Why should the church care about energy? One word comes to mind. Stewardship.
How a church manages its energy says a lot about its attitude towards stewardship. Waste in the church is simply unacceptable when there is so much need in the community. In most churches in America, energy costs are the church’s second largest operating expense behind salaries. Churches across the country have the opportunity to turn one of their greatest challenges into an incredible point of outreach.
The surrounding business and residential community faces the same issues. High energy bills can be a significant hardship for home owners. Higher energy bills coming in dig deeper into budgets. Many home owners faced with growing expenses are having to forgo routine upkeep of their homes. That is why Habitat for Humanity created A Brush With Kindness, as a community service, to assist homeowners who are struggling with upkeep. The church can join this movement first by getting its own facilities as energy efficient as possible. Second, the church can then reach out to homeowners business in the community with energy efficiency efforts. The church can lead their community as influencers of energy Stewardship.
Here are three ideas for churches to consider as this conversation get’s going:
1. Build community awareness.
Host a community energy summit. Bring in the experts to help educate church leaders and home owners about energy efficiency. Focus on quick savings gained through lost cost solutions like switching lightbulbs to CFL and LED bulbs throughout can save them 10% on their bills. Teach them how heating and air conditioning are the largest contributors to high energy bills and how improperly insulated homes will cause their heating to run longer. The church can exemplify these principles with its own projects and energy campaigns.
2. Rally around community sustainability projects.
Co-sponsor community projects like upgrading the lights at the ball park to LED or solar path lighting in public spaces. Towns and cities are coming up with innovative ways to improve it’s energy efficiency. Your church should be apart of those conversations and activities. It’s an opportunity to show the community that the church cares about its community and maintains a presence in matters impacting its neighbors.
3. Green makeover homes in the community (‘Habitat For Humanity Style’).
Take a page out of Habitat For Humanity’s playbook. Consider hosting a community home makeover. Paint exteriors, give away CFL bulbs, seal roof and window leaks and more. Have members of your congregation nominate home owners in need of assistance and tackle one home at a time as resources become available. Don’t forget to invite the neighborhood to help out.
Next time we’ll take a look at a real life example of how a church found value in its commitment to energy stewardship in their outreach efforts.