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 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.

David Crocker in the News: Inasmuch Churches Are Missional

The following article was published April 5, 2012 on the Associated Baptist Press web site. Our Executive Director David Crocker is featured.

Missional congregations seek to ‘relearn what it means to be church’

By Jeff Brumley

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (ABP) — Traditional churches must wake up and reinvent themselves if they are to remain — or become — relevant, some Christian leaders say.

Larry Hovis

Thinking like missionaries is necessary to relevantly preach the gospel in an age when small missional church starts are drawing more and more people, Hovis said.“We have to think the way missionaries think,” said Larry Hovis, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.

Hovis and others have gotten the message after years of watching the growth of the missional church movement across the nation and in other parts of the world. Led often by small, scrappy church planters with subtle or no denominational affiliation, the movement emphasizes hyper-local community and social activism in the neighborhoods where they are located.

Those churches have proven successful to luring Americans generally craving fellowship but disaffected by organized Christianity.

David Crocker

But by no means is the steeple church out of the game, said David Crocker, executive director of Operation Inasmuch, a Knoxville-based ministry that trains churches to adopt outward-focused programs.

Crocker said he’s working with 1,600 churches mostly in North Carolina, the Southeast and other parts of the nation to reinvent their mission and equip their members to serve outside the four walls.

Those churches include CBF, Southern Baptist, United Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran and other denominations.

“Leaders and rank-and-file believers are awakening to the reality of what was there all along: What it means to be a follower of Jesus,” said Crocker, a former pastor.

How that looks often varies from congregation to congregation, but the common denominator is a shift in priorities, allocation of resources and programming, Crocker said.
A handful of them are experiencing success on the traditional model, “but the majority are in decline,” he said.CBF churches in North Carolina are learning that prime location and excellent facilities are no longer drawing new families through the doors, Hovis said.

Which accounts for a growing interest in the missional way of being a church.

CBF of North Carolina has responded with two conferences and a third, “Impacting Tomorrow: A Missional Event for Churches,” scheduled May 18-19 in Charlotte.

“We want to focus less on worship and the building and more on how do we use those to push us into the community,” Hovis said.

Hovis said he also doesn’t buy the claim by some that traditional church buildings are doomed. It’s just a matter of perspective.

“It’s not that we’re going to blow up our buildings or stop having services,” Hovis said. “We’re just having to relearn what it means to be church.”

Jeff Brumley is assistant editor of Associated Baptist Press.

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