Should Churches Be Green?

I have been thinking a lot about ways that I can be more environmentally friendly. After all it was one of my New Year’s resolutions. So my wife and I have made a concerted effort to begin recycling, which has reduced the amount of garbage going out to the curb in half. And I have also gotten my parent’s to start doing the same thing. I find great pleasure now in taking my garbage out to the curb along with my recycling bin knowing that I have reduced the amount of waste we send to the dump.

Then it got me to thinking about why it is that churches have not taken a greater role in this as well, because churches produce a lot of trash. The Bible says in Genesis 1:26-31 (TNIV)….

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created human beings in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

So if we as Christ-Followers are supposed to care for the earth then shouldn’t the church take the lead on being environmentally friendly? I don’t know where I stand in regards to global warming, but even if it is not true, how hard is it to not waste and instead recycle? Why not do what we can to be better stewards with our resources? With all of the paper from bulletins/programs that are left over, plastic water bottles, etc. There is so much that can and should be recycled.

Then I also started thinking about the amount of energy a church uses in electricity. Why can’t/shouldn’t a church line their roof with solar panels and harness the power from the sun to power the church. Think of the amount of money that a church could save by doing this. Not to mention think of how much better using them could be for the environment. Sure it would be a big up front cost, but somehow I think that it is worth it. Plus, then you would never have to cancel a service due to a power outage and we all know that pastors would love that idea, because that means that they won’t miss out on a week’s offerings.

And if a church is building new facilities I think that they should see what they can do to try and meet the standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. That way we are building churches that have a low impact on the environment and I think we are doing our best to bring heaven to earth. We are told right in the beginning to take care of the earth and to do that, I believe, we need to start being a lot more environmentally friendly. And churches need to start taking the lead on this and showing the world that we believe that God’s creation is just as important to save as our friends who do not have a relationship with Christ.

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Kim, father to Hannah & Caleb, and the connections pastor at The River Church. The thoughts expressed here are my own and not The River Church's.

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