Mr. Inasmuch Transforms His Community

How much can one person do to impact his community?  Ask Joel Singletary of Sumter, South Carolina.  In April he and his wife, Libby, were honored by Sumter’s Mayor Joe McElveen for their volunteer work in Sumter—Libby for her countless hours spent at United Ministries serving wherever she can be helpful and Joel for his leadership in leading his church, Alice Drive Baptist Church, and 18 other congregations in Inasmuch United Sumter.

From left, Mark Champagne, United Ministries director; Libby Singletary; Mayor Joe McElveen; and Joel Singletary. Joel and Libby Singletary received the Mayor's Award for Outstanding Community Service.

From left, Mark Champagne, United Ministries director; Libby Singletary; Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen; and Joel Singletary.  Joel and Libby Singletary received the Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service.

It began in 2009 when Joel’s pastor, Dr. Clay Smith of Alice Drive Baptist Church, showed Joel an article about Operation Inasmuch.  He took several folk from his church to a Lutheran-sponsored Inasmuch training in the winter of 2009.  Shortly thereafter, he led his church to conduct their first Inasmuch Day.  The story is told in the video “Roosevelt’s Story” on the Inasmuch website:

God soon impressed Singletary with the vision of seeing many churches in Sumter working together to serve people in need.  He shared his vision with David Crocker, Executive Director of Operation Inasmuch, Inc. and scheduled David to conduct training sessions for 21 congregations in the Sumter area.  “Joel went door to door from one church to another talking with anyone in those churches who would listen to him share about Inasmuch and how their church could be involved,” says Crocker.  “He worked tirelessly, often without much success and totally without recognition,” adds Crocker, “but Inasmuch is where it is today in Sumter because of Joel Singletary’s efforts.   This is why it’s so good that he is finally being recognized for all the work he has done.  I am personally pleased that Joel Singletary is known as Mr. Inasmuch of Sumter.”  [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 United Sumter, SC!

The Item, Sumter, SC’s local paper, published a SECOND nice article on May 1, 2012 about Inasmuch United Sumter which was conducted on April 28. It’s filled with great pictures from that event, like the one below. Read the article here (and see six more great pix!): Inasmuch United Sumter – Helping those who need it most.

Children enjoy a block party held at Crosswell Park during Inasmuch United Sumter on Saturday. A similar event was held in the Cherryvale community as well.

Another Church Joins the Compassion Revolution

The Baptist Church of Beaufort, SC, conducted its first Inasmuch Day on conducted on May 5, 2012.  The Beaufort Tribune published the following article about the event on April 30, 2012:

Operation Inasmuch arrives in Beaufort!

Janet Carr Hull

Over one hundred community volunteers from the Baptist Church of Beaufort will roll up their sleeves and descend on Beaufort on Saturday, May 5 in Beaufort’s very own Operation Inasmuch event.

Baptist Church of Beaufort’s Dr. Jim Wooten calls the event a day to “deliberately turn our attention outward and to put our energies into ministries that touch the lives of people in need. We call it Operation Inasmuch, and we hope it will become at least an annual emphasis.”

The model for this missions challenge is driven by Operation Inasmuch, Inc., a national non-profit organization that helps churches break down barriers between the culture and the church. The large scale effort 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. Over 1600 churches in 21 states have joined the revolution and have taken the challenge to go into their communities and spread the love with no strings attached.

The code words for this event come from the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as you did it unto one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it unto me.”

Dr. Wooten more clearly defines the framework of the call to enthusiastic service, saying of the endeavor, “These words of Jesus stand as a sobering reminder of the need to put our faith buy generic zithromax us into action and to do so in ways that meet the needs of the powerless, the dispossessed, the overlooked.”

Look for smiling, happy, hardworking people in bright blue shirts all over town on Saturday, doing everything from giving out water at the park to building wheelchair ramps.

The volunteers will be participating in these events:

• Building Wheel Chair Ramps – The BCOB veteran team will take on two projects.
• Parkview Children’s Art Ministry Project – Helping the kids at Parkview create a picture collage to decorate the new community center.
• Parkview Women’s Project – Helping organize a “Dress for Success” Clothing Project.
• Habitat – The projected task for BCOB’s on-going “church build project” is subflooring, exterior framing and interior walls.
• “Thank you” Cookie Basket Project for Emergency Personnel – Home-baked cookies taken to police officers, firefighters and EMT workers who keep us safe.
• Cup of Cold Water Park Ministry – Face painting and giving out bottles of cold water in Pigeon Point Park from 10:00 a.m. – 12 noon.
• Cleaning Project for Hope Haven – Helping provide a clean and inviting environment for the children served by this Children’s Advocacy Center.
• HELP of Beaufort – Teaming to help sort and organize clothes and canned goods.
• Parking Lot Fundraiser for Children’s Missions Camps – Teaming to monitor parking lots during Taste of Beaufort.

Janet Carr Hull is the author of two poetry books published by Coastal Villages Press, and has been published in numerous literary journals nationwide. She is a native Beaufortonian.

Churches Unite to Serve Spartanburg, SC

Two churches from Spartanburg, SC, uniquely combined a Car Care Clinic with a blood drive on their first ever Inasmuch event conducted April 28, 2012

The following article was published on April 27, 2012 in as part of an events about town article:

The Stroller: ‘You can bet’

By Lou Parris

ODDS AND ENDS: Swing by St. John’s Lutheran Church on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and leave the car’s dirt with Operation Inasmuch volunteers, including folks from Trinity Methodist in Converse Heights. These volunteers will wash vehicles for free and even check the hoses under the hood and make sure your fluid levels are where they should be. It’s a no-strings-attached event, but while you’re there, consider rolling up those sleeves and giving blood. The Bloodmobile will be there for donors starting at 9 a.m. The church is at 415 S. Pine St.


The organizers of the Spartanburg Inasmuch event tell us that at least two people read this article and came by to offer blood!

Pictures of the event are posted on Facebook here.

Inasmuch to Unite Sumter, SC

The Item, Sumter, SC’s local paper, published a nice article on April 2, 2012 about the upcoming Inasmuch United Sumter.

Read the article here: Churches will help Sumter on service day