For some, the word “green” has become politically charged. This is incredibly unfortunate. We are stewards of God’s resources—and that includes creation. If we can do the important work of leading people to Jesus and helping them grow in maturity, and at the same time reduce our impact on the planet, we should do so.
Here are some ecologically-minded tips for doing ministry:
1. Try going paperless
Think of how much money is spent each week printing up bulletins. Between the cost of paper, ink, and printer maintenance, it’s a lot of time and resources invested in something that just gets stuck in Bibles, tossed on the floor of cars, or thrown away.
Beyond bulletins, think of all the things that something like a church app can replace:
- Connection cards
- Sign-up forms
- Sermon notes
- Sunday school class information
The money saved by going paperless alone could almost cover the cost of a church app—which would make a lot of these paper tools obsolete anyway!
2. Unsubscribe from junk mail and catalogs
Churches are big business for a lot of companies. It seems that as soon as you buy any big-ticket item, you end up on a mailing list for junk mail and catalogs. We cut down more than 100 million trees every year for ads and brochures. Consider how much CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere with the creation and distribution of this—largely useless—garbage.
Ruthlessly unsubscribe from junk mail and reward companies that don’t use online services and marketing as opposed to old-school ads and catalogs.
3. Don’t make frugality your number-one consideration
When it comes to making big-ticket purchases, it’s easy for church boards to make saving money the highest priority. When buying things like computers, pulpits, or soundboards, the goal should be longevity. Sometimes buying frugally means that you’re going to be spending that money again in a couple years and throwing the previous purchase into a landfill.
Investing in high-quality equipment can end up saving you money in the long run and be a greener choice. As we pointed out earlier, an app might initially seem like an unnecessary expense, but it ends up paying off in the long run while completely cutting back on waste.
4. Do service projects in your community
Our care for creation needs to go beyond our church building and into our communities. Find ways for your church to get involved with picking up litter and caring for your city’s parks and streams.
Not only will you help beautify your surroundings, but you’ll have a real impact on people in your community who believe that the church doesn’t care about the planet.
5. Encourage digital giving
To truly be more green, you need to think about your systems. For instance, your church’s financial system doesn’t stop at taking offerings. That money needs to be deposited, and giving receipts need to be given every year.
Digital giving cuts down on the use of checks, the number of deposits that need to be made, and it can digitize annual giving receipts—cutting back further on paper and the environmental impact of mailing them. (Here’s another area where a church app experience can help you go green, positively impact your bottom line, and save you hassles.)
The Earth Is the Lord’s
As the Psalmist reminds us:
The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world and all who dwell in it. For he has founded it upon the seas. And established it upon the rivers.
It’s possible to do ministry and make wise environmental decisions. In the end, being green will help us streamline many of our processes, improve our influence in our communities, and even save us money. The only question is: Why wouldn’t you go green?