It was SRO (standing room only) for the Inasmuch workshops at the Greater Milwaukee Lutheran Synod at the end of May. At the invitation of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Slinger, Wisconsin—the only Inasmuch church in all of Wisconsin at this time—David Crocker exhibited and led two workshops about Inasmuch at the Synod General Assembly. About 90 people representing 70+ congregations attended the workshops.
“As they say on the evening news, ‘this is a developing story’,” says Crocker. “A year and half ago, we learned that St. Luke had conducted their first Inasmuch Day. Karen Berg, the widow of a Lutheran pastor, wanted to fulfill her husband’s desire to see a Lutheran church do Inasmuch. She led the St. Luke congregation to do just that in October of 2011. When we heard about it, we established contact with that church and asked if they would be willing to share the Inasmuch model of community ministry with other Lutheran churches in Wisconsin.”
“In the spring of 2012, I traveled to Milwaukee and met with Bishop Jeff Barrow of the Greater Milwaukee Synod and Pastor Matt Short of St. Luke and Karen Berg,” says Crocker. “We were encouraged by Bishop Barrow to pursue our plans to see Inasmuch go Synod wide. As part of this strategy, I was invited to return to Milwaukee this May.”
Meanwhile, the St. Luke congregation conducted their second Inasmuch last Fall with similar results as the first only fueling their desire to see other Lutheran churches have the same experience. Based on the interest shown at these workshops, there is good reason to believe the dream of a Synod wide Inasmuch is not far away.
Pastor Short says: “So often, good-hearted Christians know they should reach out and serve; they want to reach out and serve, but they don’t know where to start. The members of St. Luke are some of the most compassionate people I know, but they needed a rallying point; they needed a model that would help them put action to their intentions. Operation Inasmuch has blessed us by showing us how to do the work we knew we were called to do. Our church, and more importantly, our community will never be the same.”
“One of the things that makes this such a God-thing is how Inasmuch got started in Wisconsin in the first place,” says David Crocker. “Rev. Terry Berg, Karen’s husband, read a footnote about Inasmuch in the best-selling 40 Days of Purpose, and did the research to find the book Operation Inasmuch: Mobilizing Believers Beyond the Walls of the Church. He told his wife, ‘This is the 41st day!’ Unfortunately, Rev. Berg succumbed to cancer before he could lead his church to conduct an Inasmuch Day, but Karen has kept that dream alive at St. Luke! As a result, it now appears dozens of other Lutheran churches and thousands of other Lutherans in Wisconsin will soon become part of the larger Inasmuch family. Who else could do such a thing but God?!”
This story does not have an ending, . . . not yet anyhow! God is at work in Wisconsin and many other places using ordinary believers, whether Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist or whatever, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And His Church is changing in the process.