Cultivating Community Round-Up: A Resource Guide for Caring for Creation at Church

Hosting a plant swap is a great way to cultivate community.(cc image courtesy edmittance via flickr)

[Ed. note: This article is part of our weekly series of resources for churches and families called Cultivating Community published on Thursdays.]

Every Thursday on the blog we set aside space to talk about how to care for creation at church in practical, tangible ways—that’s what Cultivating Community is all about! This week we are taking a look through our archives and consolidating the best church-centered creation care activities together in one place. If you are involved in a bible study on creation care or a group dedicated to issues of environmental stewardship at church, take some time to talk and pray with others about which of the ideas collected here are right for your church.

Churches and Community

Don’t Walk Alone: How To Make Your Church Walkable
Where can you walk from your church? Who can walk to your church? Improving walkability is good for creation and communities.

Streams in the Desert: 5 Steps Toward Restoring Waterways as a Church
A stream cleanup: A simple way to engage the community and care for creation, all in the amount of time it takes to hold a church potluck!

Hosting an Eco-friendly Car Wash at Church
Did you know that the most environmentally friendly car wash is a professional one? Still, it is possible to wash your car on your own in a conscientious way. Here’s how.

Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt an Important Role in Your Community
You’ve seen those “Adopt-a-Highway” signs on the side of the road. Your church’s name can be on one of them!

Cultivate Community by Sharing Your Skills (and your truck, and your weed whacker…)
You might not be asking your neighbors for a cup of sugar these days, but there’s a simple way to build community and counter materialism by swapping skills and items through your church.

How to Organize a “Swap and Share” Event at Your Church
Before you buy that next season of your favorite TV show ask yourself, “Does someone in my community already have this?” Before you throw away those old things that have been sitting untouched in the storage closet for three years, ask yourself, “Does someone in my community already have this?” Surprisingly often the answer to these two questions is “yes.”

Churches and the Need for the “Third Place”
Community members need to gather at a “third place” other than work and home, in order to flourish. These are common spaces where people can meet and community can thrive. Learn how your church can step into or create these “third places” and love its neighbors there.

Your Neighborhood is a Mission Field: Churches and the Neighborly Arts
Learn how your church can mobilize its resources to be a blessing in its community.

Churches and Resources

Ethical Coffee: “Just Drinking” at the Church Coffee Hour
Fair trade, organic, shade grown, church-going, college-educated … how many adjectives does our coffee need before it’s OK to drink? And is it possible to drink it at church? Yes!

Save Barrels by Reviving the Rain Barrel
The rain barrel is no longer a slimy swamp of mosquito larvae. In fact, it can save your church lots of money and the world lots of water. Here’s how to get water conservation started at your church with a rain barrel.

Since they don't biodegrade, plastic bags end up in lots of strange places. (cc image courtesy InfinityGivingCircle via flickr)

Bagging Plastic (and Paper!) with Your Own Reusable Bags
The cloth bags your church members will be carrying around town will do more than just keep plastic bags out of sea turtles’ stomachs. They’ll also let others know about your church community and how it serves.

How to Start Recycling at Church
Recycling is a measure of good stewardship, a good witness, and a wise use of resources. So why don’t more churches do it? Learn how your church can start.

Audit and Fix It: The First Two Steps to Becoming an Energy-Efficient Church
An energy audit is so simple the church youth group can do it! A few minor changes to your church’s facilities are all it takes to lower energy costs and environmental destruction.

Building Energy Efficiency into Church
A “green” facility is a great witness to the world of your church’s commitment to following every aspect of God’s will. Here’s how to “green” your church building from top to bottom.

The Easiest Way for Your Church to Save Energy and Money
Changing light bulbs might be one of the easiest ways to conserve energy, but there’s a pretty demanding motivation behind it …

Save on Gas and Grow in Fellowship: Three Steps to Carpooling to Church
The carpool declined in popularity in the 20th century, but is it having a renaissance? Here are three steps to bringing the carpool to church.

Water Conservation at Church: Saving Water Indoors
Well-digging is only half of the equation. To be compassionate stewards of God’s creation, Christians must conserve water at church as well as provide it to the thirsty.

Water Conservation at Church: Saving Water Outdoors
Now that you’ve fixed every leak inside your church’s building, it’s time to turn your attention to the outside–where there’s even more to do!

How to do a Church Waste Audit
It doesn’t have to be true that the larger your church gets the more waste it produces. There are many ways to cut down on trash: composting, recycling, changing light bulbs, offering reusable mugs instead of paper coffee cups, and the list goes on. Get started cutting down your church’s waste with these helpful ideas!

Cutting Down Plastic Waste at Church
America makes a lot of plastic waste, and—for the most part—churches do the same. Here is a guide to how your church can steward resources well by cutting down on plastic waste.

Churches, Food, and God’s Land

Extending the Front Porch: Is Your Church Ready for a Garden?
Do you have enough sun? Do you have enough money? What will be the goal of the garden? These questions and others are what you need to ask before your church plants a community garden.

Ten Ways to Grow Your Own Food(shed)
“Your church’s members have probably helped build a house for a deserving family. Now they can help build something much larger.”

“A Thrilling Encounter with God”: How to Start a Church Prayer Garden
Where can you experience a thrilling encounter with God? In a prayer garden. Here’s how your church can create one.

Churches and Plants and Animals

Habitat Restoration: If you Build a Bird House, the Birds Will Come
Does your church want to care for creation in a way that is easy, inexpensive, and still important? Build a bird house–or a few–to encourage love for and protection of God’s creatures.

Three Steps to a Hosting a Plant Swap at Church
Bring a plant, get a plant! A plant swap is an easy (and cheap!) way to build community with others from outside of your church by stewarding God’s creation together.

Right at Home: Building Church Partnerships with Local Nature Preserves
Every step of stewardship helps strengthen and nurture the earth’s biodiversity by protecting and cultivating the abundance of created life, but a particularly helpful step that your church family can take locally is to develop a partnership with a local nature preserve.

How Your Church Can Help Shelter Animals Find Their Way Home
Animals end up in shelters for a variety of reasons, but not all of them make it out. Here’s how your church can help get more happy, healthy shelter pets adopted!

A Church Yard Butterfly Garden Invites Wings into Worship
A butterfly garden is one of the easiest gardens to start and keep up–and one of the most rewarding!

Churches and the Outdoors

Sunday School: Taking it Outside
We all know that taking traditionally indoor activities into nature can be tricky. Here are some suggestions for taking your weekly worship outdoors in a way that will simultaneously glorify the Creator and allow everyone to fully enjoy his creation.

Nature Observation Walk
A nature observation walk with a group of friends gives us fresh air, fellowship, exercise, and a chance to sharpen our observation skills. It can deepen friendships by getting us out of our usual routines, and bring us closer to God. With this activity, you’ll look a little more closely at your surroundings and have a deeper experience of creation. It can be a short walk in a city park or an all-day event further afield.



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