Lifeway Research found that 23% of pastors say they’ve had personal struggles with mental health. Still 49% said they rarely or never speak on the topic to their congregation. In recent years, there’s been a serious increase of the conversations about mental health. Now, more than ever, this is necessary in the church, and especially among church leaders.
With the struggles that mental health issues can bring, some days may seem more draining than others. It can be difficult to focus, to socialize, and to live life the way you’re used to. Of course, everyone experiences these struggles at varying degrees and mental health issues look different for everyone, but we all have more in common than might think.
You are not alone.
“The danger is not being in the condition, it’s being in the condition alone and no one else knowing you’re going through it,” Chris Hodges tells Tony Morgan in The Unstuck Church Podcast
episode eighty on Mental Health.
No matter what you are going through, you are not alone. There are ways to seek help, people you can talk to, and other healthy avenues you can take to get help in working to heal your mind.
- Prayer- This is something that you can do right away. Although we should be praying for healing and wisdom, God gives us resources to help us. He has gifted people with the ability to help others through their mental health struggles. You can pray that the Lord would lead you to these people and connect you with the resources you need.
- Counseling- Seeking professional help may be the best thing you can do for yourself. It can be so relieving to have a safe space to talk freely. There’s a wide range of counseling centers out there, including faith-based options.
- Church Resources- If your church offers resources for healing, why not take advantage of it? This can be a great place to get started. Celebrate Recovery is a very popular church-guided, community based program led by church leaders and volunteers where you can find healing, guidance, and fellowship. Not at your church? You can probable find a nearby church that offers something like this!
Finding a mentor.
“But, when my mind, which really is just another organ in my body, it’s just another part of my body. If I told you it was sick, it’s almost as if you’re, hey, well, maybe he shouldn’t be doing ministry. And maybe, maybe there was something really wrong with him and it’s amazing how there is no case that can be normalized to a place. So what does a pastor going to do because their ministry is so public, they’re going to tuck it in, hide it, and only get worse when you do that,” Chris Hodges: The Unstuck Church Podcast
You never have to go through it alone. Healing from hurt, whatever it may be, can feel lonely, isolating, and hopeless. This does not have to be your reality. There are people who have gone through similar trauma, or struggle with the same mental realities you do who are willing to guide you, be there for support, and talk through it with you.
Mentoring can be a way for someone, to help someone who is in need. Maybe you’ve walked through something and you can guide others as well. If your church offers a mentorship program, get involved and see what great benefits having a mentor can give you on your mental health journey. If you church doesn’t have something like this, maybe talk to the leaders in the church to get something like this started! You can also check out the Church Communications Facebook Group
and its mentorship program.
Your habits are affecting you.
Chris Hodges speaks on what he learned at the Gateway Conference
in Dallas: “Well, one of the greatest things I learned, and I didn’t learn this from many Christian related materials, is that secular materials are very lifestyle related. So we bring this on ourselves by our sedentary life, by being indoors too much. Even some of the research that’s been done on this topic talk about how it never, like depression doesn’t exist in any form in cultures where people are gathering food or hunting for food, like there’s something about our indoor, the pace of life, even the screen time that we spend, all of that is pouring into this condition. And so that was probably not only one of the most eye-opening, but it was also one of the most encouraging because if it’s lifestyle, if it was created by a lifestyle situation then it can be fixed by lifestyle situation.”
The way we live, what we choose to fill our time with, and even who we spend our time with, can affect our mental health more than we may think. When we do things that affect us positively, rather than negatively, it can really impact the way we fell internally.
This can look different for everyone, but there are a few constant positives that most people will find helpful:
- Spending time with God in prayer or in His word.
- Fellowship with other believers. Surrounding yourself with people who can share your love for God.
- Worshipping, meditating on Scripture, andhelping those in need.
Thrive and Cultivate: A Mental Health Event for Church Leaders
We want to be active in conversations about mental health in the church, and we want to equip church leaders with tools they can use to start conversations with their congregations and communities.
We’ve invited church leaders, mental health professionals, and expert practitioners to join us and speak at Thrive & Cultivate: A Mental Health Event for Church Leaders. You can get all the details and register for free at thriveandcultivate.com.
Think you’d make a good fit to speak at Thrive & Cultivate, or know someone who would? Check out thriveandcultivate.com/join to submit a speaker application today.