As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the Millennial generation wants to make a difference in their world as well as their community. Many are linked to friends around the world through social media and have a global consciousness. One of the ways the church can improve their impact with this generation is a serious study of being good stewards of the earth and implementing a plan to do so.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day. (Genesis 1: 27-31 RSV)
The first chapter of Genesis is a hymn to the goodness of creation, with each line ending in the choral refrain, “God saw…and God said, it is good”.
In many translations, we hear that God gave humanity “dominion” over the earth to “subdue” the creatures on earth. However, given the leadership style of Jesus Christ, the Christian should see “dominion” as a responsibility – a stewardship aimed at cultivating and nurturing the earth & all living things.
As one of our Field Strategists, Jeff Cranford, has recently shared with us some of the struggles facing our world: global warming, population growth that will exceed the resources of our planet, mass famine, spread of deserts from soil erosion, a lack of clean water supply, destruction of oceans and extreme poverty caused by a lack of care for our planet as its natural resources. Young adults are concerned about these issues. So what can we do through Sunday School to become more responsible for our earth?
Provide opportunities for study and discussion of Christianity’s redemptive purpose for all of humanity and the earth. Have a study on ecology and poverty issues. Let it spill over into conversations on Facebook, Twitter and other social media for discussion. Allow the young adults to share their experience and help the class come up with practical ways to educate the congregation.
Work on collaboration in the class to find practical ways to make a difference. Here are a few ways to help locally & globally as a starting point.
1. Set up recycling in the church and remind others in the church to do the same at home. Millennials who see the church recycling will know you are serious about discussion & practice in ecology. In our previous church in Georgia we had a senior adult, Joe Momon, who started this process. Everyone would bring their newspapers, paper, cardboard, aluminum cans and other recyclables to the church. He would pick them up every Wednesday and send them to the recycling center. The money he earned became a missions budget item for all of our missions projects. I am thankful to Joe for taking the lead.
2. Provide a community garden for persons who are in need of food. I know some youth groups who have taken on this project. Persons in the community help to cultivate it and harvest it. (Talk to Glocal Missions at the VBMB about it.)
3. Get involved globally through clean water campaigns, disease control and poverty initiatives. (Glocal Missions can assist with this as well.)
4. Begin talks of renewable energy sources for the community.
Our young adults and our grandchildren are counting us on to leave this planet in better shape than before we were born.
“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.”
― Theodore Roosevelt