So climate change….
It’s becoming more and more evident that this is a serious crisis that churches need to take seriously. Tearfund’s ‘Burning the House Down’ report from earlier this year found that 9/10 teenage Christians surveyed are concerned about climate change, but only 1/10 think their church is doing enough. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend checking it out.
Getting the ball rolling…
I’m not here to persuade you why Christians should care about the climate crisis. I suspect the fact you are reading this suggests you already know. Instead, I’m going to share how I got the conversation rolling at my home church in the hope that you can do the same.
You’re not alone in the process! Hopefully, more of us will think that our churches aren’t doing enough and the change can start with us. Don’t let the feeling of being too young or inexperienced stop you from speaking up for what you care about.
TIP 1: Find others just as passionate
See who else cares about this, or is willing to help you get things going. It can be easy to feel like the only ‘climate person’ but speak to people after church and find the others who are interested – they are out there!
TIP 2: If you can, hold an event
I asked to put on a zoom event focused on ‘Creation Care’ with a clergy member. We had 76 attendees – result! Even though I have left for university now, the most interested members went on to form our ‘Church Eco Group’. Or you could put on a litter pick or clothes swap. Low key events that aren’t a big ask to put on but can bear amazing fruit.
TIP 3: Think about your Sunday service
Can you ask your church to sing about God’s creation, pray for the climate or even preach on it? Check out Doxecology. Reminder: you are not alone, there are plenty of resources to help with this.
I strongly recommend Climate Sunday. They currently aim for churches to do a service before COP26 (the UN’s meeting on climate change this November). As COP is on the horizon you may not be able to do it before COP but don’t let that stop you.
TIP 4: Become an eco church?
See if your church is interested in signing up for Eco Church. This is an A Rocha UK scheme for churches wanting to ‘demonstrate that the Gospel is good news for God’s earth.’ Eco Church covers 4 areas: worship and teaching; buildings; land; and community and global engagement. You accumulate points working towards a bronze, silver or gold, with the first few steps being fairly achievable.
What if nothing seems to work?
If you still feel alone and haven’t found people at church, then know that you still have God on your side. Keep praying! Pray about it even if you haven’t started yet. God is our best help in situations like this.
God can use our small efforts amidst the bigger picture of saving the planet. Creation care and justice are clear themes of the Bible (Dave Bookless’s book ‘Planetwise’ can tell you more about the theology of creation care).
TIP 6: GOOD LUCK!
I’ll leave you with this Psalm of praise from creation:
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad,
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy;
they will sing before the Lord.”Psalm 96:11-13