Louisville—What would it take to reach more than 34,000 people across the Bluegrass state with God’s love? How do believers get the chance to share the gospel in an increasingly anti-Christian culture?
Both questions were answered recently by 104 Kentucky Baptist churches with “Operation Inasmuch.”
That’s the number of churches that used the Inasmuch model of community ministry to minister to 34,357 people in need from Fulton to Prestonsburg and from Boone County to London. The effort involved 4,937 volunteers from these churches conducting 592 mercy ministry projects, ranging from visiting nursing homes to building wheelchair ramps for disabled persons, from paying for a person’s laundry at a laundromat to conducting a car care clinic for single moms, and many others.
“We are very proud of what Kentucky Baptists have done to reach people in their own community with God’s love,” said David Crocker, executive director of the Inasmuch ministry. “And we are pleased to have been part of this massive ministry project. It shows what can happen when ordinary believers are given the tools to minister to their neighbors.”
The Missions Mobilization team of the Kentucky Baptist Convention partnered with the Inasmuch ministry, based in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2015 to train about a hundred churches in how to use the Inasmuch model.
In each of the 10 training sessions, a member of the KBC staff shared some simple ideas of how people who are ministering to people’s needs may also be prepared to share the gospel. More than 300 opportunities to share the gospel were reported by churches using Inasmuch, and several resulted in either professions of faith or first-time attendance to a church by the people who were helped.
Eric Allen, Missions Mobilization team leader at the KBC, set up the Inasmuch training sessions in early 2015. He reported to the convention in Elizabethtown the results of the effort. His team is planning to offer a new round of training sessions across the state in early 2016. For more information, contact him at Eric.Allen@kybaptists.org.
Calvary Baptist Church in London is an example of the impact that Inasmuch can have on a church as well as its community. With an average attendance of 350 on Sundays, the congregation sent out 230 volunteers to do 26 projects in which 710 people were served.
Monica Binge, coordinator for Calvary’s Inasmuch, said, “We did everything just as presented at the workshop and had church members participating who had never done so before. It has really set our church on fire!”
Even small churches did well with Inasmuch. Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Manchester has only about 20 people on Sundays, and all 20 were involved in its Inasmuch in which they served 130 people.
The total dollar value of ministry rendered through services by the 104 Kentucky churches totaled $693,148, which is a combination of materials either donated or purchased and volunteer time.
“We look forward to seeing what God will do in communities across Kentucky in 2016,” Crocker said. (WR)