Inasmuch Turns 25!
How do you know when God inspires an idea? By how big it is? Or how many people are impacted by it? Or how it reveals more of God Himself? Or how long it endures? The answer to all these questions is: YES!!
Twenty-five years ago, a church in Fayetteville, NC tried something they had never done before (which means they got past the biggest barrier to innovation in any church – the saying “We haven’t done it that way before.”) and it changed not only that church but hundreds of others as well. In 1995, Snyder Memorial Baptist Church conducted the first ever Inasmuch Day. Twenty-five years later there are more than 2,000 churches in 25 states and 4 countries doing Inasmuch!
It all started when the staff of Snyder Memorial was planning the church calendar in their annual retreat at Litchfield, NC. They considered a revival – a series of services lasting a week in which a guest preacher and perhaps guest musician would attempt to rev up the congregation to be more passionate about their faith and their witnessing. As the staff talked, they agreed that maybe it was time for a different approach. One of the ideas floated was an emphasis on serving people in need in their community. The more they talked, the more excited they became about the possibilities for this idea.
David Crocker, who had gone to Snyder in June 1995 as Senior Pastor, suggested the emphasis could be called “Operation Inasmuch.” Operation because Fayetteville is a military community and so many military campaigns are dubbed Operation this or Operation that. Inasmuch from the Bible verse Matthew 25:40: “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me.”
In January of 1995, Crocker began meeting with Snyder’s Missions Committee to plan the event. They planned 25 to 30 projects in which people in need in Fayetteville would be helped in some way and the church members signed up for the projects. On March 25, 1995 the first Inasmuch Day took place and almost immediately there was a sense that God had inspired it. Through the intervening years, that thought has been confirmed again and again and again.
Inasmuch is much bigger than anyone imagined it would be; it has impacted hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people both being served and serving. It has clearly revealed the God of love and mercy and has endured and grown through the years. Indeed, Operation Inasmuch was inspired by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. To God be the glory!