Change is in the Air

Fall is a time of visual and tangible change. We see the change in foliage colors, we enjoy the cooler and often dryer air. A new school year has begun – a new football season!

For Operation Inasmuch significant change began last October 2018 when Executive Director, John Daugherty, shared with our board of directors that he planned to retire December 2019. That announcement began several months of transition.

“Inasmuch Champions”: Mike Pearce (AL), Kathy Hughes (VA), Susie Reeder (NC), Paul Langston (NC), and Walter Taylor (TN)

To work through the year of transition, we recruited very strategically for the incoming board members with an emphasis on good leadership skills. The board then made two very positive, strategic decisions. First, it was determined to secure the services of an organizational and leadership coach. Ircel Harrison of Murfreesboro, TN with Pinnacle Leadership Associates contracted with the board to help with thinking through what Inasmuch hoped to be in the next few years and to evaluate what was most important for moving in that direction. Ircel suggested a full-day retreat with the board along with some “Inasmuch Champions” recruited from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee who have been strong leaders and supporters over the years. That retreat was held on March 2, 2019 and proved to be of significant value in the transition process.

The second strategic decision was to contract with the Alliance for Better Nonprofits in Knoxville to help lead the executive search process. Elle Benson of ABN worked with the board in fine-tuning the job description along with professional and faith expectations. She was very instrumental in spreading the job opening among their vast network of other nonprofits, in addition to utilizing other ministry and professional networks associated with Inasmuch. In all we received over 70 responses to the job announcement. Given the clear directives for how to apply, there were over 20 who made the cut to be reviewed. The board reviewed and rated those using a matrix developed by ABN and narrowed the field down to four candidates who were invited for the first round of interviews.

The first interviews were conducted on Tuesday, July 16. Each candidate was interviewed by the full board and staff, the candidate then met with directors, John and David, along with board president, David Renfro. The board had a debriefing before the next interview. This was an all-day process which proved to be very fruitful.

There was unanimous agreement on the top candidate but not on the next one or two. The board decided to have the top candidate back for a second interview and depending on how that went, a decision was then made about whether to invite back any of the other three.

Gene Whaley, Executive Director of Kingswood Home for Children in Bean Station, TN, was invited for a second interview held on July 29. After his time with the board and staff, it was decided, again unanimously, to offer him the position of Executive Director of Operation Inasmuch. Gene has accepted the offer and will officially begin his work with Inasmuch on October 22 traveling with John to Fayetteville, NC to be part of the annual donor event that evening at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

Gene brings with him strength in nonprofit organizational development and fundraising, along with a deep commitment to seeing churches energized to be the hands and feet of Christ through compassion ministry. He is a strong lay leader in his church in Morristown, TN and has a heart for the “least of these.” Gene wrote, “In my current position of leadership and throughout most of my adult professional life, I have sought to serve families and children, usually ones that would be considered the least of these. This should be the heartbeat of the Church as we go about doing God’s work.”

Undergirding this entire process has been the faithful prayers from our friends and supporters, and particularly the Inasmuch Prayer Team. At every strategic stage the Prayer Team was invited to bathe that particular process in prayer. We believe, without doubt, the entire process and the new director are the direct result of faithful prayer.

Thanks be to God!

Faithful Inasmuch Church Rises from the Ashes

2015 fire @ Bethlehem Baptist

Just weeks after completing their seventh year of conducting an Inasmuch Day on July 18, 2015, most of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Taylorsville, NC was destroyed by fire. All that was left was the lower part of the fellowship hall. For several months while smoke damage was repaired, the church met at a nearby elementary school. However, before the year was over, they were able to meet again on the church property in what was left and salvaged of the fellowship area.

For over four years the church continued to make do while new facilities were built and on Sunday, August 4, 2019 the new sanctuary was dedicated and fully in use. Through those years of rebuilding from the ashes, the church continued to faithfully conduct their annual Inasmuch Day. As coordinator, Milton Good, said, “we never once thought about not doing Operation Inasmuch. It is so much a part of who we are and what we do. It is fulfilling one of Jesus’ commands from Matthew 25:40…to do unto the least of these.” [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…]

Statistics… And Why They Matter

As a whole, people think they don’t like statistics and question how much they matter. Honestly, in some instances, statistics can be and are manipulated. For church leaders, if we’re not careful, too much emphasis can be placed on numbers, especially if we forget to associate those numbers with people.

Operation Inasmuch works to gather reports from churches and organizations who conduct Inasmuch Days and/or Inasmuch United events. Most churches help us with sharing their statistics; others wonder why we need or want them and question why anyone needs to know what they are achieving through compassion ministry in their own communities.

I should confess I like statistics. I believe they help us get a glimpse of the impact our efforts are having through ministry and serving. They help us see where we can improve. They help tell the story of Jesus’ followers seeking to “serve the un-served, love the un-loved, and reach the un-churched” through compassion ministry. [Read more…]

20% Increase in Attendance… WOW!

I don’t know of any church or church leader who wouldn’t want to experience a 20% increase in attendance. In less than a month after a compassion ministry project in their community, Union City Baptist Church, in a rural farming community near Richmond, KY, has reported their experience of that increase following an Inasmuch event conducted in September of this year. 

Union City Baptist has been conducting Inasmuch Days and Inasmuch United events with a neighboring church since its first effort in the spring of 2016. After that first Inasmuch Day the church committed to conducting two Inasmuch events each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. From May 2016 through September 2018 the church has produced a total of 200 volunteers who have worked over 1,600 hours on 21 projects. They have served nearly 1,200 of their neighbors at a community value of almost $41,000.

Those are the kinds of statistics a church can amass when it commits to be the hands, feet, eyes and heart of Jesus in their own communities. Union City Baptist has been averaging around 100 each week in worship and between 40-45 in Bible study before their last Inasmuch Day. In the weeks since, the church has experienced an increase of around 20 people each Sunday in both worship and Sunday School. “God is working in our church family and in our community,” according to Inasmuch church coordinator, Bill Hendricks. Bill added, “I believe people are impressed when churches work together and when they see men, especially, leading and serving.” In the Spring the Baptist church joins its neighbor Christian church in conducting projects involving all ages working together. [Read more…]

International Expressions of Operation Inasmuch

First Eastside Baptist Church Inasmuch Day

On Saturday August 4, I had the privilege of meeting Pastor Khem Arcojada, his mother, Aida, from the Philippines, and his sister and her family who now live in Virginia. Khem is the pastor of First Eastside Baptist Church in Valencia City, Bukidnon, Philippines where his father was the pastor until his death. The Arcojadas were in the US visiting family and were able to drop by to see our offices and to share how Inasmuch impacted their church and their community.

David Smith, formerly of the Radford area of Virginia, introduced the Inasmuch model in the Philippines and sponsored the Inasmuch Day at First Eastside in Valencia City. David now lives in the Philippines with his wife and her family.

Earlier in the summer we received a report from Rwenzori Organization for Children Living Under Difficult Circumstances (ROCDiC) in Kasese, Uganda. The first contact we had with Ivan, the director of the ministry for refugee young people, was a request for Operation Inasmuch shirts for them to wear as they served another ministry in their area. In early June the staff and residents of ROCDiC wanted to give back and chose to conduct an Inasmuch Day by serving the Burumbika Health Center. They completed several projects around the grounds and facilities there. View pictures from their event here. [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…]

Simply Show Up

Sometimes, all we need to do is share a story. Thanks to our friend, Hal Melton, Associate Pastor of Missions and Senior Adults at Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC for sharing this wonderful testimony from Rev. Elizabeth Burgess and the project she led on their Inasmuch Day April 25 of this year.

 

“Prior to departing for our Inasmuch Wake Med adventure, our group gathered to momentarily reflect on why we were going. More than a project, it was our hope that this morning would bring opportunities to share the love of God and the hope we have in Christ Jesus. Together we acknowledged that failure to bear and share fruit in the Christian life is to keep others from being blessed as God intended.

As it turned out, I believe our hospital visit that morning was on the calendar long before any one of us knew we would be going. Among our first encounters was a family going through a crisis. A member of our group found these weary and worn souls camping out in the critical care waiting area. For them, a warm breakfast provided much needed comfort and sustainment. Our team members with the gift of hospitality were quick to serve. Others stepped up to offer words of encouragement. [Read more…]