2015 has been a rough year for God’s creation, but an amazing year for the evangelical creation care movement.
There is no question that God’s creation took a beating this year. The list is depressing: drought in California, floods in Chili’s Atacama Desert (one of the world’s driest places), a heat wave in Antarctica, typhoons in the Philippines, El Niño in the Pacific—along with new records set for temperature (2015 will be the warmest year ever recorded after breaking the same record last year) and for atmospheric CO2 (we’ve just passed 400 ppm, the highest levels of CO2 since record-keeping began).
Even as all of that was happening, God’s people started waking up. A global campaign impacted people and churches in almost 50 countries, a worldwide network started to take shape, and in many countries small grassroots efforts began to take off. Even as we mourn the environmental disasters that are occurring, I am convinced that we will look back on 2015 as the year that the global church started to take notice and began to change direction. These are exciting days!
One of the most visible signs of this new awakening is the Lausanne Global Campaign for Creation Care and the Gospel. This initiative grew out of Cape Town 2010 and the Global Consultation on Creation Care and the Gospel held in Jamaica in 2012, and is centered on the Jamaica Call to Action statement.
The five-year campaign, a partnership between Care of Creation, A Rocha International, and many other groups working together under the Lausanne Creation Care Network, began in March 2014 in Manila with a regional conference for Southeast Asia. This was followed in 2015 by four additional conferences:
- East and Central Africa (March, Nairobi)
- North America, ie Canada and the US (July, Boston)
- Latin America (September; Cusco, Peru)
- West Africa (November; Accra, Ghana)
The entire campaign is based on The Cape Town Commitment’s affirmation that ‘creation care is a gospel issue’, or as expanded slightly in the Jamaica Call to Action, ‘creation care is an issue that must be included in our response to the gospel’. We pursue creation care not in place of the gospel, but because of the gospel.
These conferences have had an amazing impact on the participants. David, attending the East Africa Conference, says, ‘The Lausanne East and Central Africa conference was a life-changing experience for me. It was enriching to sit and listen to choice men and women of God and conservation professionals and to hear what God says about creation care and our role as stewards of his treasures.’
Steve, a mission executive from North America writes, ‘Never in my life have I been to a conference which impacted me so much. I am still reliving it. The friendships I made, the contacts I made, and the joy of a double shared cause (Jesus and his creation) continue to be a motivator for me.’
The campaign conferences are action-oriented and we are seeing things happen around the world as a result: a global network is taking shape. One of our most exciting success stories is Singapore, where an entire national creation care movement is blossoming, with its own organized local conferences, church teams, and nature walks. The Philippines has produced an entire creation care curriculum in two languages. Even as you read this, evangelicals from more than 15 nations are meeting in Paris for the United Nationals COP 21 climate meetings—a partnership of Lausanne, the World Evangelical Alliance, A Rocha International, and many other groups. Their emphasis will be on prayer and intercession in the face of a global climate crisis.
There is no question that God—and his church—is on the move around the world with regard to creation care!
- Summary video from the East Africa Creation Care conference
- Presentations from the North America Creation Care conference
Regional Creation Care Facebook Groups