Operation Inasmuch – April 28, May 5 – is opportunity to evangelize
    April 23 2012 by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications

    Sharing the gospel in modern America is not as acceptable to the unchurched population as it was just two generations ago, said David Crocker, executive-director and founder of Operation Inasmuch (OIAM).
    Since that time, the broader culture has turned against the church and embraced secularism. Crocker said the culture shift of the last half century has taken a toll on the church’s efforts to impact lostness.
    “The openness to hear the gospel is less than ever,” he said. “And the willingness to share the gospel is less than ever because we are afraid of being rejected.”
    During a break out session April 14 at the N.C. Baptist Missions Conference at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, Crocker explained how Operation Inasmuch is an effective evangelistic tool that helps break down barriers between the culture and the church.    
    Operation Inasmuch is a missions effort that 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. This year, the initiative also will be teaming up with North Carolina’s Baptist Aging Ministry (NCBAM) and its Rampin’ Up! effort to build wheelchair ramps for homes around the state.

    BSC photo by Buddy Overman

    David Crocker leads an Operation Inasmuch breakout session during the N.C. Baptist Men’s Missions Conference April 14.

    The compassion-based ministry provides services to the community with no strings attached. Connecting with the community in this way builds bridges between the church and a skeptical culture, and provides Christians a platform from which they can share the love of Christ through word and deed.
    “When you serve people first you show them that you care and you earn the right to share with them,” Crocker said. 
    Crocker pointed out that the model for Operation Inasmuch is based upon the holistic ministry of Jesus, who routinely combined good news with good deeds. But he added that some churches have not taken full advantage of the opportunity to share the gospel while serving their neighbors in practical ways.
    “There are a lot of churches that are doing Operation Inasmuch and they may not be realizing the full evangelistic potential of that one-day event,” Crocker said.
    Crocker shared a few practical suggestions that will help churches make Operation Inasmuch as evangelistic as possible.
    One approach is to make sure team leaders consistently reinforce to volunteers the motivation behind Operation Inasmuch. Leaders can also help prepare volunteers to share their faith while they serve in the community. 
    Another way churches can emphasize evangelism is to hand out printed materials such as postcards and Bibles. The postcards are an easy way to tell people why the volunteers are serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. Bibles also are given to families and individuals who receive help with home repair projects. 
    Crocker’s final suggestion calls for leaders to identify evangelistically gifted volunteers and intentionally move them to multiple projects throughout the community during the day.
    He believes when churches use these additional methods they will make a big difference in their communities. “When we put good news and good deeds together it creates good will in the community,” Crocker said. “Most of our communities could use some of that.”
    For more information about how you or your church can participate in Operation Inasmuch, visit ncoperationinasmuch.org.
    To learn more about national OIAM, visit operationinasmuch.org.
    4/23/2012 4:01:23 PM by Buddy Overman, BSC Communications | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Missions, NCBAM, OIAM

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