Using Environmental Care to Minister to Young Adults | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
March 2012

Using Environmental Care to Minister to Young Adults

By John Hodges-Batzka
Caring for Creation with Young Adults Resources
As a person who takes ministry with youth and young adults seriously, I believe that it is important to take into account the diversity of forms that such ministry takes. One of the forms of ministry with young people that has become to me has been caring for creation. I think that as part of our goal of creating committed disciples of Christ, we need to instill in young people the value of caring for the world that God has so graciously given us. I was fortunate to talk about this subject a few days ago at the Caring for Creation conference at Lake Junaluska. In order to prepare my for my presentation, I went through a number of studies on Young Adult ministry, environmental theology, and would like to share them with you for your own study. You can see the list below. Also, if you attended the conference or are interested in the ways that young people can be involved in environmental protections, go ahead and leave a comment or ask a question. Doing so can we can learn from each other on this important aspect of ministry with young people.


Click here for the outline of my presentation at Caring for Creation. You can find a rough sketch of the concepts and ideas I used in the presentation, as well as discussion questions.

Recent Studies

In my presentation I mentioned several studies that dealt with issues of the environment and the church as well as studies on young adult opinions on the Church.
  • A graph showing opinions on climate change based on religious affiliation.
  • The Barna research group recently conducted a study about how young adults feel about the church and why they do not take part any more. You can find several stories about the results below. You can find commentaries on these studies here and here.

News Articles and Commentaries

A recent nationwide study of young people found that too many young people think that “Churches come across as antagonistic to science.” In this commentary, found in the United Methodist News Service by Gary B. Sherman, a veterinarian who has conducted research for more than 25 years, the point is made that the church can open itself to young people increasingly familiar with science by becoming more open to science itself. You can find the article here Four Ways to Answer Skeptics on Climate Change – This article, written about an emerging voice from the religious climate change community, Katherine Hayhoe, talks about relating climate change to religious and spiritual responsibility. The article can be found here.

Blog Posts

I came across several great blogs in preparation for my presentation. Christian Piatt is an expert on Young Adult ministry from the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) tradition. These articles talk about some of the ways in which the church can do better in reaching out to young adults. He has also written several books for young adults and young adult groups. He has a two part series on why young adults leave the church. The National Catholic Reporter, an online Catholic social justice community, maintains a blog called Eco-Catholic. The entire blog is great at connecting complex theological ideas with caring for creation. This article takes a look at using liturgy to teach about creation as well as build a closer relationship with God.