"Spiritual experiences, promises of peace and joy, opportunities for community and for communion with God…these elements of church life are understandably attractive to many people with mental illness. Churches have a special responsibility to recognize this and respond intentionally.
- Do you make people with mental disorders feel unwelcome? ignore them and focus on the more attractive new people who walk through your doors, hoping they’ll go away and other churches will meet their needs?
- In sermons, Bible studies, and classes, do you send the false message that Christians should not expect trouble, pain, or sickness? that happy, comfortable, and “victorious” life is the norm?
- When was the last time mental illness was mentioned in a sermon, in a way that normalized it?
- Does your community expect people to have it all together when they walk through the doors?
- Do you expect people to be “cured” before finding a place to serve?
None of us will ever be whole this side of heaven—and many people with mental illness suffer from chronic and repetitive symptoms that can be managed but not technically cured. These conditions do not cancel God’s purposes for them. They do not disqualify people from a place in the body of Christ. Just as much as other ill or injured people, they deserve loving acceptance, clear and consistent boundaries, and grace."
Does your church inadvertently hurt people with mental illness? Guest blogger Amy Simpson
Posted on May 5, 2013 by drgrcevich
Editor’s note: Our Key Ministry staff and volunteer team is pleased to extend our congratulations to Amy Simpson upon her recognition as a winner of of one of Christianity Today’s 2014 Book Awards for Troubled Minds: Mental Health and the Church’s Mission.