|Five area churches will soon be collaborating again to positively impact our community through Operation InAsMuch.
Gary and Libby Green, from First Baptist Church, paint at Special Kids.
First Baptist Church of Murfreesboro started this one-day ministry event in Murfreesboro in 2004. The following year, First Baptist was joined by Antioch Primitive Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Central Christian Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
During the operation, which will be held on Saturday, March 31, volunteers from these five congregations will come together to serve the community as one.
“We have become a faith community – these five churches together,” said Rev. Kristina Brown, First Baptist’s minister of Community Ministries, who brought the idea to Murfreesboro and coordinates the effort each year.
Operation InAsMuch was created by Pastor David Crocker of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., Brown said.
“After the great success that his church had, there were a lot of churches in North Carolina that wanted him to teach them how to do it, and we heard about it in one of our Baptist meetings, so I contacted him and got the manual,” she said. “So, I just followed his guidelines and he came up here to help us kick it off, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
Work to be done
This year’s event will begin with a Commissioning Service at First Baptist at 8:30 a.m., and teams will depart for their project sites at 9 a.m.
This year, the churches will be serving at the following agencies:
Child Advocacy Center – Thirty volunteers are needed for spring cleaning, organizing cabinets, bins and storage spaces, and replacing light bulbs and ceiling tiles.
Greenhouse Ministries – Thirty volunteers are needed to help fold their newsletter and for spring cleaning.
Habitat for Humanity – Eight volunteers are needed to paint the kitchen, lobby and hallway at the office.
Read To Succeed – Ten volunteers are needed to paint the literacy center and offices.
Journeys in Community Living (formerly the Adult Activities Center) – Twenty-five volunteers are needed to sand and paint cabinets, trim bushes and trees, plant flowers and shrubs, paint inside doors and touch up paint throughout the building, and install shelving in a storage room.
The Journey Home – Thirty volunteers are needed for spring cleaning, sorting clothes, packing food boxes, working in the garden, and serving lunch.
Mercury Court Preschool and the Family Learning & Resource Center – Details on this project are yet to come.
St. Louise Clinic & Dispensary of Hope — People who can’t volunteer their time will donate needed items.
Speaking with actions
Operation InAsMuch gets its biblical name from Matthew 25:40, in which Jesus says, “Inasmuch as you did this for the least of these, you have done it for me.”
Jesus had prefaced that statement by saying, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Brown said that Jesus not only talked about helping people, he put the teachings into action himself.
“He showed us that serving others is a part of our responsibilities as Christians – to take care of the people around us,” she said. “Part of the mission of our church – and that vision is shared by the churches that partner with us – is that we believe very strongly in serving our community, not just the members of our own congregation.”
The event typically consists of about 300 to 400 volunteers, with a budget of about $3,000 for paint, cleaning products and other supplies.
A faith community
Operation InAsMuch not only benefits the community at large, it strengthens the bonds between church members, both within their own congregations and across the denominational lines of the churches involved, Brown said.
“People of different age groups who might not normally mix at church wind up working on a project together, and the next day they’re at church hugging each other, talking about how good it was to get to know each other.
“The same thing has happened with the other congregations we work with, and I know so many people at the other churches that I feel at home there when I visit. It’s about getting outside of your own Sunday school class and getting to know the larger faith community.”
What residents can do
Volunteers do not need to attend any of the participating churches in order to be involved.
Interested parties may contact the Brown at 615-893-2514, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deadline for registration is 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28.
Although the projects are already set for this year, any nonprofit or governmental agency that assists other people can apply for next year by contacting Brown.
“We’re excited again to be able to serve our community together, and we’re looking forward to another memorable day,” she said.