My Quiet Caveis a ministry creating spaces for faith and mental health by equipping churches to engage mental health and integrate faith and mental health.
Recently we asked one of our key partners what any church or nonprofit needed to know about creating a vibrant mental health ministry. Beth Lang from Colorado Community Church gave three simple and easy insights:
You need to buy in from the top.
This means everybody. Pastors, board, elders, staff, everyone has to recognize the need and calling to reach out to those with mental health issues. This may also mean allotting some time from someone on staff to champion the ministry. Someone has to get the administrative and logistical issues addressed and covered (reserving rooms, bulletin announcements, manage any ministry funds, attendee payment and communication etc.
Consistent biblical view.
Make sure the church has a consistent biblical view of mental health and the pastors are prepared to counsel as needed within that view. At Colorado Community Church, we did not see a huge increase in the need for counseling because of the resources we have available like we thought we would. Still, it is important to see mental health issues as a result of our fallen world and recognize that it is chemical and psychological among other things. Also, pastors need to recognize when and how they can address the spiritual piece in counseling and when they should refer to outside help. This means you do the work to ensure you have a healthy and appropriate perspective.
You won't get overwhelmed.
In the case of mental health, churches I talk to are especially concerned about inviting in those who need meds but aren’t on them or aren’t taking them—or those who have not been officially diagnosed but need healing. This is not what we see at CCC. The majority of people need to be fairly self-aware to sign up for Overcome of Cave groups at CCC (both ministries from My Quiet Cave). They are looking for another tool in their toolbox. People need to know that God is not punishing them but instead loves them and is walking with them. Just jump in and build the plane in the air. It will work out especially if you have great support around you.