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How to host a rubbish church event

A guide to delivering a Rubbish Campaign talk or running an event in your church about the world’s rubbish problem.

Written by Tearfund | 25 Apr 2023

We have developed a range of resources to help your church go deeper on their journey on the issue of rubbish, consumerism and loving our global neighbours.

We have developed a range of resources to help your church go deeper on their journey on the issue of rubbish, consumerism and loving our global neighbours. Image: Jack Wakefield / Tearfund.

Our world has an urgent rubbish problem and it’s impacting people living in poverty the most. But Christians around the world are uniting to take action.

Through our Rubbish Campaign, we’re encouraging people just like you, in churches just like yours, to take their community on a journey to understand the scale of the plastic crisis, the issue of consumerism and what the Bible says about loving our global neighbours.

It doesn’t matter where your church is on this journey – whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been walking out creation care practices for years. The resources we’ve designed to help you can be adapted and tailored to suit your congregation. 

Why should I get my church involved?

God uses his church in many ways. Church communities, big or small, can be powerful agents for change and extremely influential. By teaching about the issue of consumerism and justice, you could encourage many individuals to live differently. They in turn could inspire others, catalysing a movement and bringing about change in your wider community.

Plus, there’s strength in numbers. We’ve seen many times that our voice is stronger together, and when churches take action and speak out (for example, by signing the Rubbish Campaign petition), governments and decision-makers notice and implement policies and practices that lead to systemic change.

This can also be a way for your church community to journey deeper into what it means to live our lives as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1). Together in community, we can learn how to surrender even more of ourselves to God as we live abundant lives of justice.

You can download our church talk, slides and resources for free to use in your church or small group. Image: Michael Ridley/ Tearfund

You can download our church talk, slides and resources for free to use in your church or small group. Image: Michael Ridley/ Tearfund.

Get started…

Firstly, think about how best to engage your church in taking part. Does your congregation have an eco group already organising programmes like this that you could partner with? If not, who is it best to go to? It could be the lead pastor or someone on the leadership team. Would you host a talk or event yourself, or would you get others to do it with you?

Choose an event

Then, think about what would be best: a sermon on a Sunday, a group event on an evening or a children’s activity – or you could do all three! We’ve got resources for all of these.

1. Church talk

We’ve written a church talk script that you can simply download, prepare and deliver as a Sunday morning sermon. There’s a 25-minute version and a 15-minute version, so you can choose the length that best suits your time slot. We’ve also created engaging PowerPoint slides to go with it.

The talk is based on a passage in Matthew 19 where Jesus speaks with the rich young man about his relationship with the things he owns. It challenges our personal discipleship and how we respond to global injustices, connecting this to our rubbish problem. 

At the end, your congregation can sign petition cards, pray together and find out about more ways they can take action.

Please get in touch with us on [email protected] at least two weeks before doing your talk, so we can support you and send some campaign cards to you.

2. Group resource

We’ve also developed a resource you can use in groups – big or small! It could be used with your church small group or Bible study, or you could run it with a sizeable number of people from your congregation. 

This is great for going deeper on consumerism and theology. The resource is designed to take your community on a journey, considering the issues and making a plan together for how you might respond.

There is a one-off event, or a series that runs over three sessions: you can pick the version that works best for your group. Download the one-off resource and accompanying slides, or the three-night session and slides

We believe amazing things happen when we share a meal around a table, as Jesus often did with his followers, so we encourage you to organise your event around having dinner together. Each version goes through the theology of consumerism and the impact of plastic pollution and considers practical steps for how churches can commit to living more simply. 

Again, let us know if you’re planning to run a group event by getting in touch on [email protected]

3. Children’s resources

You can also run an event in your children’s church or school! Children care about the world’s rubbish situation and want to do something about it, and this is a great way to get them involved in taking action.

Our children’s resource and slides are designed for children aged seven to 11. The resource includes a talk about waste and how Jesus taught us to love our neighbours. The talk leads into activities which include an opportunity for the children to influence the Government, make a rubbish heart and learn about twinning bins.

Keep in touch

Don’t forget to contact us to let us know you’re running an event. We’d love to support, encourage and pray for you as you get ready! Email us on [email protected] 


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Written by  Tearfund

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