Evangelical pastors and lay leaders gathered Thursday for the first-ever Creation Care Conference (C3), held outside Orlando, Fla.
The one day event, hosted by the megachurch Northland, a Church Distributed, aimed to teach churches and Christians the biblical importance of environmental stewardship and how to care for God's creation. About 125 people attended the conference, mostly from central Florida, but there were also participants from another half a dozen states.
The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals, said that global warming is "an offense against God," according to the Orlando Sentinel.
"America needs our biblical outrage. We as a nation will face a judgment from God if we don't do this," said Cizik, who has spearheaded the green evangelical movement at the anger of some leaders in his circle. Cizik's critics argue that he is distracting attention away from more important issues such as abortion and gay rights.
But Northland pastor and fellow NAE leader, the Rev. Joel Hunter, agrees with Cizik. Hunter said although evangelicals are latecomers to the environmental movement, they are determined to make up for lost time and become a strong voice in the green campaign.
Northland's pastor said the goal of the summit was to "get mutually stirred up" and to "assume stewardship of this issue."
Christians were urged to be involved in grassroots as well as national campaigns – everything from church recycling projects to lobbying for legislation.
"Evangelicals have become the go-to religious community on climate change," Cizik said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "The political center of gravity has unmistakably shifted on this issue."
Other keynote speakers included: Calvin B. DeWitt, professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies; Tri Robinson, senior pastor of Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Boise, Idaho; and Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Diocese of Orlando.
The gathering was co-sponsored by the National Association of Evangelicals and Energy Star.