Inasmuch in the Philippines

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Inasmuch United Taken to a New Level

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Some of the volunteers serving and those served gather for a group picture.

Many churches are learning that they can impact their community with Inasmuch, but what about the world?!  Congregations in Radford, Virginia, would answer in a resounding Yes!  Four Radford churches (Baptist, Methodist, Christian and Presbyterian) conducted their first Inasmuch United event in September of 2014.

But they didn’t stop there.  They also “collaborated” with two congregations in the Philippines which conducted their first Inasmuch on the same day!  (Actually, since the Philippines is located west of the international date line, their Inasmuch was technically the date before the one in Radford.)  The Filipino congregations videoed their Inasmuch and posted it on YouTube.  When the Radford churches gathered for their Inasmuch, they were able to see what their Filipino brothers and sisters did a few hours before!  [Read more…]

Inasmuch Transforms

“The Church Is Changed!”

west hampton bc

West Hampton Baptist Church in West Hampton, Virginia

West Hampton Baptist Church in Hampton, VA, is not the same church.  The building looks the same.  For the most part, the same people attend and most of the activities are the same as they have been for a long time.  But according to Sohn McGough, Coordinator of West Hampton’s recent Inasmuch Day, the church has most definitely changed.

 

“It was a day of miracles!” says McGough.  “Everywhere we turned on our Inasmuch Day we were surprised at how God multiplied our efforts.”  We planned to give out 50 care packages to nursing home patients and it ended up being about 180.  We noticed that the staff at the nursing home were less than enthusiastic about our coming, so we gave 40 of the care packages to them.  They were excited to see that we cared about them as well as the patients.  Furthermore, we have made a commitment to continue ministering to them every month!”  [Read more…]

Inasmuch Feeds Thousands in Guatemala

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The loaded container made its way from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Guatemala.

In April a shipping container with 252,000 meals was sent from Knoxville, Tennessee to Guatemala.  In June a team of volunteers from Central Baptist Church, Johnson City which included David Crocker, Executive Director of Operation Inasmuch and Corky Corcoran, member of the Inasmuch Board of Directors, gave out about 6,000 of those meals to people of three villages in rural Guatemala.

                                    

                        The container was opened revealing the 252,000 meals.  Unloading was hard but rewarding work.

“Giving tasty, nutritious meals to people, some of whom are not able to eat every day, is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done,” says Crocker.  “Having been on the production end of providing these meals with literally hundreds of church volunteers, it was an extremely rewarding experience to be on the distribution end as well,” adds Crocker.  “Shipping a full container of food to Guatemala is one of the most ambitious things we have attempted.  Now we know that many thousands of poor Guatemalans will benefit from these efforts this year.”  [Read more…]

Collegians Tap Inasmuch to Serve

It’s common knowledge that college students love to “give back,” or serve people in need and more of them are discovering

Virginia students serve in Inasmuch Day.

Virginia students serve in Inasmuch Day.

that the Inasmuch model is useful in achieving that worthy goal.  Last fall 46 members of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, conducted an Inasmuch Day on their campus.  They bused tables in the dining hall, picked up trash around campus and delivered homemade cookies to the campus police.  In a creative way to serve, these Inasmuch volunteers gave away toilet paper to their fellow students and wrote notes of appreciation to the faculty.

“We wanted to show our fellow students and faculty that we care about them and Inasmuch provided the structure for us to do that,” said Cheri Wise, BCM Minister.  “We all wore Inasmuch T-shirts and so were visible as we served throughout the day.”

A second Inasmuch Day is planned for this spring at Longwood, this time with 2 other Christian organizations participating.  Word of Inasmuch at Longwood spread to the Baptist Campus Ministry at Old Dominion University in eastern Virginia.  The ODU group conducted their first Inasmuch Day on February 7 & 8.  With only 25 students participating they conducted more than a dozen projects.

Scott Anderson, BCM Minister at ODU said:  “The feeling I got from the students is that serving people becomes contagious.  They want more and have already asked when we can do this again.  Their eyes were definitely opened to the needs of people around them.”

Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity at the University of Tennessee conducted their first Inasmuch Day on November 2, 2013.  A Christian fraternity, BYX is intentional about incorporating compassion ministry in their fraternity life.  The group mobilized 8 teams of volunteers in November.  They constructed a wheelchair ramp for disabled widow, painted transitional housing for FOCUS Prison Ministries, sorted donated items at the Salvation Army and Angelic Ministries in Knoxville.

University of Tennessee BXY Fraternity students during their Inasmuch event.

University of Tennessee BXY fraternity students sort and organize items for an agency during their Inasmuch event.

Reporting their ministry to a group of Inasmuch supporters the following day, Preston Morris, Chaplain for BYX, said:  “We thoroughly enjoyed working with Operation Inasmuch in organizing our service projects.  It was a big help for them to facilitate our contacts with organizations here in Knoxville who could use our help.”

BYX is planning a second Inasmuch Day this spring.  Meeting with David Crocker, Executive Director of the Inasmuch Ministry, Blake Barton BYX Service Chair said:  “We’re excited about making a difference even while we are students.  Serving people in need is most definitely part of the Christian life and we provide these events as a way of reinforcing that understanding.”

Crocker says:  “Our ultimate goal is to catalyze a compassion revolution.  Working with these college groups does much to encourage us that such a movement is in fact in process.  As many of these students eventually become leaders in congregations across the country, our hope is that they will take their experiences with Inasmuch with them and bring those congregations into the revolution as well.”

Inasmuch Revival Produces 125% Participation

What’s an Inasmuch Revival?  It is an effective, intensive way of motivating church folk to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their community.  In September, Colosse Baptist Church, West Point, VA, conducted their first Inasmuch Day.  They had 125% of their average Sunday attendance involved!!  They attribute much of that extraordinary success to what they call an Inasmuch Revival—a series of church renewal services the week of their Inasmuch Day.  Phil Peacock, pastor of Broadus Memorial Baptist Church nearby, preached the revival.  Broadus had conducted their first Inasmuch Day in 2012 and Peacock often referenced his church’s experience with Inasmuch as he preached in Colosse.  Steve Smith, Pastor at Colosse says:  “The revival really helped prepare our congregation to participate in Operation Inasmuch.” 

David Crocker, Executive Director of the national Inasmuch Ministry says:  “What’s interesting about Colosse’s experience is that this is precisely the way Inasmuch happened initially in 1995!  Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Fayetteville, pioneered Operation Inasmuch at the conclusion of a series of renewal services.  We found it to be enormously effective in motivating folks to get involved and apparently Colosse in Virginia has made the same discovery.”

Although Colosse Baptist is located in a rural area and they are not a large church by any measurement, they achieved 125% participation as folk who rarely attend worship and college students came home that weekend to participate.  Holding the revival services with compassion ministry as the focus Sunday through Wednesday prior to their Inasmuch Day on Saturday clearly enhanced their overall experience.

               Mark Townsend, Colosse’s Inasmuch Coordinator says the church conducted 24 projects in their Inasmuch Day—food collection for food pantries, sewing pillowcases for a nearby hospital, assisting customers at a local Laundromat, clothing and money giveaways at a local gas station, visiting a juvenile detention center, and many others.  He adds that one of the keys to their success is the training they received from the Inasmuch ministry several months earlier.  Also, they purchased the Inasmuch Day Training Kit which provided lots of useful resources and instructions as they prepared for their event.

Townsend smiles when he tells about Colosse’s celebration.  He says in his church folk sometimes complain when Sunday worship runs past Noon.  But on the Sunday following Inasmuch, the pastor asked people to share from their experiences with Inasmuch the day before.  THAT day worship ran until 1:00 “and no one complained!” says Townsend.

“Our people are already talking about our Inasmuch for next year,” says Townsend.  “Inasmuch has helped us see some of the needs in our community AND our ability to meet those needs.  We are a different church today because of Inasmuch.”

SRO for Inasmuch in Milwaukee

It was SRO (standing room only) for the Inasmuch workshops at the Greater Milwaukee Lutheran Synod at the end of May.  At the invitation of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Slinger, Wisconsin—the only Inasmuch church in all of Wisconsin at this time—David Crocker exhibited and led two workshops about Inasmuch at the Synod General Assembly.  About 90 people representing 70+ congregations attended the workshops.

It literally was standing room only during David Crocker’s workshops sharing the Inasmuch Day and Inasmuch United concepts with the Synod in Milwaukee.

“As they say on the evening news, ‘this is a developing story’,” says Crocker.  “A year and half ago, we learned that St. Luke had conducted their first Inasmuch Day.  Karen Berg, the widow of a Lutheran pastor, wanted to fulfill her husband’s desire to see a Lutheran church do Inasmuch. She led the St. Luke congregation to do just that in October of 2011.  When we heard about it, we established contact with that church and asked if they would be willing to share the Inasmuch model of community ministry with other Lutheran churches in Wisconsin.”

“In the spring of 2012, I traveled to Milwaukee and met with Bishop Jeff Barrow of the Greater Milwaukee Synod and Pastor Matt Short of St. Luke and Karen Berg,” says Crocker.  “We were encouraged by Bishop Barrow to pursue our plans to see Inasmuch go Synod wide.  As part of this strategy, I was invited to return to Milwaukee this May.”

Meanwhile, the St. Luke congregation conducted their second Inasmuch last Fall with similar results as the first only fueling their desire to see other Lutheran churches have the same experience.  Based on the interest shown at these workshops, there is good reason to believe the dream of a Synod wide Inasmuch is not far away.

Pastor Short says:  “So often, good-hearted Christians know they should reach out and serve; they want to reach out and serve, but they don’t know where to start.  The members of St. Luke are some of the most compassionate people I know, but they needed a rallying point; they needed a model that would help them put action to their intentions.  Operation Inasmuch has blessed us by showing us how to do the work we knew we were called to do.  Our church, and more importantly, our community will never be the same.”

“One of the things that makes this such a God-thing is how Inasmuch got started in Wisconsin in the first place,” says David Crocker.  “Rev. Terry Berg, Karen’s husband, read a footnote about Inasmuch in the best-selling 40 Days of Purpose, and did the research to find the book Operation Inasmuch: Mobilizing Believers Beyond the Walls of the Church.  He told his wife, ‘This is the 41st day!’  Unfortunately, Rev. Berg succumbed to cancer before he could lead his church to conduct an Inasmuch Day, but Karen has kept that dream alive at St. Luke!  As a result, it now appears dozens of other Lutheran churches and thousands of other Lutherans in Wisconsin will soon become part of the larger Inasmuch family.  Who else could do such a thing but God?!”

This story does not have an ending, . . . not yet anyhow!  God is at work in Wisconsin and many other places using ordinary believers, whether Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist or whatever, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  And His Church is changing in the process.

 

God Winks at Fort Myers

Inasmuch United Fort Myers…HUGE Success!!

Have you seen God wink?  Silly question, you say.  No one sees God, much less His wink!  Some compassionate souls at Fort Myers, Florida, would beg to differ.  They were part of the first Inasmuch United Fort Myers on February 2 and some of them saw God wink.

God winks when our plans go wrong and where they put us is just the place God wants us to be.  We make a wrong turn on a journey only to discover an opportunity we would have missed if we had stayed “on course” and God winks. We fail to get the job of our dreams only to learn later that the company was on shaky ground and soon folded and God winks.

Ready to work...

Ready for a painting project … wonder where he saw God wink during his Inasmuch United Fort Myers experience.

Nine congregations of various denominations and races united in Fort Myers to mobilize right at 1000 people to minister to thousands of their neighbors in need in 75 compassion ministry projects and God was winking the entire day.  One wink was when a volunteer named John went to a Laundromat to “feed the machines,” e.g. pay for up to 3 loads of laundry for customers on the day of the Inasmuch United.  But John went to the wrong Laundromat, but instead of correcting his error, he stayed and served the people there.  One woman was suspicious of his offer to pay for her laundry, so John explained that he was helping out with his community’s Inasmuch because God had been good to him and he wanted to share some of the blessing.  The woman not only accepted his help but also shared that she had recently lost her husband.  As a way of dealing with her grief she had started a blog for other grieving people.  She had just received a response from a woman in another Florida city who had just lost her son to suicide.   Well, . . . John and his wife lost their son to suicide 30 years ago.  So, John and his wife are now communicating with that mother in the other city.  And God winked.

Another volunteer was disappointed to discover on the day of the Inasmuch United Fort Myers that the project she had signed up to do had fallen through at the last minute.  She asked to be reassigned and didn’t really care to which project.  She was sent to a house that was to be pressure washed and painted—with stucco exterior.  Until she arrived no one realized that the project leader had purchased the wrong kind of paint.  Since this volunteer and her husband own a paint store, she went to her store and got the correct paint and donated it to the project.  And God winked.  Next year, she and her husband will donate all the paint to be used on all the painting projects!  So, God may be winking for a long time in Fort Myers.

David Crocker, who went to Fort Myers to train church leaders there to plan and conduct their Inasmuch United event, says:  “These stories illustrate a truth we often hear from folk who participate in an Inasmuch event, namely whenever we do what God tells us to do, He always has more in mind.  When we are obedient to his calling to serve people in need in Jesus’ name, He takes our sometimes simple acts of obedience and does far more with them than we could ever expect.”

Being the Hands and Feet of Jesus by helping to feed the hungry … another Inasmuch United Fort Myers project.

 

When has God winked during your Inasmuch experience?  “God has winked at Inasmuch so many times in recent years that we’ve lost count!” says Crocker.

Inasmuch Assembles 11,000 Meals for the Hungry

In October the Inasmuch ministry assembled more than 11,000 meals to feed hungry people in Haiti with the help of people who gathered in Fayetteville, NC, and Knoxville, TN, to consider their support for the ministry for 2013.  That’s right; these annual fundraising events became major service events!


Executive Director, David Crocker (left), and Robert Marks, Sr. (right) Board President, enjoy watching the meals being packed.

Fundraising is the lifeblood of non-profits.  It is all  about obtaining the support necessary to keep the organization going.  So, when a non-profit turns its annual fundraising events into  service projects whereby thousands of hungry people are supplied with nutritious meals, it’s noteworthy.

“Our fundraising events each year are the largest gatherings of people who support the Inasmuch ministry,” said David Crocker, Executive Director.  “This year we wanted these events to be more than simply sharing the latest and greatest news about the ministry and asking people to support us so we can keep on doing the good work of Inasmuch.  So we invited Kids Against Hunger to come direct food packing projects in Fayetteville and Knoxville to feed hungry people in Haiti.”


The food packing fun began in Fayetteville…

Participants remarked how refreshing it was to do something to help others while renewing or beginning their support for a ministry that is based on the idea of believers serving “the least of these.”  While some were treated to a delicious meal, others packed food for Haiti.  After about half an hour, the groups rotated so that everyone had a chance to help out.  5,040 meals were packed in Fayetteville and 6,024 meals in Knoxville.


And the fun continued in Knoxville!

“We had a about a 60 percent increase in attendance at our fundraising events this year and I am convinced it was because we offered folk a chance actually to do something to serve others,” said Crocker.  “Everyone had a blast.  It was fun and productive and will make a huge difference in the lives other lots of people.  We didn’t just feed ourselves; we fed many more who will never have what we ate at those events.”

He added:  “We are already talking about what we will do next year.  We may go for 20,000 meals!  Wouldn’t that be something?!  Of course, I’m hoping people will see that Inasmuch is about serving people in need . . . anytime, anywhere, any way, even when the ministry has needs ourselves.”

“We are very excited about the future of Inasmuch,” he says.  “With continued and some new support, there is no telling what God will do with this ministry!”

Inasmuch Events Foster Evangelism

The following article was published April, 2012 on the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina web site. It features our Executive Director David Crocker sharing how the an Inasmuch event effectively opens doors to evangelism.

Operation Inasmuch is opportunity to evangelize

By: Buddy Overman

Sharing the gospel in modern America is not as acceptable to the unchurched population as it was just two generations ago. Since that time, the broader culture has turned against the church and embraced secularism.

David Crocker, executive-director and founder of Operation Inasmuch, said the culture shift of the last half century has taken a toll on the church’s efforts to impact lostness.

“The openness to hear the gospel is less than ever,” he said. “And the willingness to share the gospel is less than ever because we are afraid of being rejected.”

During a break out session at the recent NC Baptist Missions Conference in Winston-Salem, Crocker explained how Operation Inasmuch is an effective evangelistic tool that helps break down barriers between the culture and the church.

Operation Inasmuch is a one-day missions effort that encourages churches to minister to those in need in their communities through hands-on, practical efforts such as construction projects, landscaping, painting, block parties and prayer walking.

The compassion-based ministry provides services to the community with no strings attached. Connecting with the community in this way builds bridges between the church and a skeptical culture, and provides Christians a platform from which they can share the love of Christ through word and deed.

“When you serve people first you show them that you care and you earn the right to share with them,” Crocker said.

Crocker pointed out that the model for Operation Inasmuch is based upon the holistic ministry of Jesus, who routinely combined good news with good deeds. But he added that some churches have not taken full advantage of the opportunity to share the gospel while serving their neighbors in practical ways.

“There are a lot of churches that are doing Operation Inasmuch and they may not be realizing the full evangelistic potential of that one day event,” Crocker said.

During the break out session Crocker shared a few practical suggestions that will help churches make Operation Inasmuch as evangelistic as possible.

One approach is to make sure team leaders consistently reinforce to volunteers the motivation behind Operation Inasmuch. Leaders can also help prepare volunteers to share their testimonies while they serve in the community.

Another way churches can emphasize evangelism is to hand out printed materials such as postcards and Bibles. The postcards are an easy way to tell people why the volunteers are serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. Bibles are good resources to give to home owners who receive help with home repair projects.

Crocker’s final suggestion calls for leaders to identify evangelistically gifted volunteers and intentionally move them to multiple projects throughout the community during the day.

He believes when churches use these additional methods they will make a big difference in their communities. “When we put good news and good deeds together it creates good will in the community,” Crocker said. “Most of our communities could use some of that.”

North Carolina Baptists will have the opportunity to participate in Operation Inasmuch April 28 and May 5.

Inasmuch to Unite Knoxville on April 21

The following article was published on April 9, 2012 in the Halls/Fountain City (Tennessee) Shopper News (p. A7) and the Bearden Shopper News (front page):

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