“The Church Is Changed!”
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!”
McGough tells of a roof they replaced for a man in their community who has cancer. They removed the old roof the day before Inasmuch only to discover a good deal of rotten wood. “That roof would not have made it through the winter,” he says. It was raining when they removed the old roof and the resident said, “You can’t do that now; it’s raining,” to which McGough replied: “I didn’t bring an umbrella; I brought a shovel!” At that moment it stopped raining and did not rain again until the volunteers had new sheeting on the roof.
McGough left that day knowing they needed equipment for which they had not arranged to complete the project. He planned to rent the necessary equipment early the next morning, but that night a man who is not a member of the church called him and offered to provide all the equipment they needed including a “cherry picker” truck!
“One of our projects was helping people do their laundry at Laundromats in our community,” says McGough. “We thought we had only enough money to do that for a couple of hours, but at the end of the day, the volunteers were still going.” He adds: “We budgeted $7500 for all Inasmuch expenses but spent only $3000 because the church members kept providing what we needed. And one of the best results was that 3 people made professions of faith—all of them volunteers for Inasmuch!”
“54 percent of the church’s average attendance was involved in our Inasmuch,” says McGough. “We’ve already decided we’re going to do Inasmuch twice a year! I have seen a lot in churches but never anything like this. The Sunday following Inasmuch we had the highest attendance in worship we’ve had in a year and a half. This church is changed! We now see that we should not be internally focused, but focused on the needs in our community and do what we can to minister to them.”
The Inasmuch ministry is in the transformation business—transforming individual believers from “pew potatoes” to Jesus’ hands and feet; transforming congregations from “holy huddles” to mission outposts that send out their “soldiers” to minister to the needs of the community. David Crocker, Executive Director of Inasmuch says: “When we receive stories such as this one from West Hampton Church, we see again that God is still using Inasmuch to help churches be what they were intended to be in the beginning. We are building the Kingdom one church at a time.”
West Hampton Baptist is one of about 150 Virginia churches that conducted Inasmuch events throughout the state from mid-September to mid-October.