Three Areas to Help Your Church Thrive

3 Core Areas to Help Your Church ThriveServing 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 you 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 percentage of unchurched people all around us, and we really don’t want to forget them as we struggle with the best ways to help.

I want to leave you with three core areas that will help your 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 who 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 the while seeking and trusting Christ for direction. 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 capable of meeting real needs in your own 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 have never done 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.

[Read more…]

Operation Inasmuch and Carson-Newman University Share an Anniversary

Ten Years and Counting for Inasmuch at Carson-Newman University

1116

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…]

Maine Is the Newest Inasmuch State

greene maine church

In stark contrast to our current warm sunny days of June, Greene Baptist Church stands magnificent in the snowfall of January.

Maybe you heard.  The Northeast was hit especially hard by winter storms this year.  Maine is no stranger to harsh winters but this year was harsher than most.  Even so, Greene Baptist Church in Greene, Maine, had David Crocker, Executive Director of Operation Inasmuch, in January to train them in how to conduct an Inasmuch Day.

On May 2, shortly after the enormous snowfall and the winter thaw, the church held their Inasmuch Day with about 85 percent of their average attendance involved!!  Josh Burden, Greene’s Pastor says:  “Our first Operation Inasmuch Day was a huge blessing in the life of our church as we sought to share God’s love for our community.”

One of the church’s projects was helping a family of 6 who have been stressed over the last 2 years because of the mother’s failing health.  Volunteers from the church took the father and 4 children (all of whom have been adopted out of foster care) out for a day of fun while other volunteers modified their home for the wife/mother who was hospitalized at the time.  The father told Tracy Dyer, Greene Baptist member, that when he received the call from the church saying they were going to help his family, he broke down and realized at that moment that God still cared.  It was as if God was saying to him:  “Everything is going to be okay.”  [Read more…]

Happy Birthday Operation Inasmuch!!

OIAM20YearLogo-01-1 (1)

 

   Inasmuch Celebrates 20 Years

 

“We now have an entire generation of young people who have experienced Operation Inasmuch,” said Rev. John Cook, Pastor of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church, Fayetteville, North Carolina. His comment came at the end of the morning worship service at Snyder Memorial on March 22 at which the 20th anniversary of Operation Inasmuch was celebrated.

Susie Reeder offers instructions for the casserole delivery project.

Susie Reeder offers instructions for the casserole delivery project.

Inasmuch began in March, 1995, as a fresh approach to church renewal by Snyder Memorial. It was intended to be a single event for the church, or, as David Crocker, Pastor of Snyder at the beginning of Inasmuch and now Executive Director of the Inasmuch ministry, says: “We had no idea, . . . but God did. We had no intention of beginning a movement of compassion, but God did. We were simply doing what God has been telling the church to do for 2000 years, only in a way no one else was doing it, and God has grown it into something none of us expected.” Crocker was part of a roofing project in Fayetteville this year just as he was in the initial Inasmuch. “It was great to work with some of the guys I’ve worked with over the years,” he says. “Brought back lots of memories.”

Snyder Memorial marked the anniversary by conducting what is estimated to be their 30th Inasmuch Day (twice each year for the first 10 years and once a year since) on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, as they did in 1995, they celebrated what God has done with Inasmuch, both in the first event when footings were dug for a Habitat House for the Jimmy Grant family and in the 2015 buy valtrex online version when a new roof was put on a house in Habitat Village.  [Read more…]

Inasmuch in the Philippines

world_map-copy

Inasmuch United Taken to a New Level

IMG_0905

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 Blitzes Virginia

What’s faster than a speeding bullet, more interesting than a Dan Brown novel, and more challenging than an Army drill sergeant?  No, It’s not Superman; just David Crocker zigzagging across Virginia telling the Inasmuch story and training dozens of churches to conduct Inasmuch events later this year.

For two years the Inasmuch ministry has been working with church leaders in Virginia to plan and promote a statewide Inasmuch effort for the fall of 2014.  The training sessions David conducted throughout the state-from Winchester in the north, to Hampton in the east, to Roanoke in the west and South Boston in the south-during the last half of March is the latest and most ambitious aspect of this plan.

David Crocker addresses a full training session in Virginia during the statewide training blitz.

David Crocker addresses a full training session in Virginia during the statewide training blitz.

“Virginia is the third state to undertake a statewide Inasmuch event,” says Crocker.  “North Carolina is doing their fourth this spring!  The South Carolina Synod of Lutheran Churches has held Inasmuch events on a statewide basis for several years.  Before this year, there were about 60 Virginia churches using Inasmuch to impact their community,” he adds.  “By November that number will have tripled or quadrupled!”

Crocker was on the road in Virginia for 12 consecutive days.  “This was a first,” he says.  “I have conducted dozens of training sessions in a number of states, but this is the first time to do so every day for 12 days.”  (See the box below for specifics)

by the numbersEnthusiasm for Inasmuch was strong and participants at these training sessions were excited about mobilizing their congregation into their community.  In more than one of the sessions there were people from churches that have past experience with Inasmuch and spoke favorably about their experiences.

The state of Virginia is just one more place where God is using Operation Inasmuch to help His people become more externally focused and effective at demonstrating His love and grace . . . and He doesn’t have to have Superman’s help to do it!

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.”

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.

 

NC Inasmuch Builds House In One Day!

When Keith Guinn was asked to head up his church’s first Inasmuch Day this past spring, he said “I can’t do it, but with God’s help, we’ll get it done.”  After Euto Baptist Church of Marshville, NC, mobilized almost half of their average Sunday attendance in April, Guinn exclaimed, “It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever been a part of!”Euto Baptist Church of Marshville, NC Inasmuch Day

One of the 19 projects conducted by the Euto congregation was building a house in one day!!  “The foundation was poured beforehand, but we completely dried-in the house—walls, roof, doors and windows—in one, long Inasmuch day,” says Guinn.  He says that about a month before Euto’s Inasmuch, one of the church members asked if the church could build his grandfather a house.  The elderly man in his mid 80s had recently lost his wife and he needed to live closer to his son but couldn’t afford to hire a contractor.  The church agreed to include the ambitious project among their list of ministry opportunities and God took over from there.  The man’s family purchased the materials and church volunteers provided the labor.

When David Crocker trained members of Euto Baptist to conduct an Inasmuch Day, he said, as he always does in these training sessions, “When we do what God tells us to do, He always has more in mind.”  Remembering that line, Guinn now says, “I am a witness to that truth.  I saw it in April of this year, and we’re already planning our next Inasmuch for 2013.”

Euto Baptist Church of Marshville, NC Inasmuch DayEuto Baptist Church involved 155 people from their church in their Inasmuch Day which is just under half their congregation.  They served more than 200 people, and the most amazing result of their day of service was that nine people became followers of Jesus as a direct result of the compassion ministry they rendered through Inasmuch!

Guinn’s unchurched neighbors were astounded at what the church did in one day.  They attended a breakfast gathering of the volunteers prior to the start of their projects and were moved to ask:  “Why are y’all doing this?”  They returned to their home that day with nothing but praise for a church that has shown, not just told, their small community God’s love.