When you begin thinking about your help for mental health in your church, the best place to begin is with the invitation, which will show you what kinds of preparation you need to put in place.
EVIL is the root cause of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, and the shootings in churches in rural Texas, Nashville, and several years ago, at an historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina. As a society, we seek to minimize the existence of evil because recognition of evil threatens our shared delusion that any absolute standard of right and wrong exists.
A young wife and teacher nearly ends up dead after following the counsel of a pastor and his wife to stop taking psychiatric medications that were helping her to lead a productive life. This is spiritual abuse.
We need to reject the false gospel that the outcome of our efforts to obtain relief from the burden of mental illness for ourselves or our loved ones hinges not on our efforts to heal ourselves, but on God's mercy and grace. We also need to recognize that the ongoing presence of mental illness in ourselves, our friends and our family members may not be a barometer of faithfulness so much as a necessary step in the fulfillment of God's purposes.
Before launching the Ironbridge Baptist Church mental health pilot, I spent months talking and meeting with individuals of influence within the church community, many with ‘lived experience.’ The goal of such conversations was ultimately to generate support for the idea that we could - as a faith community - be much more upfront about the reality of mental illness, in all its various forms - and begin truly supporting one another.