In August, World Relief partnered with the National Association of Evangelicals to release Loving the Least of These, an updated report on climate change and its impact on the world’s poor.
At World Relief, we understand creation care as a core tenet of our Christian faith. While individuals and congregations may differ on particular understandings or points of action, we believe the church needs to be part of the conversation about climate instability — not divided by partisanship, but united in the Spirit to bring hope and restoration to communities impacted by climate-related disasters around the world.
In this round-up, we’ve highlighted how people within the church — both inside and outside the evangelical tradition — are joining the conversation on climate change, its impacts on those in vulnerable situations and the Christian calling to care for creation.
World Relief President and CEO Myal Greene and NAE President Walter Kim share how evangelical views of climate change are shifting in the U.S. and urge American Christians to commit to creation care as an integral part of loving our neighbors around the world.
“In American evangelical communities, there has been a current of skepticism about [climate] changes. But as the effects become clearer, greater numbers of Americans — including evangelical Christians — are thinking more about the consequences of climate change…
“For the majority of evangelical Christians who reside in Africa, Latin America, or Asia — the parts of the world experiencing the most significant effects of climate change — this is neither new nor controversial.” — Myal Greene and Walter Kim
Journalist Erika Page covers a movement of young evangelicals who are taking a stand at the intersection of faith and climate action. For those like Elsa Barron, loving our neighbors includes caring for creation.
“Until then, [Elsa Barron’s] religion and her love for the natural world had existed in separate spheres. Now, she began to see the environmental crisis as a deeply spiritual crisis, built on a foundation of greed, extraction, and irreverence. And with that understanding came an accompanying spiritual obligation.
“‘If we don’t care about it and don’t do something about it, we’re failing to fulfill two of our callings as people of faith: to care for creation and to love our neighbors,’ she says over Zoom from her family’s home in Illinois.” — Erika Page
The Holy Post’s Phil Vischer, Christian Taylor and Skye Jethani react to the NAE’s climate report, discuss historic evangelical positions on climate change and share how we, as Christians, can move forward in light of the report’s findings.
“Well what is my responsibility? What can I do? How should I be changed by hearing this news? I’m walking away from this today, realizing that I do need to double up my prayer efforts. We need to […] lament these ways we’ve treated the planet and God’s creation in the past. I think that we need to continue to pray that the truth will be revealed about how we should care for one another well. We should care for God’s creation well, and that’s part of our biblical mandate.” — Christian Taylor
Reporter Rene Marsh highlights the NAE climate report and sits down with evangelical mega-church pastor John K. Jenkins, whose congregation believes protecting the planet is synonymous with a commitment to God’s word.
“Psalms 24 says, ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof and they that dwell there in it.’ It’s God’s creation; he made it. We shouldn’t abuse or neglect something God created. […] I’m not going to allow political pundits to influence what I believe the Bible teaches.” — Senior Pastor John K. Jenkins, First Baptist Church of Glenarden
Journalists Michael Philips and Gabrielle Steinhauser report on the devastating climate-related drought creating a hunger emergency in parts of Africa, despite the fact that Africa is responsible for little of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute towards climate change. International organizations like World Relief are responding, but say that available assistance has not yet risen to meet the increasing need. World Relief’s Elias Kamau is among the experts they interviewed.
“The World Meteorological Organization, part of the U.N., last week said that climate change is hitting Africa, which is responsible for just 2% to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, disproportionately hard. […]
“The agency estimated that around 250 million Africans already lack sufficient water and that water scarcity will displace up to 700 million people by 2030.
“‘These are ‘not problems that are originating from Africa,’ said Elias Kamau, Kenya country director for World Relief, a U.S.-based evangelical Christian aid group.” — Michael Philips and Gabrielle Steinhauser
NAE President Walter Kim encourages Christians to view creation care not as an expression of partisan politics but as an act of worship through which we join with creation in praising God, our Creator.
“Creator, forgive us.
The earth is yours and everything that is in it. But we forget.
In our arrogance we think we own it.
In our greed we think we can steal it.
In our ignorance we worship it.
In our thoughtlessness we destroy it.
We forget that you created it
To bring praise and joy to you.
That you gave it as a gift, for us to steward,
For us to enjoy,
For us to see more clearly
Your beauty and your majesty.”
— prayer from the “Lift Up Your Hearts” hymnal
Those experiencing poverty and vulnerability are already being impacted by climate-related disasters, but it’s not too late to help. Learn more about World Relief’s commitment to creation care, and join us as we help communities build resilience against climate disasters and create change that lasts around the world.
Kelly Hill serves as a Content Writer at World Relief. She previously served as Volunteer Services Manager at World Relief Triad in North Carolina before moving to Salt Lake City. With a background in International and Intercultural Communication, she is passionate about the power of story to connect people of diverse experiences.
This post was originally published on World Relief.