge Church, Corryton Church, His Grace (African) Christian Church, Russian Christian Church, and Central Baptist Church in Bearden. Food was packed and distributed to six local food pantries for them to share throughout the community. The best part of the packing event was the participation of volunteers from 23 nations working together to serve others – truly a “Collaboration to the Max.”

Sometimes it is said that churches are like silos – staying to themselves and doing their own thing. This may be to their detriment when collaborating with other congregations would greatly enhance their impact. Crocker says, “We promote collaboration among churches every chance we get — across denominational, racial, and socio-economic lines. When churches are willing to participate, we stand ready and willing to make this happen.”

One volunteer from Iraq who participated in the event was heard to say, “In my country many churches fight among each other. It’s different in America.” Gene Whaley, Executive Director of Inasmuch, said of the event, “It was a little taste of heaven.”

What makes this event even more amazing is that it took place during one of the most divisive periods in American history. “We need to see more examples of unity,” says Crocker. “The world needs to be reminded how much good can come from people working together for a common cause. We at Inasmuch are extremely grateful that God is providing opportunities for us to point the way. To Him be the glory!”

Click here to view pictures from this event. Check out coverage of the event from a local news station here.

A “Founder” of Operation Inasmuch has Died

The original Missions Committee: Mary Comstock, Rev. Bob Ginn, Jerry Odom, David Crocker, Bob Cogswell, Tom Pitts, Colbert Dilday.

Colbert Dilday of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC, the place of origination for Inasmuch, passed away on June 13, 2020. His obituary rightly says he was one of the founders of Operation Inasmuch because he was on the original Missions Committee of Snyder Memorial who planned the first Inasmuch Day in 1995.

The Sunday morning worship following the first Snyder Memorial Inasmuch Day in March 1995, the church celebrated how God used them to spread His love throughout the Fayetteville community. Pastor David Crocker did not preach that Sunday. Instead, he invited congregants to share from their experiences with Operation Inasmuch. “The sharing was so enthusiastic that we had to call time,” says Crocker. “It was one of the most joyful times I have ever experienced in 40 years of ministry,” he adds.

Dilday was one of the people who shared in that celebration. “I don’t remember everything he said,” says Crocker, “but I do remember he said he’d never been so proud of his church than he was on that Saturday of Inasmuch. One of Colbert’s comments proved to be prophetic. He said: ‘I hope we won’t put a period on this experience but a comma.’

Colbert Dilday is one of the reasons God chose Snyder Memorial Baptist Church to be the people to initiate the Inasmuch ministry. His love for serving people in need, his passion for using his skills to demonstrate God’s love in acts of kindness, and his understanding that the church is a mission outpost for God’s grace made him the perfect person to be part of the vision of Inasmuch in the beginning and its ongoing.

Dilday also exemplified lifestyle compassion ministry. He was instrumental in establishing the Carpentry Ministry at Snyder Memorial that continues to this day. This ministry has built hundreds of wheelchair ramps in the Fayetteville area and made needed home repairs for people who could not make the repairs themselves or afford to pay for them.

 

“No one was more pleased than Colbert to see the Inasmuch ministry established as an ongoing, self-sustaining ministry that has been shared with congregations in 25 states and several other countries,” says Crocker. “He was and always will be one of my heroes in ministry. I am wonderfully blessed to have known him and worked alongside him for a small portion of my life. I am better today because of Colbert and others like him at Snyder Memorial!” says Crocker.

Inasmuch Turns 25!

The original Missions Committee: Mary Comstock, Rev. Bob Ginn, Jerry Odom, David Crocker, Bob Cogswell, Tom Pitts, Colbert Dilday. Not pictured: Marshall Logue

How do you know when God inspires an idea? By how big it is? Or how many people are impacted by it? Or how it reveals more of God Himself? Or how long it endures? The answer to all these questions is: YES!!

Twenty-five years ago, a church in Fayetteville, NC tried something they had never done before (which means they got past the biggest barrier to innovation in any church – the saying “We haven’t done it that way before.”) and it changed not only that church but hundreds of others as well. In 1995, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church conducted the first ever Inasmuch Day. Twenty-five years later there are more than 2,000 churches in 25 states and 4 countries doing Inasmuch!

It all started when the staff of Snyder Memorial was planning the church calendar in their annual retreat at Litchfield, NC. They considered a revival – a series of services lasting a week in which a guest preacher and perhaps guest musician would attempt to rev up the congregation to be more passionate about their faith and their witnessing. As the staff talked, they agreed that maybe it was time for a different approach. One of the ideas floated was an emphasis on serving people in need in their community. The more they talked, the more excited they became about the possibilities for this idea. [Read more…]

Unstoppable Jim Duncan Loved Inasmuch

Some people make an impression by their achievements and their honors. Some do so by their charisma or unique personality. And a few impress others by their character and perseverance. Jim Duncan of Fayetteville, NC was such a person.

Jim was born and raised in Alabama, fibbed about his age to join the Army as a teenager, rose through the ranks until he reached Command Sergeant Major (the highest rank for enlisted personnel), and retired after 27 years in the Army. He married the love of his life, Jean, when he was a teenager and these two shared 72 years together. The last 20 years of his life saw him struggle with emphysema and at least the last 10 years of his life he was tethered to an oxygen tank 24-7. On August 6, Jim Duncan was released from his struggle and ushered into that place God has held in reserve for him for almost all of his living days.

Jim was among the first to participate in Operation Inasmuch at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church of Fayetteville in 1995. For nearly 20 years, every time the church held an Inasmuch Day Jim and Jean were part of it. Most years Jim was involved in home repair projects because he was good with his hands and enjoyed that kind of work. The photo to the right shows Jim in one of his last Inasmuch projects. The large, dark object on his back is his oxygen tank. Hence the title “Unstoppable Jim Duncan.”

David Crocker, Founder of the Inasmuch ministry, participated in Jim’s funeral at Snyder Memorial. He pointed to this photo which was printed on the funeral program. He said, “This picture says exactly how I remember Jim Duncan. First, he was on a ladder working on an Inasmuch home repair project with an oxygen tank on his back. Most people wouldn’t do that. They would say ‘I can’t do that work anymore.’ Not Jim. Instead, he said ‘what needs doing here?’ and he set about doing it.” [Read more…]

150,000 Meals Packed in Johnson City, TN

In 2018 as Central Baptist Church of Johnson City, TN began planning for their 150th anniversary in 2019, they talked about the usual aspects of such a celebration – remembering the great history of the church, having a huge dinner-on-the-grounds celebration, and so forth. But they also wanted a way to show their community how much they love them and how much God loves them.

They invited David Crocker (Inasmuch Founder and former pastor of CBC) to work with the 150th Anniversary Team specifically regarding a community-wide service event. He suggested that they conduct a food packing event in which 150,000 nutritional meals would be packed. Their immediate response was “Let’s do it!” On April 6, 2019, over 500 volunteers from Central Baptist Church, other area churches, and other groups in Johnson City packed 150,000 meals for the hungry people of Northeast Tennessee. View some pictures from the event here.

These meals were donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee serving eight counties in the northeast corner of TN. Second Harvest will distribute them through their normal channels of distribution over several months. Executive Director, Rhonda Chaffin, said: “Thousands of our neighbors in northeast TN will receive these meals. You have truly taken ‘a bite’ out of hunger through this event.” [Read more…]

Hundreds of Orphans Fed

For the second consecutive year, Operation Inasmuch is shipping 130,000 nutritious meals to Guatemala which will provide good food to many hundreds of orphans in that country. Operation Inasmuch has partnered with Orphans Resources International (PA) to make this food available to some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

David Crocker, Founder of Operation Inasmuch, says: “We are extremely pleased to be able to provide so much nutritious food at no cost to Guatemalan children. Many of us have seen the devastation brought on by a major eruption in that poor country. Our hope is the food we have given will help alleviate some of the suffering there.”

Some of the children at these orphanages are shown in this article receiving the food donated by Inasmuch. The food is prepared on site and served warm to the children.

The Inasmuch ministry began offering food packing events to churches and other groups as an extension of our ministry five years ago. We did not seek this opportunity, but it is now clear that God brought it to us. Altogether Inasmuch has staged packing events in four states totaling about 750,000 meals… and most of these meals have gone to Guatemala. [Read more…]

Need + Passion = Lifestyle Compassion Ministry

Bill and Judi Willard had no intention of establishing a regular, long-term ministry to the veterans at the Veterans Restoration Quarters (VRQ) in Asheville, NC, when they agreed to prepare and serve breakfast one Saturday as one of the projects of the Beverly Hills Baptist Church (Asheville) Inasmuch Day, but that’s what happened. That was 2008. Ten years later they and friends from their church are preparing and serving a home-cooked meal to about 100 veterans once a month. (Judi is the youngest sister of David Crocker.)

David Crocker, Founder of the Inasmuch ministry, often says: “When we do what God tells us to do, He always has more in mind.” With the Willards, it was to serve up fried okra and/or pork loin and/or made-from-scratch cake or a variety of menus to the veterans at the VRQ every month for 10+ years.

The Willards have gotten their Sunday School Class involved, too. For a while the Willards were covering the costs of the meals they served but it became more than they could do, so they asked the class to help. Now the class totally covers the costs. Also, as many as 20 members of the class have served alongside the Willards from time to time. [Read more…]

Quarters for Jesus

How long would it take to collect $700 in quarters? Answer: 2.5 months . . . IF you go to Sunday School classes every week during that period of time . . . and IF you are collecting quarters for an Inasmuch laundromat project . . . and IF you have a cute, little girl dressed in an Inasmuch shirt collecting for you!

David Crocker (former Executive Director of the national Operation Inasmuch ministry), Interim Pastor of First Baptist Church, Weaverville, NC says: “When we decided to include in our Inasmuch event this spring ministering to people at the local laundromat by feeding the washing machines and dryers quarters as well as otherwise helping people with their laundry, we were told it would take a lot of quarters to do that. So, we made that a weekly collection task during Sunday School and we collected far more quarters than we needed!”

Pictured here is Carissa Alexander, a first grader at FBC, Weaverville who was tapped by Crocker to go from class to class asking for quarters. It became something everyone looked forward to. Some brought medicine bottles or sandwich bags filled with quarters. Some gave “folding money” which was later changed into quarters.

Crocker says: “The plastic jug we used to collect the quarters soon became too heavy for Carissa to carry, so we found a small wagon in which she placed the jug and pulled the wagon from class to class. It was one of the most effective fundraising efforts I’ve ever seen! Let’s just say the class of senior adult men were helpless against Carissa’s pleas for quarters!”

In addition to raising a lot of quarters, collecting quarters for Jesus became one of the most talked about things we did to promote our Inasmuch event. As Carissa was collecting quarters in a classroom filled with adults, Crocker reminded everyone about the upcoming Inasmuch event and how they could be involved. The church had 75 percent of their average Sunday morning attendance involved in their Inasmuch event.

First Baptist Church partnered with Weaverville United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and Woodland Hills Church for Inasmuch United Weaverville on April 28, 2018. Two hundred volunteers completed 22 projects, served 1,254 people for a dollar value of $18,332 for their event.

Crocker quips: “This is what I will be remembered for at First Baptist, not the sermons I preached or visits I made, but the collection of quarters for Jesus. And that’s just fine with me!”

Inasmuch Feeds Orphans

Volunteers from Central Baptist of Bearden in Knoxville packing meals.

For the third time in four years, Operation Inasmuch has sent thousands of meals to Guatemala… this time to feed orphans in as many as 50 orphanages.  In two food packing events in Knoxville, Tennessee 100,000 meals were prepared by about 450 volunteers.  This month these meals were shipped to Guatemala and will be distributed by Orphans Resources to children in 50 orphanages.  Visit our Facebook page to view pictures from the events.

Rod Martin, President of Orphans Resources says: “I would like to thank Operation Inasmuch and all their supporters who put this food together.  It will go to 50+ orphanages in Guatemala Central America and feed 2700 orphans.  The homes tell us many times that they could not exist without the donations of food products.  May God bless you richly for caring for the orphans as God has directed his people to do so many times in the Bible.”

Food packing projects have been an auxiliary ministry within the larger Inasmuch ministry since 2013.  David Crocker, Founder of the Inasmuch ministry and coordinator of the packing projects says: “When we got into the packing ‘business’ we really didn’t know what to expect.  We knew it fit who we are and what we do in terms of our mission, but we weren’t sure how it would go.  Well, here we are several years and about three quarters of a million meals later no longer wondering about it!”

“In our first year, we packed more than 300,000 meals,” says Crocker.  “The next year we did about the same.  And this year we have done 140,000 meals and expect to exceed 250,000 by year end.” [Read more…]