Three Areas to Help Your Church Thrive

Serving in today’s world will be different. We are faced with new challenges, emotions, and struggles that make us give pause to serving in the methods that we were used to before the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are playing and replaying the same questions in our minds: “Can I leave my house?”, “Should I wear a mask?”, “What if I get sick while trying to help someone else?”, “Am I being disobedient if I do not rush out to save the world?” Depending on where you live in the country or in the world, people are faced with different sorts of questions and different layers of concerns. It is so difficult to make blanket statements that prove true for all right now. But, we can always start with God’s word.
The Bible is pretty clear about serving your neighbor and taking care of the least of these. I cannot find a caveat that says “unless there is a pandemic or your are fearful.” 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” God’s grace is readily available. His grace fills us with the strength to overcome everything the devil tries to pile on us. God reveals Himself as our helper, protector, healer, provider, and defender. His grace supplies whatever is needed to lift the load and allows us to press on in service to one another.
As we mentioned in this video, we want to encourage you to not forget about your neighbors and your community. As we are being told to stay home or to not gather in large groups, it becomes very easy to stop looking outward to see what the needs are around us. We begin to focus only on our family or only on our church congregations. We forget about the high percentages of unchurched people all around us. And if we really don’t forget, we struggle with the best ways to help.
I want to leave you with three core areas that will help you church thrive during these changing times.
  1. LEADERSHIP – What a challenging time for our pastors and church leaders! We need to pray for these people that have been called and set apart to shepherd the church. With everything happening today, our church leaders have to be able to make quick decisions that impact large numbers of people, all while seeking and trusting Christ for director. Leaders, use this opportunity to refocus on the things that mean the most, both to your local church and to THE CHURCH. Reground your staff and leaders about the biblical vision for your church and go be the church. As you look for ways to reach out to the community through service, you might just find some new, unexpected leaders to meet real needs right in your congregation.
  2. ADAPTABILITY – The importance of adaptability right now can not be understated. This includes adaptability from the leadership and certainly adaptability from the congregation. Let’s not let the devil get a foothold in the church with discord over varying options. Over the next 6 – 12 months, consider possible changes that could occur and pray about how you might respond. Setting more short-term ministry goals with potential “plan B” steps will prove to be effective in the near future. As you look at Operation Inasmuch, think about doing projects in small groups of 10 and under. Even consider spreading out the projects over several weekends to meet any guidelines in place and get the most bang for your buck.
  3. COLLABORATION – This pandemic is definitely a time to come together. The body of Christ is made of many parts and we all have a part to play (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Churches need to unify in ways that they never have before. People are hurting. This pandemic has brought on unexpected deaths, loss of jobs and comfort, and millions of people are looking for hope. The emotional and mental health of people has been affected greatly. Depression and loneliness are at an all-time high and people are seeking fellowship and relationships. What a time for the church to step up, in the name of Jesus, and fill a void! Community agencies will be looking for help as things continue to unfold and again, the church has to be there for the community. Reach out to them as you plan Inasmuch projects to see how you might collaborate through your church.

INASMUCH HIRES NEW ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR

Pastor John Daugherty Joins Inasmuch Staff

Pastor John Daugherty celebrating an Inasmuch Day in Fort Myers, Florida.

Pastor John Daugherty celebrating an Inasmuch Day in Fort Myers, Florida.

Years ago, when the Inasmuch ministry was first launched as a full-time, free-standing ministry, David Crocker was asked about the ministry’s fundraising strategy.  He answered:  “We will live by the belief that God provides.”

For eight and a half years now that line has been more than a sound bite; it has been rock solid belief.  God has indeed provided for Inasmuch.   The most recent example is Rev. John Daugherty who accepted the full-time position of Associate Director with Inasmuch and began working July 1.

Daugherty comes from Fort Myers, FL, where he served as Senior Pastor of City Gate Ministries, formerly First Baptist Church.  He led the church to develop a number of ministries to people in need in Fort Myers and, in 2013, led his church and half a dozen others in downtown Fort Myers to conduct an Inasmuch United event.  Their Facebook page tells the exciting story:  Inasmuch United Fort Myers.

Crocker says:  “For a year and a half we searched diligently for just the right person to join our Team, expanding our capacities and eventually stepping up to the role of Executive Director when I retire.  There were times during the search when it looked gloomy—that such a person could not be found or that we would have to settle for something less than we wanted—but God provided as He always has!”

“When I first got the call from John saying he was interested in our position, I immediately called my wife and said: ‘I just got the call I’ve been waiting for a year and a half!’  John is everything I had hoped we could find in an Associate—a pastor with a passion and proven experience with community ministry, experienced at training and giving presentations and fundraising.  In short, John is the complete package!”  [Read more…]

Inasmuch Adds New Ministry

First Question:  What is essential, inexpensive, nutritious, fun to make, comes in a cardboard box and feeds 216 hungry people?  Answer:  One box of 36 bags of Kids Against Hunger meals packed by volunteers and sent to a third world country.

Second Question:  What is the latest compassion ministry offered by the national office of Operation Inasmuch?  Answer:  Packing low-cost, nutritious meals through the Kids Against Hunger program, thousands at a time.

Fun Food Packing

Kids Against Hunger food packing events are perfect for almost all ages and bring people together working, across generational lines.

Operation Inasmuch, Inc. became an official satellite of Kids Against Hunger (KAH) in March.  As such the Inasmuch ministry is now able to offer congregations, church groups and businesses the opportunity to pack a large number of dehydrated meals that are sent to Haiti and other third world countries.  “We applied to become a KAH satellite because we see this ministry, feeding hungry people, as aligning perfectly with our mission of mobilizing believers to minister to people at their point of need,” says David Crocker, Executive Director of the Inasmuch ministry.  “Also, we see it as an opportunity to offer a new way to serve for those churches already using the Inasmuch model.  Finally, we see the food packing project as a simple and effective way of bringing congregations together as part of a larger Inasmuch United event.”  Kids Against Hunger (www.kidsagainsthunger.com) is an international food-aid organization founded in 1999 “to reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world.”  The Inasmuch ministry is one of about 100 satellites across the nation affiliated with KAH based on New Hope, Minnesota, outside Minneapolis.  Last year alone, KAH satellites packed forty million meals for hungry people around the world!

Food packing events are fun and build a community spirit for the group working together.

The Inasmuch ministry has already conducted two KAH packing events:  Central Baptist Church of Bearden, Knoxville, TN on March 17—53,118 meals packed—and Faith Promise Church, Knoxville, TN on April 13—50,000 meals packed.  More than 300 volunteers were involved at Central Baptist and about 170 at Faith Promise.

Crocker says, “The food packing endeavor will never become the primary aspect of the Inasmuch ministry, merely an ‘add-on’ for those churches that either want to introduce a new ‘wrinkle’ into their ongoing Inasmuch events or want to use the packing as a sort of stack pole project for an Inasmuch United event.”

“Because of the logistics of staging a KAH packing event, far and away most of them will be within a short radius of Knoxville,” adds Crocker.  “Occasionally, when the event is large enough to merit the efforts required to move the packing equipment a long distance, we will undertake packing projects at some distance from our home office in Knoxville.”

Churches interested in staging a food packing event should contact the Inasmuch ministry at 865-951-2511 or david@operationinasmuch.org.

Pastors Say What’s Important

Do you ever wonder what pastors worry about? What they think is important?

The Columbia Partnership (TCP, an Inasmuch ministry partner – visit www.thecolumbiapartnership.org) hopes to help us learn what pastors are concerned about. TCP is conducting a series of surveys of pastors and church staff to identify the most important issues they face. The first of these surveys asks the leaders to rate each of 10 issues:

  • Building,
  • Technology/Social Media/Marketing,
  • Community Context,
  • Discipleship,
  • Financial,
  • Worship and Music,
  • Conflict and Communication,
  • Governance,
  • Leadership Development,
  • Growth and/or Missional issues.

The runaway “most important issues” were:

  • Growth and/or Missional Issues (92% Significantly or Highly Important) and
  • Discipleship Issues (86% Significantly or Highly Important).

This tells us is that ministry leaders on the front lines are most concerned about how the church is equipping their people to be authentic followers of Jesus in a post-church culture.

It’s encouraging to know that Operation Inasmuch’s ministry “scratches where ministers itch.” That is to say, we provide motivation, education, and structure to help believers do what Jesus did and what He commanded his followers to do.

Increasingly, authenticity is measured not in theological terms or denominational affiliation, but in hands-on demonstrations of  Jesus’ heart in local communities.  Operation Inasmuch has helped hundreds of congregations to be the hands and feet of Jesus for their neighbors in need.

In fact, the best explanation of the astounding growth of the Inasmuch ministry is that it provides proven ways for churches to walk the game they talk.

Based on the TCP survey, it appears that the need addressed by Operation Inasmuch is on the rise: to get church people out of the sanctuary seats and into the streets! Perhaps God put Operation Inasmuch in place to help His people do what He called them to do.

Perhaps A Compassion Revolution really is underway! To God be the glory!!

David Crocker, Executive Director