Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry by Amy Simpson
How can we live life abundantly, with joy, as God has called us to do, when consumed by anxiety? In her book, Amy explores both the Old and New Testament to help readers better understand the theology of worry. Purchase here.
The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Our Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith
Rhett is a former pastor who experienced anxiety and obsessive thinking for many years. In his book he argues that, rather than being destructive or shameful, anxiety can be a catalyst for our spiritual growth. Using Biblical thinking and personal examples, Rhett explains how anxiety allows us to face our resistance and fears, understand where those fears come from, and then make intentional decisions about issues such as career, marriage, money, and our spiritual lives. Here’s a link to an interview Rhett shared with Key Ministry in which he elaborated on the most important principals shared in the book. Purchase here.
The Biology of Sin by Matthew S. Stanford
Dr. Matthew Stanford is an academic neuropsychologist who served as co-founder of Mental Health Grace Alliance. In this book, Dr. Stanford discusses sinful behaviors, including adultery, rage, addiction, and homosexuality, asking of each: What does science say, and what does the Bible say about this behavior? He attempts to reconcile the fact that biological predispositions play a role in behavior which the Bible defines as sinful while always emphasizing the authority of God's Holy Word and the abundant grace God has for those struggling with habitual sin. Purchase here.
Does My Child Have PTSD? by Jolene Philo
According to recent studies, 50 to 60 percent of children who experience these traumas early in life may suffer from a form of PTSD, leading to issues in childhood, through adolescence, and even into adulthood. Jolene’s book is designed for readers looking for answers about the puzzling, disturbing behaviors of children in their care. With years of research and personal experience, Jolene provides critical information to help people understand causes, symptoms, prevention, and effective diagnosis, treatment, and care for any child struggling with PTSD. For persons interested in a more basic introduction to trauma in children, Jolene recently published an e-book, PTSD in Children Primer: What Is It, What Causes It, What’s It Look Like and What to Do about It. Purchase here.
Every Child Welcome by Katie Wetherbee & Jolene Philo
Every Child Welcome is the best book on the market for helping leaders in children’s ministry and student ministry to include kids with a broad range of disabilities. While not specifically written as a mental health inclusion ministry manual, Katie and Jolene share lots of useful ideas for serving kids who struggle to control their emotions or behavior. What sets this book apart from other excellent special needs ministry resources is the practical wisdom Katie and Jolene share from their years of classroom experience in general and special education. They offer a plethora of ideas and strategies for teaching kids with extraordinarily diverse learning styles and ability. Two complete chapters in the heart of the book discuss strategies for teaching Biblical concepts when kids struggle with reading, the ability to grasp abstract concepts or learning in group situations. Purchase here.
Grace for the Afflicted by Matthew S. Stanford
Matt’s book is written to educate Christians about mental illness from both biblical and scientific perspectives. He presents insights into our physical and spiritual nature and discusses the appropriate role of psychology and psychiatry in the life of believers. Describing common mental disorders, he probes what science says and what the Bible says about each illness. He revised and expanded his book to include the most recent diagnostic criteria for mental illness and the most current version includes eight new chapters addressing bipolar disorder, trauma and stress-related disorders, dementia, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), traumatic brain injury, suicide, holistic approaches to recovery and mental health and the church. Purchase here.
Spirituality and Mental Health Care by John Swinton
John Swinton is a renowned theologian from the University of Aberdeen who has written extensively on the relationship between mental illness and spirituality. In this book, John explores the connections between mental illness and spirituality and draws on these to provide practical guidance for people working in the mental health field that’s also relevant and applicable to individuals working in ministry. Purchase here.
Still Life by Gillian Marchenko
Still Life is a remarkably authentic story of perseverance and faithfulness. Gillian's candor in sharing her experience with depression is of great comfort to many who have bought into the falsehood that their suffering has resulted from a lack of faith. Gillian demonstrates how it is possible to faithfully fulfill God's purpose in life while experiencing the effects of a chronic illness that made getting out of bed a nearly insurmountable challenge on all too many days. Her authenticity in sharing her experiences offers encouragement and true hope to many who identify with her story. Purchase here.
Strivings Within - The OCD Christian by Mitzi VanCleve
In this book, Mitzi shares extensively from her experiences with anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and discusses the challenges she’s experienced as a devout Christian in maintaining her involvement in church as a result of her illness. She does an especially good job of explaining the distress experienced by many believers resulting from the religious preoccupations commonly associated with OCD. Purchase here.
Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church's Mission by Amy Simpson
Amy book has served as a catalyst to raising awareness of how the church can share the love of Christ with families affected by mental illness. Her life experiences with a mother with chronic schizophrenia and a father who served as a pastor uniquely prepared her to speak into the topic. She does a great job of laying out the case (with data) of why intentional mental health ministry ministry to people with mental health issues should be high on any church’s list of priorities. She offers clergy language and Scriptural support to sensitively respond to members and attendees struggling with mental health disorders. She emphasizes the reality that many people first turn to their church in a mental health crisis. is the church. She shares dozens of practical suggestions for more effective ministry, including ideas for pastors, professionals, caregivers, and Christians with mental illness applicable in churches of all denominations. She wrote here for Key Ministry on the topic: Does Your Church Inadvertently Hurt People with Mental Illness?Purchase here.