Interview of Rev Dr Ben Lowe (守仁), A Rocha USA Executive Director
by Laura Vessey and Hannah Gillespie
Please join A Rocha USA in extending a warm welcome to our new Executive Director, Rev Dr Ben Lowe (守仁)! Ben is no stranger to the A Rocha family, having served as the former A Rocha USA Board Chair (2020-2021), Vice-Chair (2019), and Board Member (2018-2021). Most recently, he served as Deputy Executive Director for A Rocha International (2022-2023) and Senior Advisor to the Executive Director’s Office (2021). Ben’s undergraduate training is in environmental biology from Wheaton College, and he holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology, from the University of Florida. Ben is also an ordained Christian minister in the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Whether you’re getting reacquainted or meeting Ben for the first time, join us for this special interview as he shares his passion for God, people, and conservation—and what inspires him most heading into this next chapter with A Rocha USA. Read on for the engaging interview with A Rocha USA Executive Director, Rev Dr Ben Lowe.
Q: First of all, congratulations on your appointment as Executive Director of A Rocha USA! We are honored to have you leading the team. Many of us have worked with you in different capacities over the years, but for those that might be meeting you for the first time, can you share a bit about your background and career path, as well as what has called you to be part of the A Rocha organization over the years?
A: Thanks! It’s great to be back at A Rocha USA and I’m very excited about the season ahead. Growing up in Southeast Asia, I fell in love with creation while exploring the rainforests and mud flats but also witnessed the damage that slash and burn agriculture, untreated sewage disposal, and coastal pollution have on natural and human communities. An early lesson I took away from these experiences is that when the land isn’t healthy, people aren’t healthy.
It wasn’t until my undergraduate years at Wheaton College, however, that I connected the dots between my love for the Creator and my love for the Creation. This eventually led me to be part of starting a student chapter of A Rocha and then coming on staff with A Rocha USA after graduating. Being involved in A Rocha has given me rich opportunities over these past twenty years to be part of a worldwide community living out God’s call to care for creation.
Q: Beyond your work to date with A Rocha, you’ve also been involved in several faith-based environmental initiatives and movements. Can you share more about what has drawn you to a career of faith-based environmental work and why you feel that is so important?
A: Caring for creation is an integral part of loving God, neighbor, and the rest of God’s world. This has always been the case. At the same time, biodiversity loss and climate change have become two of the defining and interwoven challenges of our time. So, I care for creation because I follow the Creator, and I feel a particularly urgent calling to contribute toward restoring right relationships and mutual flourishing at a time when our species has dramatically depleted the diversity and abundance of life on the earth. I share more about this in my books, especially in Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation (IVP 2009).
Q: You’re also a researcher and published author. What issues and topics get you most excited or have been the focus of your research?
A: Much of conservation involves understanding and managing people—our values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. My research is highly interdisciplinary and examines the roles people play in environmental problems and solutions. This has included working with the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute to study how fishing communities are adapting to the effects of declining ecosystem productivity on Lake Tanganyika, a biodiversity hotspot in East Africa. I also recently led a collaboration with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication to analyze generational shifts taking place among evangelical attitudes toward climate change in the United States. Most of my ongoing research is focused on the religious and ethical dimensions of environmental conservation, which aligns well with our mission at A Rocha USA. To learn more about my academic publications: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=3aabcIkAAAAJ&hl=en
Q: Are there any goals or hopes you’re most excited about for the future of A Rocha USA?
A: Yes! We’re in a season of increasing demand and opportunities, and are positioned better than ever to deliver on our critical mission. A Rocha has sometimes been referred to as “one of the Christian world’s best kept secrets.” I can’t wait to help change this by getting the word out and working together with the growing numbers of like-minded Christians, churches, and organizations across the country. This includes building up our local conservation projects in Texas, Florida, and beyond. It also involves continuing to develop effective resources for people to build community and care for creation wherever they’re at (e.g., our online Love Your Place platform, popular Wild Wonder VBS curriculum, and carbon calculator and offset program Climate Stewards).
An upcoming major focus will be on working with churches to engage more in creation care in their own congregations as well as through our local projects and worldwide A Rocha partners. Of course, all of this takes a strong team and robust resources, which is why we’re gearing up to launch a monthly giving program in the weeks ahead – stay tuned!
Q: Can you tell us where you’re from and where you’re currently based? And what do you like to do for fun in your free time?
A: I’m originally from Singapore/Malaysia, lived for over a decade in the Chicago area, and am now happily based in the warm and watery state of Florida. As anyone who has seen me on social media knows, I love fishing and being on the water and outdoors in general! I also really enjoy having folks visit and sharing meals with friends.
Q: An organizational transition to new leadership can often be challenging but also a great opportunity for reflection and growth. Is there anything you’ve learned from this transition experience so far that you’d like our A Rocha supporters and community to know?
A: Firstly, I’ve been so encouraged by the passion, talent, generosity, and dedication of our staff and board. They’re a massive gift to A Rocha USA. Secondly, A Rocha USA is a humble but potent organization. We’ve yet to have huge teams or huge budgets, and yet God has sustained us with good and meaningful work to do over the years, and great people to do it with.
We’re now in a new era defined by great urgency and increased agency. In the past, much of the focus has been on waking up to environmental problems. Many of us are awake now, but where do we go from here? A growing priority is for us to move from talking to doing; from environmental awareness and concern to meaningful and sustained action in our homes, churches, and communities. A Rocha has considerable contributions to offer here because this is what we’ve always been about–living out God’s call to care for creation and equipping others to do likewise.
Q: How can folks participate in and support the work of A Rocha USA in the season ahead?
A: We’d love to have more people involved and can certainly use more support in this strategic season! Anyone can be part of the growing Love Your Place online community, and those near (or visiting!) Central Texas and the Space Coast of Florida can connect in person with our people and projects there. There are also opportunities to get involved with our partner A Rocha organizations in over twenty countries. However you engage in this season, please do pray with us for this growing work and consider being part of our monthly giving community at whatever level you are able. Thank you, blessings, and looking forward to connecting further in the days ahead!
What others are saying about Ben’s appointment as Executive Director:
“Ben Lowe is just the right person to be appointed as A Rocha USA’s new executive director. The weight of his experience, education, and dedication to A Rocha’s mission shows every sign that his leadership will be vital and strengthening in the years to come. I am so thankful for this appointment.” Rev. Dr. Mark Labberton, President Emeritus, Fuller Theological Seminary
“Palmer Seminary and Eastern University celebrate Dr. Ben Lowe’s appointment as Executive Director of A Rocha USA. We know you’ll accomplish great things together with such a gifted, wise, and humble servant leader like Ben. We are cheering you on!” Rev. Dr. Kimberlee A. Johnson, Interim Dean, Palmer Theological Seminary & College of Eastern University
“Ben Lowe is a gifted and respected Christian leader whose work has prompted countless conversations and coalitions. I look forward to seeing what God does through his work in the years to come on this important project of caring for the creation.” Russell Moore, Editor in Chief, Christianity Today
“When it comes to creation care, Ben Lowe is one of the leading Christian voices of our time. He has a rare ability to speak to both the “why” and the “how,” an imagination for the global and the local, an understanding of policymakers and activists, and the credibility to bring the church, the academy, and practitioners into a single conversation. I can think of no one better suited to lead A Rocha USA in its next season.” Dr. Noah Toly, Provost, Calvin College
“I have had the privilege of knowing and working with Ben Lowe since his undergraduate days. Throughout his graduate further education and various experiences he has stayed focused on his call to the care of creation in all its facets. A Rocha US has selected the very best as their new Executive Director.” Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita of The Wesleyan Church
“Ben is one of the most thoughtful and effective leaders from the Christian community in the environmental justice space. I am thrilled that Ben will be leading A Rocha USA as it will combine his deep knowledge and experience in education, mobilization and advocacy to help those who are vulnerable around the world. Kudos to you Ben and congratulations!” Jenny Hwang Yang, UN Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR)
“Christians for Social Action is thrilled for A Rocha USA on its historic appointment of Ben Lowe as Executive Director. Ben is a rare combination of scholar and compassionate leader. Congratulations!” Nikki Toyama-Szeto, Executive Director, Christians for Social Action (CSA)
“A Rocha USA could not have called a better person than Dr. Ben Lowe as their new Executive Director. Long ago Ben accepted God’s call as a creation steward with a passion for caring for the least of these. These passions drive Ben as a great servant leader who will guide A Rocha USA well.” Rev. Mitch Hescox, President/CEO, Evangelical Environmental Network
“Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA) is delighted that our founder Rev. Ben Lowe has been appointed to serve as Executive Director for A Rocha USA. A Rocha engages in the deeply meaningful, faith-rooted work of restoration and I know that the organization will continue to thrive with the leadership of Ben Lowe. We are excited for all that God has in store for this new chapter for A Rocha USA.” Tori Goebel, National Organizer and Spokesperson, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
“I am thrilled that Ben Lowe has accepted the invitation to serve as Executive Director of A Rocha USA. I can’t imagine a better person for the role at this significant moment in A Rocha USA’s history. Ben is a wise and thoughtful listener and visionary leader who brings a remarkable depth of expertise and breadth of experience, both nationally and internationally. Moreover, his life is a winsome and compelling example of faithful witness to Christ and what it looks like to participate in God’s work of restoring people and places through biodiversity conservation and ecological action. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for A Rocha USA under Ben’s leadership in the months and years ahead!” Dr. Jonathan Moo, A Rocha USA Board Member and Professor of Theology at Whitworth University
“Dating back to his years as a student at Wheaton College, through our work together on two InterVarsity Press books, and in all of his writing, speaking and leadership in the years since, Ben Lowe’s commitment to and practical pursuit of biodiversity conservation, ecological action, and biblical reflection has been exemplary. I congratulate both Ben and the A Rocha USA board on this appointment, and look forward to seeing the fruits of your labors in the years to come.” Jeff Crosby, publishing executive and author
“Ben Lowe exemplifies the vision and mission of A Rocha – it is a great expression of his commitment to the pursuit and practice of a holistic faith.” Dr. Vincent Bacote, Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics, Wheaton College
“Ben Lowe is a faithful, diligent servant of people and steward of God’s creation. In Ben, A Rocha is gaining a person of longstanding commitment, proven experience, and passionate diligence to bless the earth and all that is in it. In serving A Rocha, Ben is fulfilling a clear calling on his life, and the world will be a better place because of this partnership.” Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, author and professor
“Ben stepping into this role is clearly God led, fitting and a celebration of God’s goodness. He comes well exposed, prepared and the timeliness of this appointment makes my heart glad.” Dr. Florence Muindi, A Rocha International Trustee and Founding President/CEO of Life in Abundance International
“I am delighted to bless Ben Lowe as the new Executive Director of A Rocha USA. Ben’s heart for all God’s creation is lifelong and contagious. And he brings essential experience in leading people and mobilizing communities. Godspeed, ARUSA friends.” Luke Wilson, CEO, A Rocha Canada
“I am thrilled that Ben has been appointed as the new Executive Director of A Rocha USA! His leadership, expertise, and passion make him the perfect fit for this role. I am excited to see the positive impact Ben will have on A Rocha USA’s mission and the broader community of Christians working to serve, protect, and restore God’s earth.” Jon Terry, Executive Director, Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
“I have been blessed to consider Ben Lowe a friend and colleague for more than 15 years. Over that time it has been amazing to watch his growth. I am truly excited about the energy and passion which he will bring to his role at A Rocha USA. He is the right person for the right time. We at Plant With Purpose look forward to working together with A Rocha to take care of God’s creation.” Scott Sabin, CEO, Plant With Purpose
“Ben has demonstrated that he has the necessary skills to humbly lead A Rocha USA into the future. His scientific scholarship is combined with a deep commitment to Christ which is aligned with A Rocha’s hope for the restoration of people and place.” Vera Bowen, A Rocha USA Board Member and Vice-President of Shield Ranch and Shield Ranch Foundation
“I am so delighted to hear of Rev. Dr. Ben Lowe’s appointment to serve as A Rocha USA’s Executive Director. He is a dedicated leader and activist with a love for God’s creation, his people, and their communities. His heart is to educate God’s people into action on how to protect, care, and sustain the environment and to see it restored to the place of beauty God intended.” Terumi Echols, President and Publisher, InterVarsity Press
“Ben Lowe is one of the most authentic and effective faith-rooted organizers for environmental and climate justice in the church today. This is a win for A Rocha and for the world!” Lisa Sharon Harper, Author, Founder, and President, FreedomRoad.us
“I have always been impressed by the thoughtful leadership within A Rocha, and am excited to see Ben Lowe stepping into this new role as Executive Director.” Sandra McCracken, Singer-songwriter