There is a growing desire in churches to break the silence on mental health issues. So often churches are desperate to engage, but have no idea how. So we’ve compiled 5 starter points to help your church to join the conversation on mental health.
1. Pray – Intercessory prayers are a vital part of the corporate church prayer life and so as well as including those you know in the congregation who are physically ill, ask those you know are struggling if they would like to be included in either intercessory prayers at church or through a prayer diary/newsletter.
2. Lament – Allow space in the church year for services of lament; look at the book of Lamentations of some of the Psalms to reflect on where God is when it hurts – both physically and mentally.
3. Preach – The Bible is full of characters who struggled with their emotions; we don’t need to diagnose them with our contemporary ailments, but we can clean wisdom and comfort by preaching from passages such as 1 Kings 19 where Elijah is desperate after fleeing from Ahab; or Matthew 26 as Jesus cries out to the Father the night of His arrest. You could even consider inviting a guest preacher to share their testimony as well.
4. Partner – Get in touch with local charities and voluntary groups who are involved in helping those with mental illnesses to see if you can fundraise or volunteer.
5. Educate – Make sure some, if not all members of church staff and key leaders are trained to respond to mental health issues practically and pastorally. You can buy books, attend seminars or invite us to deliver some training!