Bulls are known for aggressive, threatening behavior; that’s why we call people who behave this way towards others ‘bullies.’ Tight limits and wide margins are not only wise in a pasture, it’s also wise in ministry.
What do you think happens to a teenager when one of the main authority figures in his life lets him know in no uncertain terms, without words, that he doesn’t matter to your church environment? God offers us all incredible love and grace, but as His followers we have the responsibility to love others with both truth and grace, even when we don’t understand what we’re seeing.
I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that the prayers and time spent seeking God determine the outcome of ministry and special events. Everyone working in the space of special needs or mental health ministry needs to stay prayed up, in God’s Word, for guidance, wisdom, and protection. Make no mistake, the work of all special needs ministry, including ministry to and with people whose disability is revealed in behavior, is very much intertwined with the battle over whose life holds value. Anyone working in this space is on the front line of the battle between darkness and light.
When my cat died, chewy.com showed great care and concern for my loss, even beyond the principles of the Golden Rule. Chewy went all the way to the Platinum Rule. And the Platinum Rule is how churches can make mental health ministry happen and be successful.
Janet Parshall issued a powerful call to the church to minister more effectively to persons with mental illness in this keynote presentation from Inclusion Fusion Live 2019, a national disability ministry conference hosted by Key Ministry. She identifies key biblical figures who experienced symptoms of mental illness, challenges church leaders to end their stigmatization of persons with mental health issues and pastors to begin addressing the topic in the course of their preaching.