The coronavirus is here for a while. We hope that you listened to medical professionals throughout this time and took care of yourself, your loved ones, and your community. This extra post we are doing is a request of a couple of youth pastors who want to have resources they can give to their congregation. Please use these as you need.[Read more…] about Reduce Stress With Coronavirus
Last week we had the precursor discussion on when it is appropriate and the barriers that can come up about discussing the theological implications of suicide for an individual and their eternal salvation. Today is when we try to answer if suicide is an unforgivable sin.
I want this more to be a resource for pastors and counselors than for people who are actively suicidal or have questions about God. Further, if you have any clarification questions or want to add to the discussion, join in in the comments below.[Read more…] about Is Suicide An Unforgivable Sin?
Sometimes motivation looks at the philosophical understanding of goals, other times we need to get practical. This article is going to be the latter. We are going to look at the cost of everything from budgets, to emotions, to lost opportunities, and if we had never made a change.
We are stuck in a life where bills are weighing us down at home and carrying over into work, employee cuts are really hurting work culture, or someone in your congregation just hit a personal wound for you as they scolded you on something you had taken great pride in. We shut down, clam up, or want to quit. We know it’s not right, but how do we move forward?
What has this cost us so far and what is it going to cost us to change?
We need to create a pros and cons list. Go ahead right now and come up with a list. Then I’ll help you add some ideas you may have forgotten. If you are honest about your list, fully honest, it will show you what next step is appropriate. Here are other items to consider:
Costs Are More Than with Money
When we look at the cost of something (a new hire, buying a piece of tech, taking on a new ministry, having a side hustle), we are paying for it with much more than the mighty dollar. We pay with our time, our energy, or our devotion. Yes to a piece of tech is no to other opportunities with that money. Side hustling is saying no to family, friends, and life. The cost is only partially about money.
What If We Changed?
If we decide to change, it’s going to cost us something. If we say yes to this, we say no to the next thing. Or if we decide to say yes to two things, we say no to giving our all to that one thing. A yes to a new project on Thursday night may not mean totally abandoning your family and friends, but the stress it brings upon you may make it difficult to fall asleep or not take away from that big talk you needed to have with your spouse.
What If We Stayed the Course?
If we do not change, we may risk the opportunities that come with the new adventures. That extra money we could earn, a distraction from life which we are avoiding, or satisfaction from creating something good and giving us purpose are all outcomes we could have but decided against. Staying the course means not trying something new with many chances to learn.
We Are Wanting to Improve, We Have to Remember That
Ultimately this is the reason, right? If it was an easy decision, we wouldn’t need this much of a strategy to be motivated. These lists help us remember why we must make decisions that require a steady stream of effort. It will help us when we need to push past some of the cons that come with changes we make or decisions to not.
And in the end, it’s the goal we work for. Our faith looks at salvation, sanctification, and glory for God. Our family inspires us to do more in life. Our friends encourage us to be better versions of ourselves. If you shared your pros and cons list with someone else, would you be open to additions and critiques?
The topic of suicide is not a new one. I want to say up front there are resources if you or a loved one is struggling with suicide: Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a Christian suicide prevention program for teenagers, and why the Church should take suicide seriously. If your church does not have a suicide prevention policy, get this one for free. If you need free training on suicide prevention, check out this free resource from DYMU. And check out these articles to address myths of suicide as well as a bunch of statistics and ways the church could prevent suicide in their ministry.
We are not taking this lightly. But we also have not addressed the theological question, is suicide an unforgivable sin? We won’t answer this question in this article, it needs its own post. Instead, we want to do a precursor discussion on how pastors can talk about suicide and sin.[Read more…] about How Can Pastors Talk About Suicide and Sin?
One of the biggest changes happening in mental health counseling in the last twenty years that has started to change the landscape of counseling is a study that was conducted in 1995 and 1997 by Kaiser Permanente and now has the backed of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s called the Adverse Childhood Experience study or ACE study and looks at how childhood abuse and neglect, as well as household challenges, impact an individual’s future. This does not just equate to the future of the individual’s mental health, but their academic performance, if they struggle with criminal conduct and substance misuse, career performance, impact on their medical, social, and developmental impairment, as well as lessen their quality and quantity of life.
Here’s a quick video about the ACE study.[Read more…] about Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences [Videos]
CBS This Morning, last month did a segment about how pastors are experiencing burnout and taking sabbaticals. The video talks with one specific pastor who has done this very thing, Howard John Wesley. But this is something pastors and priests have been doing for a while, yet it is still not popular among the masses.
Click through to see the video and share in the comments what experiences or stories have you heard of pastor burnout or sabbaticals?[Read more…] about Pastors Are Experiencing Burnout [Video]
RemedyLIVE is a 24/7 suicide prevention chat center via phone, web, and texting. They are committed to serving teens and young adults. There are certainly other suicide prevention hotlines nationally and locally, but this organization is specifically based on Christian beliefs.
If you are interested in other resources beyond RemedyLIVE, check out the ones we have listed on our mental health resources page. This is an alternative for teens who want to talk to someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.[Read more…] about Christian Suicide Prevention Ministry
[This article is part of a youth ministry series we have been writing about for years. Click the link to check out all of the other articles we have here.]
Download Youth Ministry is a resource for youth pastors to run their youth ministry from sermons to games to trainings. Last year, they released a whole training series through a part of their store called DYMUniversity to help train up staff and volunteers. One of those episodes is an 18-minute video called Suicide Detection and Prevention which they made available for free.
It’s put on by Craig Lomax and Josh Griffin with a foreword by Kay Warren. I honestly hope that you go check it out. The church I volunteer at is going to be putting together a luncheon for our youth ministry team, show the video, and then our campus pastor and myself as a licensed professional counselor will be on-site to have a conversation and Q&A afterward.[Read more…] about Free DYMU Course: Suicide Prevention
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.[Read more…] about Free Mental Health Inclusion Ministry Training [Videos]
Secondary traumatic stress is defined by The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a leading research and innovator in therapeutic techniques on childhood and family trauma, as “the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another… For therapists, child welfare workers, case managers, and other helping professionals involved in the care of traumatized children and their families, the essential act of listening to trauma stories may take an emotional toll that compromises professional functioning and diminishes quality of life.”
At a later time, we will talk about how you can help develop resiliency, identify secondary trauma, and how to prevent it. For now, take a look at this video by Leah Warshawski that explains secondary trauma… even if she doesn’t know she’s describing it.[Read more…] about Pastors and Secondary Trauma [Video]