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Our Monsters in the Closet series has stirred up a need to have some conversations about mental health. Last week I addressed how the Church in general has missed the mark in caring for those who struggle with mental health challenges. This week I want to write about what we can and should be doing to journey with people living with mental illness. 


Recent research shows that people who struggle with mental illness often reach out to a church first. Why? Because churches can offer hope that other organizations can’t. While we understand that mental illness is a real illness and deeply want to help, we may feel our options for offering real help are limited. Since some people require treatment and medication by a mental health professional to reach improved health, and this isn’t something we can do, we think we can’t really offer any worthwhile help…


But wait… Hasn’t the Church been commissioned with caring for people? Yes, and this includes their body, mind, heart and soul. We have a responsibility to care for people with an illness. Plus, we can speak into the soul in ways others cannot. 


I’ve been on a personal journey to learn more about how the Church can provide hope for those with mental health challenges. After reading many articles and listening to several messages on the subject, I may not be an expert, but I’ve grown so much. Rick and Kay Warren have influenced my thinking most. (Rick is the pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California and has authored several best-selling books.) In 2013, their son Matthew died by sucide. Since this tragedy, they have been advocates for helping churches address mental health to extend hope. Kay provides this acrostic as a strategy for helping people with mental illness. It spells C.H.U.R.C.H.


Care for people with mental illness and their families.

We can make an intentional effort to become a caring and compassionate sanctuary for people with mental illness and their families. 


Help with the basic needs of people living with mental illness and their families.

By offering a little extra time and a little commitment we can make a significant difference by helping with some simple tasks.  


Utilize our gifts.

If we follow Jesus then we are ministers of the Gospel of Jesus. Let’s not just utilize our gifts, let’s mobilize our gifts to make a difference. There are not enough mental health professionals, so we must do what we can do. 


Remove the stigma around mental illness.

Individuals suffering from mental illness are often stigmatized by our society. The stigma often leads to people suffering from mental illness feeling excluded, fearful and disconnected. 


Collaborate with the community. 

Mental health cannot be solved by one dimension. It takes all of us. We must partner with other organizations, mental health professionals, and more to help so people can get help in a holistic and comprehensive way. 



The church can offer something nobody else can: HOPE. 


Mountainview, I want us to be this kind of C.H.U.R.C.H. 


Grace & Peace

Pastor Tom