By Drew Robinson, Good Steward Campaign Field Director
As a young Evangelical Christian there are many issues that my generation will have to face. From our continuing struggles with poverty, to seeking world peace, to providing every American, and hopefully every citizen of the world, with a quality education and access to affordable healthcare – there are a plethora of challenges my generation will need to confront over our lifetime. One issue that I have left out though is perhaps the greatest challenge any generation has ever had to face – climate change.
I recently moved down to the Washington, DC area and joined a fairly conservative church. So far, I have hesitated mentioning what I am doing down here to the people I have met. I’m directing a movement of young Evangelicals advocating around being good stewards of the environment, called the Good Steward Campaign. Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that our climate is warming due to human actions, there is controversy over climate change, especially in Evangelical circles. Before diving into the science though, let’s dive into something we Christians hold dear more than anything – God’s word.
When you first open up the good book, the first couple chapters are all about God creating something and declaring it good. Then He formed us out of the dirt, his greatest creation, and gave us the responsibility to take care of all He created (Genesis 2:15). We then read about the fall of man and ever since we have clearly been struggling to obey God’s commands. While we are all sinful and in desperate need of God’s grace, it seems that we have forgotten what we were initially designed to do. We have become selfish, serving our own needs at the harm of others and God’s creation.
At the Good Steward Campaign, we have identified three key aspects to becoming a “Good Steward.” First, it is essential understand where the motivation for our belief in Creation Care comes from. Throughout Scripture we see over and over the wonder and majesty of God’s creation and how we are called to take care of it. Praying for the protection of creation and teaching others what the Bible says about Creation Care is all part of being what we call a “Good Steward Believer.”
Once you understand what Scripture says about Creation Care it’s time to take individual responsibility for your actions. As James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” This means that we each need to make our consumption reflect our values. While carpooling, recycling and eating less meat alone are only small steps forward in confronting the climate crisis, it is critical that we each make sacrifices. Christian spirituality is about living our Christian faith out loud. Making these daily sacrifices and educating others about what you are doing and why is all part of being a “Good Steward Disciple” and helps us each grow in our walk with Christ.
Lastly, once you understand the Biblical authority of Creation Care and make individual sacrifices, it’s time to step into the public arena and become a “Good Steward Advocate.” As a college student on a campus very much involved in environmental sustainability, I was constantly drilled with all the “Good Steward Disciple” activities mentioned above. Within a relatively short period of time I became cynical and disenchanted. Taking shorter showers is great and all, but it’s not going to make a difference as long as we’re pouring billions of metric tons of carbon emissions into the air every year.
At the Good Steward Campaign, we’re not ignoring this fact. Instead, we are organizing young Evangelicals to reach out to their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to educate them about what is going on in our climate and the multitude of negative consequences, including how it is already affecting the least of these. Our generation cares about protecting God’s creation and wants to do something about it. Collectively, our voice is powerful and we want to demand our President and representatives in Congress quit the partisan babble and take action, producing comprehensive climate change legislation and investing in renewable energy.
There will be resistance. There will be debate. We welcome the conversation but we will not sit idly by while our future is put in jeopardy. Personally, I will no longer hesitate when talking to my conservative Christian friends about climate change. I am not a tree hugger or a liberal, radical environmentalist. I am a Christian who takes the Bible seriously and cares about what is happening to the earth God created and how it is negatively impacting His greatest creation in my fellow man.
I am a Good Steward. Are you?
Join the movement. Follow us on twitter @iamagoodsteward and visit www.goodstewardcampaign.org to learn more.