Cultivating Community: Getting the Most out of the Hope for Creation Simulcast

April 15, 2010


[Ed. note: This article is part of our series of weekly church activities, Cultivating Community, published on Thursdays.]

You’ve probably heard the buzz by now: On April 21, Christian communities scattered all around the world will gather to watch the Hope for Creation internet simulcast—an unprecedented creation care forum being led by our friends at Blessed Earth (see the video to the right). The event will feature worship, inspirational messages from creation care leaders, a film presentation, and an interactive discussion between pastors and groups around the country.

But perhaps most importantly, this simulcast provides an opportunity to bring your own church into the creation care discussion. Here are some tips and ideas for extending the power of this simulcast beyond a few hours next Wednesday night, and for joining your church with other Christians around the world in celebrating the wonder of God through care for his handiwork:

Come Together
If your congregation decides to view the simulcast as a whole church community, terrific! But in all likelihood, many churches—because of scheduling, size, or technological capacities—won’t be able to watch the simulcast as a congregation. Fortunately, that opens the door to viewing it in more non-traditional gatherings, and could allow for more energetic discussion in smaller groups.

  • Small Groups or Sunday School Classes – Are you part of a church small group or Sunday school class? Consider meeting with that community next Wednesday, and watching and discussing the simulcast as that week’s activity, or as a special event. A small community of folks who regularly explore the Word together may be the best forum in which to discuss environmental stewardship.
  • Youth Groups – Kids and teens are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to being responsible stewards of God’s creation. Many of them take for granted that recycling is good and polluting is bad. After all, this will still be their creation to live in when we’re long gone. So consider taking the opportunity of the simulcast to model intentional, faithful living for your church’s young people, by having the youth group over, or chaperoning a youth group viewing at your church, where fun, curious discussion will abound.
  • Families – Gather your family together with other families to view the simulcast, and to begin the discussion on an immediate level. Often one of the challenges to living out faithful stewardship is the lack of a community to support and encourage you. It’s amazing how much support and encouragement you can gain from just joining with one other family in the same pursuits.

Reach Out
Just as a simulcast viewing can be an opportunity to broach the subject of creation care to your church family, it can also be an opportunity to further explain your faith to friends outside of the church.

  • Invite an environmentalist – Blessed Earth’s event is open to “many audiences who are interested in learning more about the church’s call to care for the planet.” That might include your co-worker that you connect with over hybrid vehicles and compost bins, but not over Jesus Christ. Inviting non-Christian friends who care deeply about the earth’s well-being may present the opportunity for them to get to know the Creator who made all that they so desperately want to preserve.
  • Invite the neighborhood – If you are fortunate enough to be watching the simulcast as a whole church community, and hosting the event at a church building, invite the neighbors to join you. In the simulcast startup kit, Blessed Earth provides a beautiful postcard mailer that you can disperse throughout the neighborhood to get the word out.

Follow Up
The Blessed Earth simulcast will only take a couple of hours out of your week. But its purpose is to spark worship and discipleship that will continue throughout its viewers’ lives. Here are a few suggestions for extending the conversation beyond when you turn off the computer screen:

  • Foster your own discussion – Before the simulcast begins, encourage the folks you are watching with to write their own questions, concerns, revelations, or observations about the simulcast’s subject matter as they watch. When the show is over, bring your notes to each other, and find comfort and challenge in one another’s questions and ideas.
  • Start a creation care ministry – Lots of churches are developing ministries to help church members be better stewards of creation. In fact, in the simulcast you’ll hear from a few congregations that support such ministries. Gathering a group of like-minded folks from within your congregation might be the first step in stewarding the creation God placed under our care.
  • Take a small step – But you don’t even need a church creation care ministry to get your church started on a more sustainable trajectory. Even a small step—organizing a trash clean up day, recycling church bulletins, or singing a few more hymns that speak of God’s created world—is a step in the right direction. View other articles in Flourish’s Cultivating Community series for ideas—both big and small—that your church can implement as it pursues more faithful stewardship of God’s world.

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