Sometimes you come along another ministry or individual that is doing what you want to do eventually so well that you need to stop and point everyone else at what they are doing. Amanda Porter is one of those people who has really shown to have some amazing work and her latest project Dear Anxiety, Let’s Break Up shows just that.
One of the hardest connection points of talking about mental illness with people who may only have brief encounters is understanding the severity of it. Further, with Christians, we not only need to connect to the heartstrings of the individual but also how this impacts the story of God. Sparks of Redemptive Grace and it’s companion book 31 Days, 31 Ways 2 Pray 4 Families are written for this very reason.
We are currently going through a huge epidemic with substance use in America. I wrote an article recently for Key Ministry on updated statistics with regards to mental health and substance in America and one stat that was super concerning was that 89.8% of people with a substance use diagnosis (i.e. it is causing them mild to severe impairment in their life) is not engaged in any kind of treatment. That includes hospitalization, rehab, outpatient, ER services, self-help groups, or having a primary care physician.
The question is, are we looking at addiction wrong?
Pastors are gifted individuals who have spent many years of their lives, sometimes decades, learning about how to guide their church. They have received many classes beyond Greek, church history, and worship coordination to include spiritual formation, pastoral care, leadership, communication, and possibly even types of Biblical counseling.
Recently, Barna released a study they have been doing on the millennial generation which they are calling The Connected Generation. To clarify, that is the title of the survey, but also what they are calling people who in 2019 are in the age range of 18-35. In the study, they found three important distinctions for this generation which they have tied to the faith perspective. Within this article, we will only be focusing on the first of how millennials are more anxious than previous generations.
I love the ministry Joni & Friends. Honestly, if you haven’t seen it, whether you have a ministry at your church for people with disabilities, have personal experience, or no direct relationship with it, I’d encourage you to check it out.
The video below is powerful as it is, but Joni is such a dynamic speaker that her words hit even harder. If you are struggling with something, I encourage you to take it to God and know that He has not abandoned you.
Having worked in youth ministry for eight years of my life, I understand what it means when a youth pastor says “you never know what today will bring.” Sometimes this applies to the skills that are not formally on your job description like running sound, cleaning the bathrooms, or figuring out the right combination of baking soda for that one game which is probably a bad idea to play.
But we also know that teenagers are going through a lot of change in their lives. Having a book on hand for when you are forewarned about a crisis might be nice to have. Nobody expects a pastor to be an expert in crisis, but getting a quick three page crash course on a topic might be just what you need for a situation.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a grassroots organization that has spread across the United States in a response to a lack of education for families of those who have mental illness. It was seen regularly that clients with mental illness would be given coping skills, medication, and education on the disorders they struggle with, but the family would be seen as a secondary impact. Further the impact of the community for the individual and family also was not being fully addressed.
Since 1979, NAMI has been growing in it’s advocacy and education for communities around the United States, now with 500 local affiliates. The organization has numerous resources to share, but are best known for their educational groups for individuals and families called Family-To-Family and Peer-To-Peer.
For those who have struggled with mental illness or substance misuse, for well over six months, you may have felt the pain of helplessness and even hopelessness. Day in and day out without relief, the endless sorrow of losing a loved one, the oncoming panic attack, or the worry of another relapse can wear down the mind, heart, and soul.
But we also know that our hope as Christians does not come from within our own selves, but from God. He is near to those who call on Him.
The Lord is close to the brokenheartedPsalm 34:18 (NIV)
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
I am absolutely all for people looking at how to start up a mental health inclusion ministry. The difficult part, how do you start and what do you focus on? The good news is you do not need to reinvent the wheel. We’ve already talked about the book Mental Health and the Church which you should check out.
But the author of that book, Steve Grcevich, also did a series of training videos to create a mental health inclusion ministry that you can go watch now for free on his non-profit’s website at KeyMinistry.org here. I’ve included a couple of videos below and if you like them, click through to see the rest.