Release: Surprising Cast of Christian Speakers at Flourish

CONFERENCE ON THE CHURCH AND THE ENVIRONMENT will emphasize biblical teaching, stewardship, and ministry integration; transcending divisive political issues

ATLANTA, March 23, 2009 – A national gathering of church leaders will focus on the unique opportunities for Christian churches to embrace environmental stewardship. The Flourish National Church Leaders Conference on Creation Care (www.flourishonline.org/flourish-2009-conference/), will be held at CrossPointe Church near Atlanta, May 13-15, 2009.

The conference features a collection of well-known evangelical speakers, most of whom are not associated with the creation care movement, with some speaking on the subject for the first time. Speakers include: Southern Baptist leaders Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, Lifeway’s Ed Stetzer, and former SBC president James Merritt, pastor of the host church. Other speakers: Leroy Barber, Andy Crouch, Margaret Feinberg, Joel Hunter, Jo Anne Lyon, Matthew Sleeth, Chris Seay, Rick McKinley, Gabe Lyons, Tri Robinson, and Ken Wilson (speaker information at www.flourishonline.org/flourish-2009-conference/speakers/).

  • “This may be a turning point in the shape of evangelical engagement with environmental action.” David Neff, editor-in-chief and vice president, Christianity Today.
  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 21: Dr. James Merritt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said: “Being a conservative — social, political and theological — I took a little bit of a jaundiced view of the whole Al Gore approach to environmental phenomena.” But Merritt, like many evangelical and conservative Christians, has crossed over and now sees taking care of the environment as a faith issue, “creation care,” as he terms it.

“A new kind of evangelical conversation about God’s creation is beginning, and Flourish will be one of the milestones. Those who attend will be on the leading edge of a significant new movement that I believe will, and must, shape the Church and our culture for generations to come,” said Christianity Today International vice president Andy Crouch, author of Culture Making.

A recent Barna poll indicates that 90 percent of evangelicals in America would like to see Christians do more to care for God’s creation. At the same time, 74 percent are skeptical about the causes of global warming and suspect media exaggeration.

The poll showed that most don’t know what to do next to advance responsible environmental stewardship. The FLOURISH conference will include workshops and resources that focus on helping churches with programs and materials for the teaching and demonstration of biblically balanced care for the environment, and help on saving energy costs.

The first national gathering of its kind, the Flourish conference will include three major areas of concentration that organizers believe are necessary for the church to have a robust Gospel-witness in the 21st century: 1. Creation care in theology, worship, and evangelism; 2. The greening of church operations, and 3. Personal discipleship.

Media Note: For more information, or to interview any of the conference speakers or Flourish President Rusty Pritchard, contact Debbie Payton at (404) 245-8500; email: dpayton@rooftopmediaworks.com.

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