Whether you are a pastor struggling with depression or simply hope to come alongside one in your life who does, where do you begin?
I’ll admit it. I was a pastor who was simply unqualified to counsel on this subject early in my ministry. If I had been, I wouldn’t have heard these words from an ER physician. He said, “I don’t know what you do for a living. But you either learn to love it, find something else, or die a very young man.”
I was stressed, depressed and didn’t really know what to do about it.
Thankfully, there were people in my life that did. In time, I made changes that have kept me living and leading healthy.
Here are three resources to help you respond in a more compassionate and informed way to the realities that contribute to depression and compound other forms of mental illness among church leaders…
Understand the “Why?” behind it. Thomas Rainer helps us come to terms with some of root causes behind depression among clergy. https://thomrainer.com/2018/02/five-reasons-many-pastors-struggle-depression/
Get past the stigma that comes with it. Mark Meynell writes for the Gospel Coalition about getting the conversation out in the open. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/pastors-depression/
Take some practical steps to confront it. Something has to change. Stephanie Lobdell draws from the life of Elijah to offer some steps anyone can take to keep depression from leading them down a darker path. https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/december-web-exclusives/when-youre-pastor-who-suffers-from-depression.html
It’s become all too cliche and way too familiar. Still, “the struggle is real” for those of us serving to answer God’s call to ministry.
There is hope. There is help.
Be a part of the solution and stay informed on the realities of depression and mental illness.
If you are struggling with depression. Let someone know. You don’t have to walk alone.
You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).