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Creation Care as Discipleship


As the Spirit leads, some of the practical steps you may decide to take will involve the four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose.

Reduce and Recycle

Christians need discernment from the Spirit regarding specific steps to take as obedient stewards of creation.

Although humans need to live as consumers, we can take simple steps to consume less than our normal custom simply by purchasing fewer products. (Important lessons exist here for believers, too, about greed, materialism, and envy, as opposed to contentment, thankfulness, and trust!) We can reduce consumption by following water, gasoline, and energy conservation tips. Simply saying “No, thank you” to extra packaging when possible, going paperless, and buying reusable goods all help in using less. Often people associate creation care only with recycling, but if we use less in the first place, we have less to recycle!

Reuse and Repurpose

Reusing and repurposing are also good, practical means of creation care. Donating clothing, giving used home furnishings and appliances to Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store, using cloth towels instead of paper towels, using washable cups instead of Styrofoam or paper cups, composting, saving used water in the home or collecting rain in barrels for watering gardens are ideas for individuals and groups to consider.

One interfaith organization, GreenFaith (see, helps people of faith take practical steps in all of the four “R” areas, providing resources on energy conservation, renewable energy, water conservation, toxics reduction, grounds maintenance, waste reduction and recycling, and green building. Their DVD, Renewal,26 recounts several stories of their initiatives.

Connect and Communicate

Involvement with organizations that are effective in conservation efforts is another way to participate in creation care. A significant number of Evangelicals have found ways to volunteer with A Rocha, an international Christian organization “inspired by God’s love, [that] engages in scientific research, environmental education and community-based conservation projects.”27

Image: Danist Soh

The opportunities are endless. The more you change your way of thinking and acting as a steward of God’s creation—not out of guilt or obligation, but rather excitement about loving and serving God and others—the more you will want to share this opportunity with others. You’ll find yourself communicating about it through social media and conversations with family, friends, church and community groups, and even total strangers! Begin by asking God to renew your understanding of His Word by the direction of His Spirit. He will show you how to participate.

One Story: A School Recycles

In the fall of 2009, in an attempt to better steward God’s creation, the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri began to take steps toward a more environmentally friendly use of its resources. The waste company provided a dumpster for recyclables. Students, staff, and administrators formed a weekly schedule of volunteers to pick up recyclables around the building. The Student Advisory Council also installed boxes to collect aluminum cans—proceeds of which go toward Habitat for Humanity.

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2016

About the Author: Lois E. Olena, D.Min. (Assemblies of God Theological Seminary), is Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Jewish Studies and the D.Min. Project Coordinator at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri. She also served as Executive Director of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (2011-2016). Her publications include Stanley M. Horton: Shaper of Pentecostal Theology (Gospel Publishing House, 2010), co-editor/co-author with Eric Newberg of Children of the Calling: Essays in Honor of Stanley M. Burgess and Ruth V. Burgess (Pickwick, 2014), and numerous book chapters, articles, and reviews. She is presently finalizing (with Margaret de Alminana) a co-edited/co-authored volume for Brill’s Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies series. AGTS Faculty page

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