“God created us all in his image, which is love. I think the problem we have in mental and social health is that we don’t believe we are loved or lovable,” says Pastor Nita Allen of Oak Cliff Christian Church. She adds that we often don’t realize that God loves us intimately and wants us to become like him. Those who’ve been abused or neglected—as is the case for many who live with mental illness—often believe that they’re unwanted because that’s the message they’ve received. Continue reading
Faith communities are often the first places individuals and families turn to when faced with the challenges of mental illness, especially during a crisis. Churches have unique opportunities to minister, not only in times of acute struggle, but in the daily hurdles as well.
A 2018 LifeWay Research study found most pastors, family members and those living with acute mental illnesses agree that local churches have a responsibility to provide resources and support for these individuals and their families. But, knowing how to serve them in ways that truly bless them and affirm their value can be a challenge.
Thankfully, there are many resources that can help churches become more aware of mental illnesses and how to minister to those who struggle with these conditions. The following books and websites provide information and tools to help churches welcome those who deal with mental health challenges and provide practical assistance. Continue reading
Suicide is an issue the church cannot afford to ignore. In a LifeWay Research study nearly a third of churchgoers said they’d lost a close family member or acquaintance to suicide. Of those, over a third said their loved one attended a church at least once a month prior to his or her death.
Those wrestling with suicidal thoughts and those who love them are in the pews of our congregations. Churches have a great responsibility and opportunity to reach out in compassion to those who are struggling. Continue reading