Children are the lifeblood of any congregation, but when it comes to ecclesiastic climate education, the youth are often overlooked. A perceived inability for them to have a real impact on the environment has led us to neglect our creation care ministry in youth groups. Alas, there are ways to instill stewardship amongst the adolescent demographic; albeit, more abstractly.
Somewhere between nineteen and twenty-three percent of church attendees are under the age of 18, most of which suffer from a nature deficiency. In a Christian Post article, Kids and Nature: A Win-Win, A-Rocha Executive director, Thomas Rowley, explains that adolescent engagement with nature has declined fifty percent in just over a decade. Luckily, reintroducing children to God’s creation is as simple as scheduling outdoor Bible studies or youth retreats that emphasis stewardship. For children to fully comprehend the prophetic beauty of the creation story, they must see it. This will both instill a sense of responsibility, while bringing them closer to God.
When educating children about climate care, it’s important to keep it simple. Show them that the earth is a gift from God, in which they are bestowed the responsibility of maintaining. You may further achieve this by implementing manageable, youth run recycling programs at your worship facility or starting a church garden. Enacting these programs today, will provide them with a healthy lifestyle, ensuring a path to a better (Blessed) tomorrow.
Nature is good for us.
Obvious as that may be, Richard Louv’s celebrated Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder provides study upon study substantiating and quantifying the notion: Time outside engaged in nature makes us happier and healthier.
The flip side, of course, is just as obvious if increasingly ignored in our techno-saturated lives: Alienation from nature leads to a host of problems, among them “diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses.”
In turn we are (created to be) good for nature.
Again, obvious to some. Not so much to others. I’ve heard more than a few people (including Christians) argue that nature is here solely for mankind’s benefit. An all-you-can eat, cut, shoot, drill and mine buffet. And I’ve heard a few people argue that mankind is a pestilence on the planet, which must be controlled if not eradicated for other species to survive.
Both are wrong.