Across the world we are facing an ecological crisis. We see rapid climate change, many species of plants and animals threatened with extinction, growing deserts, ocean acidification, pollution of the air, water and soils, and destruction or degradation of forests, wetlands and other eco-systems. We also see rapidly growing cities where many people come looking for a better future, yet often find crowded and unhealthy living conditions.
What is a distinctly Christian response to this crisis? First, we are to understand that the root cause of the ecological crisis is mankind’s sin and self-centeredness. Then, because Jesus is Lord of creation, we are to respond with grace and with hope. Our hope is not just in the ultimate restoration of creation when Jesus returns in His glory, but also in the power of the Holy Spirit to make us effective ambassadors for Christ, proclaiming the message of reconciliation between the God of love and all things in His creation, through the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Colossians 1:20).
In Mongolia, as in many other parts of the world, the problems we face may seem so huge and complicated that our efforts cannot make any significant difference. Yet, as with the boy with five loaves and two fishes, Jesus only asks us to bring Him what He has given us; then He will do more than we can ask or imagine, making His church a sign of His kingdom, to His glory.
In May JCS arranged a 2-day course to explore these themes.
– We started with a Bible workshop, looking at what it means to care for creation. We are called to be regents, carefully ruling the earth on God’s behalf; we are called to work and protect the ‘garden’ (living sustainably in our neighborhood); and we are called to be ‘heirs of the land’, maintaining its fruitfulness for the coming generations.
– This led into sessions on ‘place-knowing’, ‘place-keeping’ and ‘place-mending’, in which participants were encouraged to consider how to apply these themes in the places where they are called to serve.
– The final session was on ‘vision, mission and values for project leaders’. We are to seek God’s vision for His wounded creation, the mission that He gives to each of us to help fulfil that vision, and the biblical values that should shape how we carry out our mission.
On 5 May JCS arranged an additional 1-day workshop on the planning and managing of building projects, based on vision, mission and values. This included a report from Odbaatar, the project manager who oversaw the construction of the new Mongolian Mission Center in Erdenet.
The notes and presentations for the course and workshop are available from David Gould (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). David is an architect from the UK, with 12 years’ working experience in East Asia. As the OMF International Facilitator for Creation Care, he has been tasked with exploring the growing ecological crisis, its impacts on the peoples of East Asia, and appropriate missional responses. Give praise that the Lord is calling a new generation of people to offer their creation care skills in mission among the peoples of East Asia.