WHY WE BROUGHT MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT GROUPS TO OUR CHURCH
If you are reading this then most likely you have an interest, diagnosis, or possibly a curiosity about mental health and the role the church can play in capably caring for those affected by a mental health disorder.
The following are a few reasons why we got involved and took action to help launch mentalhealth support groups at our church.
1. I Needed It
Approximately two years ago my life would forever be changed by a mental health crisis. An adverse reaction to an anti -depressant landed me in the psychiatric unit of our local hospital. This was an incredibly challenging point in my life journey but one that I would never change. I have been there. I understand desperation. I have been in the valley. I am now experiencing the mountain top.
Still, I found myself wondering, who I could talk to besides my pastor and counselor. I was asking questions like “could the church be a place that is safe and where I could share my fears, pains, struggles, anger, grief, helplessness and even hopelessness?” I couldn’t be the only one feeling this way?!?
Thankfully, our mental health ministry team came across the resources available through The Grace Alliance. Last Fall we launched our first LIVING GRACE support group. This group offers support to those living with a mental illness. What a blessing this group has been to offer hope and encouragement to those facing mental health challenges. In these groups it is “Okay not to be Okay.” We can come feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or fearful, and can leave feeling encouraged by those with similar stories and struggles.
2. To Offer Hope To Others
So often people come to their church experiencing mental health issues and are being turned away feeling hopeless. On a given Sunday almost 1/3 of the congregation is battling a mental health disorder or know someone who is. Pastors may not be trained or may feel ill equipped to handle the mental health demands of their congregations. These support groups can relieve the burden on pastors and offer Christ centered mental health solutions through lay people. It has been remarkable to see the impact the group has had on those who have attended. One testimony shared recently saying, “I left the Living Grace group feeling HOPE.”
3. To Provide a Resource For Our Community
Shortly after beginning his service as our interim pastor, our now Senior Pastor Mark Holmen wanted to make a difference in Crosslake, MN. Having served a much larger church in California he brought valuable insight into leaving a long lasting impression in a community. Having once asked a community leader, “How can we as a church help in Ventura” he asked that same question to his congregation in Crosslake. The response was an overwhelming request to serve the elderly as well as to provide mental health resources locally. This fueled his passion to launch a mental health ministry.
It is difficult to talk about suicide, depression, anxiety, bi polar, etc. in our churches. Still it is important and necessary.We need our churches to be safe places to talk about these things. The vision of the Grace groups is to relieve suffering, reveal Christ, and to restore lives.The groups learn how to filter difficulties through God’s grace.
Each weekly topic stands alone allowing for new people to join at any time. We also offer the FAMILY GRACE support groups. This group is a faith-based class for you as you walk alongside a loved one toward mental health wellness. We are building a network of support that goes much further than a weekly meeting! We are fighting the battle against mental health stigmas, and winning. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health issue, we are here to give understanding. Mental illness is a long-term condition that requires constant attention which is why we will be looking to provide a variety of ways for people to connect with others, both in person and online, for support, encouragement and prayer.
TLC MENTAL HEATH MINISTRY
Tuesday Night Support Groups
6:30 fellowship & appetizers
7-8pm support groups
Living Grace (Living with mental illness)
If you are in the midst of a battle with depression, anxiety, bipolar or other menta illness, it’s okay not to be okay. Come be a part of a support group focused on people who live with mental illness. This support group is held in the Bethlehem Room.
If you have a child battling depression, anxiety, bipolar or other mental illness and you don’t know what to do, it’s okay not to be okay. Come be a part of support group for parents of children (of all ages) who struggle with mental illness. This support group is held in the Capermaum Room.