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…]

Operation Inasmuch and Carson-Newman University Share an Anniversary

Ten Years and Counting for Inasmuch at Carson-Newman University

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When were your values formed?  When in your development did you decide what you wanted to be involved in?  Most of us would answer these questions “in my college years.”

Knowing this, Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee, has promoted community service for all of their students and Inasmuch has been a major piece of this strategy.  October 24 was the 10th Operation Inasmuch at Carson-Newman with more than 550 students and faculty involved.  A special video was made for the occasion and it may be viewed at:  Celebration Video.

At the kickoff gathering prior to the students scattering throughout the Jefferson City area and beyond to serve
needy families and agencies, Dr. Randall O’Brien, President of Carson-Newman expressed his gratitude for the partnership the school has enjoyed for 10 years with Inasmuch.  He said that Inasmuch has been a sort of stack pole for much of what they have done in the way of community service.  It has been a way for hundreds of students to get taste of service, then move on from there to serve at other times and in other ways throughout their college experience.  [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…]

A Tale of Two Women and Inasmuch

Nell at the Samaritan House

The first woman is Nell (not her real name) – a middle aged, homeless woman who lives in Sumter, South Carolina. Nell suffered from domestic abuse for years until she finally moved out of her home and in with a friend. Her job at a nearby Salvation Army helped her to survive on her own . . . for a while. But when the Air Force shipped out Nell’s friend and the Salvation Army closed, Nell was left homeless and unemployed. The streets of Sumter became her home and handouts from anyone who had mercy on her were her sustenance.

Eventually, Nell discovered the Samaritan House, a homeless shelter in Sumter. We do not know how often Nell went to the Samaritan House, but we do know that it provided her with a life-changing encounter.

The second woman is Alice (not her real name) – a twenty-something single woman, a medical professional who also lives in Sumter. About a year ago, Alice lost her job. Even worse, she was accused of misdeeds that led to a judgment against her for which her penance was 200 hours of community service…

Alice is an active member of the First Church of God, Sumter, so she inquired what she might do around the church to fulfill her required community service. Alice accepted the assignment of making a video the church’s softball team. Although she had never created a video before, Alice discovered a new talent and soon became the official videographer for the church.

Alice, Inasmuch Volunteers, and a Client of the Samaritan House

Over the months, Alice completed 182 job applications and all the while nursed deep resentment over the events that led to her unemployment and her “required” service. As she tells the story, God used that time to soften her heart and show her that He had a better plan. At some point Alice learned that all the volunteer time she’d put in at the church would not satisfy her community service atonement – which only fueled her resentment.  Nevertheless, Alice found appropriate service at the local Habitat Restore. When Alice completed her required service, she continued to volunteer at the Restore.

First Church of God, Sumter, participated with a dozen other churches in the first Inasmuch United Sumter this past April. The church conducted 21 projects with a little more than half of their average Sunday attendance participating. The Inasmuch organizers asked Alice to visit all of the projects video their members serving that day. She went to 32 locations to interview and take videos of her fellow church members as they volunteered.

Alice’s last stop was at the Samaritan House where church members served a meal to the homeless. She noticed a woman sitting by herself. It was Nell. Alice invited Nell to her church and offered to give her a ride the following day. Nell quickly accepted saying: “I’ve been looking for a church to attend.”

Inasmuch Meal Served at Samaritan House

Following worship, Alice invited Nell to stay for a spaghetti dinner at the church. The church members at dinner welcomed Nell warmly although they had no knowledge of her story or homelessness. So many people greeted Nell that she began to cry.  She said: “I have never felt so loved, not even by my own family!” When Alice and others comforted her, Nell said: “Earlier your pastor talked about how a person can receive Jesus and be baptized. I want to do that.”

Alice led her new friend into the pastor’s office where he shared the gospel with Nell and she prayed the Sinner’s Prayer. Says Alice: “I know Nell accepted Christ right then because I have never felt the power of the Holy Spirit like I did at that moment.”

Later that week, Alice called her friends at the Habitat Restore and asked if they had a job opening. They did and they hired Nell that day. The same day a medical facility in Sumter hired Alice.

Two women: unemployed, mistreated, in need of mercy and grace, brought together by Inasmuch, and forever united in eternity.

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.

Mercy vs. Evangelism

Tim Keller, John Piper, and Don Carson discuss whether churches should be committed to mercy or to evangelism in this video from The Gospel Coalition: