I have been on the hunt for a book that will help in creating a mental health ministry which helps to bridge the gap between the Church and professional counseling. Previously I’ve stated Amy Simpson’s Troubled Minds was the best book out there to make this connection (and at the heart of how a Christian family feels when someone struggles with mental illness, it still is the best). Then comes Steve Grcevich’s book “Mental Health and the Church,” which I will say has become the cornerstone for me in implementing a mental health inclusion ministry.
Note: I should say there is some bias with this review. I did attend Inclusion Fusion Live where we met, am personally in dialogue with him on upcoming creative ideas, and write monthly for his ministry. But that’s a testament to how good his content is.
This book was written with one thing in mind, helping a church start a mental health inclusion ministry. This requires that Steve not only write from a position of identifying possible short comings to include “not every church is going to be able to do everything” but also to help convince a pastor or elder to jump on board. It gives practical tips on how to set up a ministry, including making sure your senior pastor is the champion for this ministry all the way down to making sure your voluntary greeters at your ministry have their role in implementing this ministry as well.
This is a book that someone on a mental health team can pick up and run with it. I know this because that’s what I did when I wrote about my church breaking down mental health stigma at my church. At the same time, I feel this can be a book that helps advocate for you when you don’t feel you have the words to express why this is so important. It has found a perfect balance.
If there is any shortcoming with this book, it’s that I want it to go deeper for my specific context. Of course, that’s not the goal of this book and also why he pushes for you to do a free consultation with him on how to start the steps for this in your church. (Again, I did this as well, he absolutely will sit down and video chat with you.)
I will also say that for Christian counselors out there, be aware of the resources that are available for churches. Steve is a licensed psychologist and knows what he is doing. You may have some things you can emulate from him as well as take as inspiration and run with them for your own practice and collaboration in your community.
Overall, I’m going to give this book a 5 out of 5 and say my search for a great mental health inclusion ministry has been completed. What are your thoughts on the book?