On Sunday we were very blessed to have a few experts and professionals in the mental health field come and share with our church on a panel.
We believed it was important to hear from professionals in this area, who have given their lives to healing, caring, and supporting others. Receiving professional help is something that in the evangelical church receives some stigma in some circles but it is absolutely crucial.
So we are grateful to the panel for their discussion, which you can hear on our podcast.
We ended our time together with three simple challenges: welcome and include, pray, and continue the conversation.
First, as a next step we talked about welcoming and including others with mental health challenges. That this is something we can all practically do in any church you attend. We can create safe spaces for people to journey together, and to include those who often feel excluded by the church.
John Vanier and John Swinton write this,
If the church has anything to offer to people with mental illness (and indeed to anyone else), it is the provision of a space where they can truly feel that they belong.
And I believe that is so true, and absolutely needed.
Kathryn Green McCreight writes,
From a theological perspective, the most dangerous thing about mental illness is that it can lock us in ourselves, convincing us that we are indeed our own, and completely on our own, isolated in our distress.
This is why as churches, as communities of believers, as followers of Jesus we must welcome and include people who are struggling.
The second thing we reminded one another to do was to pray. That praying for others, and letting them know you are praying for them is a tangible reminder of our care and support. In some situations as we journey with people we are not always sure of everything we can do, but one thing we can always do is pray and remind them of that.
Miriam a woman who struggles with mental health writes this:
When you don’t know what to do or say, the one thing you can do is pray and let the person you are praying for know you are. It is a true expression of compassion and Christian love
And lastly, we reminded one another to continue the conversation. That this is the just the beginning and one thing we can do is to continue to learn and listen. We can learn more about mental health, and listen directly from those who are struggling. We can ask how we can help, and take action.
And through these three steps we can start to make a difference and changing the world, by changing someone’s world. As we remember to welcome and include, pray, and continue the conversation.