My mum used to run workshops helping people upcycle goods, thereby turning “trash into treasure.” Long before Pinterest, mum understood that creativity and passion can provide a steady source of income. I think something similar is happening globally, not just with arts and crafts, but with business plans and sustainability initiatives.

The church of the future will have long-term vision, working toward inspiring others, believing that perhaps someone is learning from her example. Perhaps because the small commitments we make collectively do add up to a significant difference. Perhaps because there is value in simply not making things worse. Perhaps our shared commitment to sustainable ecology fosters enough research funding that we can solve the problem of pollution entirely through some as-of-yet undiscovered means of air filtration. Perhaps our concerns, cares, and careful activities are never wasted.

Whether turning plastic bottles into ropes and baskets or collecting household items to be melted down and repurposed, our garbage doesn’t have to stay that way. Neither does our trash have to be disposed of by big machines and dangerous chemicals. Instead, we can put our trash to good use, bringing new life out of old items.

Adapted from Then. Now. Next.: A Biblical vision of the church, the kingdom, and the future.