FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2016
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Evangelical Worship Leaders Unite on Climate Change
#ForTheLoveOf campaign and film launch signals shift among evangelicals on addressing climate crisis.
Some of the nation’s leading evangelical worship leaders and recording artists are the latest converts in the global movement to fight climate change. On the eve of the ratification of the Paris climate agreement, where an estimated 60 world leaders will attend the official signing ceremony in New York, these artists are launching a new campaign and film aimed at reaching millions of Christians who sing their songs every week in congregations across America.
"When I lead worship my hope is to draw people closer to God, and they inevitably encounter a God who cares deeply for the poor and loves his creation. Climate change is an issue that affects both," said Stephen Roach, one of the artists leading this effort. "I see creation as God’s art. If we worship him, and have this sense of reverence for what he’s made, then we need to be good stewards of creation.” (Click here to see #FORTHELOVEOF film trailer.)
Along with Roach, three other artists—John Mark McMillan, Sarah McMillan and William Matthews—have joined forces with Micah Challenge, a Christian global justice network, to reach Millennial evangelicals with the campaign and organize hundreds of watch-parties for a documentary titled #FORTHELOVEOF featuring these artists.
The film follows these artists on a learning journey from the comforts of their home congregations in the bible belt to COP21—the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference—in Paris, where their preexisting views on climate change are challenged and transformed through meetings with world leaders, scientists and Christians from the global south. The film features pivotal moments between the artists and former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson; Bishop Efraim Tindero, Secretary General of World Evangelical Alliance, representing 6 million evangelical Christians worldwide; and Filipino climate diplomat, Yeb Sano, whose devout Christian faith drives his work on these issues.
Reflecting on her climate change journey in the film, artist Sarah McMillan observed, "Most people that love God, if they could see it for what it really is—why wouldn’t they want to continue to take care of what he has made?”
A recent study on religious beliefs of climate change echoes McMillan’s view, suggesting her perspective points at a broader trend. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University has identified a segment of religious Americans—“Religious Greens”—who attend church weekly and are more likely to trust their religious beliefs than scientific facts when the two are in conflict, but who also believe global warming is happening (9 in 10 of them) and believe the environmental crisis is more serious than most people think (7 in 10 of them).
This research underscores the opportunity and the urgent need for new and innovative approaches to reaching evangelicals around climate change, especially through religious leaders they already trust, respect and admire.
“Worship leaders play such an influential role in the life of the church,” said Jason Fileta, Director of Micah Challenge, “These artists offer fellow Christians a powerful invitation to join them on a journey from climate change skeptics to learners, and from learners to advocates. Their example helps give people permission to look closer.”
The #FORTHELOVEOF campaign will launch on Thursday, April 21 with a live-streamed film-screening event and artist appearance at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon followed by a day of action on Earth Day (Friday, April 22) aimed at garnering broader exposure for the film and inviting evangelicals across America to join the movement.
About John Mark McMillan
John Mark McMillan is well-known for writing the GMA Dove Award nominated “Worship Song of the Year” song “How He Loves” off his album The Medicine and has performed as a solo artist for over 10 years. “How He Loves” has been listed by Integrity Music as one of the 25 most influential worship songs in the past 25 years and still today ranks on CCLI’s Top 25 chart. The song is certified Gold and has been covered by David Crowder, Kim Walker-Smith, Kari Jobe, Flyleaf, Hillsong, Todd Agnew, Jared Anderson and many others. Last year, John Mark launched his own record label, Lionhawk Records, through which he released his latest full-length album Borderland. Borderland debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Christian & Gospel chart and was on Billboard’s Top 200 last year.
About William Matthews
William Matthews is a worship leader, singer-songwriter, and recording artist apart of Bethel Music’s Artist Collective. He is featured on several Bethel Music albums, contributing songs such as “Ascend” ( Tides/Tides Live ), “Deep Cries Out” ( Be Lifted High ) and “Hope’s Anthem” ( Be Lifted High ). In 2011 William released his first solo album Hope’s Anthem full of dynamic songs of praise and declaration and adoration. William’s heart is to release creativity and joy through prophetic worship and to develop worship leaders who are devoted to a lifestyle of prayer and intercession. His leadership stirs greater freedom in the hearts of worshipers and his fellow leaders, and he demonstrates active risk-taking in worship as He faithfully pursues God’s voice.
About Stephen Roach
Stephen Roach is a worshiper, poet, percussionist, and songwriter. He and his wife, Sarah, are a part of Morningstar Ministries in Winston-Salem, where Stephen oversees the worship department. Stephen travels, leading worship and teaching on creativity and the pursuit of God. Stephen and Sarah are also involved with A Place for the Heart ministries, where they help lead monthly worship gatherings to release worship throughout the city and triad area. His instrumental band, Songs of Water, plays in churches, coffee houses, bars, and festivals. Stephen's passion is to explore the heart of our creative God and release the sounds of heaven to the church and to the world.
About Sarah McMillan
Sarah McMillan's passion for worship and the arts exploded in the late 1990s while touring North and South America with performance companies like Ben and Robin Pasley's "Enter the Worship Circle." After relocating to North Carolina in 2000, Sarah planned to develop her skills as a potter and songwriter. At the same time, she became involved in the flourishing community of worshipers and artists. She began to write and sing her own unique sound of sweet, folksy material. Sarah McMillan's folk compositions are intimate, accessible, and sincere. She and her husband, John Mark, live in Charlotte, NC with their three young children.
About Micah Challenge
Micah Challenge is a global Christian campaign to end extreme poverty. Inspired by scripture, guided by the Holy Spirit, and covered in prayer we advocate for a more just world. Extreme poverty and hunger will not be overcome by securing more food, but by securing more justice. It is for this reason that we engage in transformational advocacy. In the US Micah Challenge acts as a campaign of organizations, churches, colleges, families, and individuals educating and inspiring Christians to take action against extreme poverty. Micah Challenge USA facilitates advocacy actions on key issues that will affect the global poor.