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…]

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…]

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…]

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.”

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.

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.

How to Change a Homeless Man’s Life (Part 2)

I recently read Same Kind of Different as Me, a true story that chronicles the lives of two improbable friends – art dealer Ron Hall and homeless Denver Moore. The book touched me in many ways while also teaching me several lessons about how to serve our neighbors in need.

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the first lesson I learned from this book – that it takes time and a relationship to have any impact on the life of a homeless man.

I learned something else, too: it’s never a one-way street.

Compassionate community ministry is not about the privileged doing all the giving and the underprivileged doing all the receiving.

It’s about a relationship between two people made in the image of God, two people who each have something to offer. Ron Hall and Denver Moore both taught me this lesson.

At one point, Ron asks Denver if they might be friends. Denver took a week to respond to the proposal (partly because he wasn’t sure Ron would stick to the friendship…). Apparently Denver never considered that Ron was condescending to help, but he weighed the offer in terms of mutuality:

… I got to thinkin about [Ron] some more and thought maybe we might have somethin to offer each other. I could be his friend in a different way then he could be my friend. I knowed he wanted to help the homeless and I could take him places he couldn’t go by hisself. I didn’t know what I might find in his circle or even that I had any business bein there, but I knowed he could help me find out whatever was down that road.

The way I looked at it, a fair exchange ain’t no robbery, and an even swap ain’t no swindle.  He was gon’ protect me in the country club, and I was gon’ protect him in the hood. Even swap, straight down the line.  (p. 108)

On the other hand, early on in his relationship with Denver, Ron thought of himself “as some sort of Henry Higgins to the homeless” (p. 209), but that prideful point of view was dismantled as he got to know Denver. In fact, Ron reports that when he and his wife Debbie had their own great needs, the serving tables were turned:

For nineteen months, [Denver] prayed through the night until dawn and delivered the word of God to our door like a kind of heavenly paperboy.

I was embarrassed that I once thought myself superior to him, stooping to sprinkle my wealth and wisdom into his lowly life. (p. 183)

Indeed, as I read the last half of the book, Denver’s words of Godly, Biblical wisdom ministered to my heart over and over. As my spiritual superior, Denver lead me closer to Jesus.

The second lesson Ron and Denver taught me? It’s not about the haves reaching “down” to help the have-nots. We won’t have an impact on the homeless and the hungry unless we serve with humility.

It’s true that Jesus referred to those in need as “the least of these,” but Jesus also said that “the last shall become first and the first shall become last.”

According Jesus’ logic, then, the needy in our communities are truly “the greatest of these.”

Read Part 3, Here

Lorraine Potter Kalal