“Please don’t tell anyone,” she pleaded. “They won’t let me serve anymore.”
by Amy Simpson
…After all, I have heard countless stories of exactly that. From Bible study leaders to Sunday school teachers to ministry coordinators to senior pastors, people have been asked to step away from ministry because they face mental health challenges.
…It is tragic to think how many people have been stripped of ministry opportunities because they have depression, anxiety sometimes overwhelms them, or occasionally they aren’t sure what’s real.
Essentially, churches find people among them who need the structure and purpose of serving in ministry and immediately take it away. Then we ask people to get better without one of the most helpful things they could have in their lives.
Perhaps among the cruelest ways we regularly respond to mental illness is by implying that people with mental illness have no purpose in the church or God’s kingdom.
It’s as if we believe mental illness cancels a person’s spiritual gifts, overpowers the Spirit of God, destroys God’s work in and through them. It’s almost as if we believe brain cells are more powerful, and more important, than the one who made them.
But you will never talk me out of this belief: God always has a purpose for everyone. And God’s purposes are never thwarted by our limitations.
Mental illness may alter the course of a person’s life, and managing it may come with limitations, but it doesn’t mean that person’s life is no good anymore. It doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t learn from that person. And it doesn’t mean that person has nothing to contribute to the church.
A Rescue Plan For The Anxious Child by Andrea Petersen