Five Stone Media is a 501C3 non-profit specializing in video production. We use story to bring hope and healing to those in need of change.

Some People Don’t Want To Go To Point B

5 Reasons People Resist Change

At Five Stone Media/LifeSupport our mission is about changing lives.  We tell stories of real people to help others find hope and healing that can help transform their lives.  Through interactions with people seeking life transformation we get a front row seat to the struggles people have with change.

One simple definition of leadership is helping people get from Point A to Point B. If you work in or around ministry you know that some people just don’t want their church to change, they are happy to just stay at Point A. One recent study shows that one in three people would avoid change if they could.  The problem is that change is an unavoidable part of life and ministry.  Understanding why people resist change is an essential step in shepherding people through change.  The following are five areas to focus on as you help others prepare for, and enter into change.


We fear change because of the uncertainty it brings. Painting a clear picture of the intended destination will help reduce fears dramatically.  For change to be accepted (if not embraced), there must be an understanding of the benefits of changing. People need to be convinced that Point B is a place they want to go before they can be comfortable leaving Point A.  The description of the change, and the process for reaching that change must be thoroughly understood by everyone involved. The greater the uncertainty about change, the more likely people will fill in the things they don’t understand with gossip or their own personal fears.


We fear change because we fear we might lose what’s associated with the change. Many people view change as a transaction. It’s important to understand and acknowledge the personal costs of change.  If you are asking someone to trade their current situation for a new reality, they will need to be convinced that there will be a real benefit to their life. Communicate the payoff to help people see the upside of the sacrifice that change will bring.


We resist change because we don’t understand the reason behind the change. Helping people understand why they should change will lead to greater engagement with the change process. If you are entering into a period of organizational change rather than personal change it can be harder for those involved to see the reason for change, this is especially true for people who may not be directly involved, or who don’t have inside knowledge (a church congregation for example). For organizations who are entering a time of intentional change, it is essential to create a message that clearly communicates the need for change, and the timeline for the change. People who don’t get enough information can believe that information is being intentionally withheld. The goal should be to make sure everyone affected by the change completely understands this message and timeline.  There is no such thing as overcommunicating the change message.


Life (and change) moves at it’s own pace. One of the biggest struggles a believer can have is waiting for God’s timing.  Many people need guidance on how to release control over when and how the future will unfold.  Additionally, people who are resistant to change need plenty of time to get used to the idea of change.  In addition to over-communicating the WHY of change it’s important to start that communication as early as possible.  Preparing people well ahead of intentional change will help increase acceptance by those who are naturally resistant.  You can help create a culture that embraces change through consistent messaging in sermons, bible study, small groups, and all other areas of ministry.  When church members need to see what it means to live like a Christian (and how to respond to change), they are going to look to the leaders in your church to find a model to copy. The greatest way to inspire others to trust in God’s timing and will is for every staff member and leader to demonstrate a high level of “change acceptance” in their own lives.


In our work we often encounter people who believe they are simply not capable of changing. Sometimes it’s difficult to see this attitude because pride asks us to hide our uncertainty.  Many people have heard a message of “fake it till you make it” at some point in their lives.  We may find ourselves at a point in life where we know we need to change, but we are unwilling to admit that to others so we simply fake our way through life and pretend everything is okay.  This choice will always lead to more pain.  The change that needs to happen doesn’t go away just because we hide it away.  Delayed change almost always leads to greater damage.  Leaders can counteract the “fake it till you make it” attitude through modeling vulnerability and authenticity and communicating their own personal circumstances and past experiences.

Be Encouraged

Change is a constant in our world.  If you struggle with change or if you lead others who struggle with change, remind yourself that change, while painful is the only way to grow.  As believers we have set ourselves on a path to change from our human nature to be as much like Christ as possible.  If you lead believers you are an essential part of God’s plan to change His world and the hearts of his children.  Remember that the ultimate change we seek is eternal change.  Any earthly struggle will pale in comparison to the rewards of Heaven.

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Eternal Impact

Eternal Impact - The Work Of Transformation

Please celebrate with us the new eternal life of a Lifeblood participant who accepted Christ this week during our Lifeblood women’s group inside the Shakopee women’s prison! We are grateful for our amazing volunteer group facilitator Tabatha Perry. Tabatha is a consistent positive influence for these women who are putting in the time and effort to change their lives while incarcerated.

The following article is an example of the kinds of discussion we have with men and women inside jails and prisons through our Lifeblood curriculum. Like all of our curriculum, Lifeblood is built on stories of shared experience. We simply capture and share stories of transformation to help people explore their own lives. Our mission is to use story to bring hope and healing for those in need of change. We thank God that he has used Lifeblood and Tabatha to help bring one more person into his family for eternity!

A Vital Question: Who Am I?

If we want serious change in our lives, there is one serious question we need to address: Who am I?

Why do we need to answer this question? Because if we answer it honestly, we will have a good idea if we are on the right track to a better, healthier life.

Maybe we have allowed others to define who we were with terms like ‘convict,’ ‘drug addict,’ ‘absent father,’ ‘prostitute’ and so on. Or maybe we try to be like someone else or affiliate ourselves with the environment we grew up in or the types of people we associate with, like a gang.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)

How Do I See Myself?

If we want to change, we first need to view ourselves accurately.

It’s so easy to focus on the wrong things.  Most of us allow our past or our circumstances to define the way we see ourselves. It’s important to face the past and deal with the damage we’ve done (or that’s been done to us).  But our vision isn’t always accurate in the way we see our past or our circumstances. Where our vision is flawed, God’s is perfect.  God sees you as His adored child. Rely on God’s vision to help you see yourself accurately.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Seek Input From Others

One helpful goal is to find a few trusted advisors who can help you understand yourself and to talk through the decisions of life.  If you think back on your life you’ll see that who you are today is, in part as result of who you have been influenced by in the past. Most of us who have stumbled in life have allowed other people to influence us in negative ways, to lead us down the road to poor choices.  Choose to surround yourself with a few people who will help to influence you sown roads to healthier choices. The right people can help you see yourself accurately too.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 (NIV)

Work Towards Becoming Who You Choose To Be

Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress we are making in life.  Take some time every day to reflect on the choices you’ve made and the people you’ve interacted with.  Change requires time,  but it also requires intentionality. Each of us makes choices every day that will either lead us closer to who we intend to be (and to who God intends us to be), or away from that life.  Understand that all of us have days when we move the wrong direction.  We need to understand that perfection is not a realistic goal to set for ourselves. No one is perfect, but we need to see ourselves as the goal. God has a plan for each of our lives and that is what we need to focus on. When we make a mistake, we need to get up and keep going.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Are You Ready To Step In?

We have ongoing opportunities for volunteers to join us as we reach men and women in jails and prisons. If you’d like to learn more about the Lifeblood curriculum or how you can be part of this rewarding ministry, reach out to [email protected]

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Life Transformation

Life Transformation - Always Personal - Always Shared

Some people have a pretty accurate picture of who they are and have never felt the need to drastically change their life.  But for some of us, life transformation is vital to the ability to move forward in life. There are many men and women in our world who reach a point when they look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person they see. If you’ve never faced a future absent of hope and choice, you can’t know how impossible real life change can seem.


A few years ago I reached a point when I didn’t know how to do life anymore because I didn’t know who I was.  I had done everything in my power that I could do to fix my problems and it wasn’t enough.  The country was in a deep recession, my business was suffering badly and our family was facing overwhelming financial losses.  I had been led to believe that I should be able to deal with all of life’s troubles on my own power and overcome any obstacle that was placed in my path, this was impossible.   After years of falling short of who the world wanted me to be, I ran out of hope and options.  Every future I could imagine scared me to death. I had lost track of who I was and I looked for something to ease the fear. The answer I turned to was alcohol.

For a long time, alcohol allowed me to hide away from my fears and responsibilities.  Of course, alcohol was a false solution to my problems and addiction charged a heavy price in terms of physical health, damaged relationships and feelings of worthlessness. Eventually alcohol stopped working for me and my world came crashing down.  This time I was hopeless and out of options but now I was without answers. I needed a new answer for how to do life.

Transformation Requires Community

Through a few caring people, God led me to a recovery ministry where I found a group of people who shared my experiences, who demonstrated vulnerability and trust, and who would help me explore my past and my ideas of who I really was in God’s eyes.  The hard work of self-exploration taught me that the assumptions I had about my identity were based on false information.  These experiences also taught me that other people were essential to the life change I needed.

The Lifeblood Curriculum

The misunderstanding of self-identity is a common theme for people whose lives have gone in a wrong direction. For those in jail or prison, life has taken a dramatically wrong direction.  Lifeblood, our first curriculum was created to support reentry from incarceration.  Through programming inside jails, prisons, and community-based reentry facilities, Lifeblood gives participants the opportunity to explore their identity and to begin to transform their lives.  Lifeblood groups provide safe spaces where members are free to share their experiences while they support and learn from others. These groups also give people opportunities to adjust their understanding of essential life themes having to do with family, relationships, decision-making, the future, and more.

The men and women who sit down together for a Lifeblood group make a commitment to the hard work of finding a new way to do life.  We present the opportunity for participants to move off in a new direction for life as Christ followers and we love to see them recognize the plan that God had for their lives all along. That’s why we do our work, to help people see who they are and find a future they never imagined possible.

You Are Part Of God’s Solution

Just as life transformation can’t happen without the help of others, the work of this ministry can’t happen without the gifts, time, and resources of many people.  We are grateful for the people who support the work of transforming lives.  Whether you pray for us, volunteer in correctional facilities, share your expertise, or support us financially you are part of God’s plans to bring people closer to Christ and to transform lives. 

Thank You!

If You'd Like To Help

If you have expertise, gifts or time that you would like to share with us please email [email protected]

If you can support us financially please click the button

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Caring For People You Don’t Really Care For

What NASA Taught Me About Caring For Others

Almost 30 years ago I had the privilege of looking behind the scenes at the NASA space shuttle program.  I learned a lesson that day in the importance of caring for others even when they are people we don’t really like.

Everywhere we went in the facility we could see the care that was given to the safety and success of the flight crew. We were shown the astronaut equipment lockers that held personal space suit components custom-fitted to the exact measurements of each crew member.  There were rows of gleaming white suits adorned with American flags, mission insignias and patches to indicate whose specific suit was whose.  The suits were actually made up of separate components for each body part. Each locker held two of each; torso, arms, legs, boots, and helmets.  It was an impressive site to see all of the redundancy and care that went into making sure the team was well equipped and safe.

Our tour continued as we walked into a second locker area and saw several additional suits. These suits were noticeably smaller, gray in color, older looking and obviously well worn.  When we asked our guide what these suits were, we were told that these were the suits of the Soviet cosmonauts who would be part of the upcoming mission.  Back before the breakup of the Soviet Union, American and Soviet leaders decided (for a variety of reasons) that cooperative activities in space would serve their interests.  At the time most Americans saw the Soviets as the enemy and as untrustworthy.  Most astronauts had a military background and so, were even more inclined to hate the Soviets than the general public.  It was a big deal to ask these traditional enemies to cooperate in such an intricate and dangerous enterprise as a space mission.

Our tour guide gave us a memorable lesson in the importance of caring about others even when they are people we’ve been taught to hate. On the upcoming space mission, the astronauts would need to rely on and trust the Soviet mission members.  Both teams had to be prepared to help their former enemy in whatever way necessary. The mission preparation included hundreds of hours of training in how to use and care for the space suits and tools of the other country. In order to accomplish their assigned missions, and more importantly to survive the dangerous conditions of rocket flight and space activities, Soviet and American team members would need to know, trust, and rely on each other to accomplish their common goals.

How Does This Apply To Christian Life

For most believers, we like to think that we don’t really have any enemies.  If there are people we don’t approve of, or get along with, we simply make sure they aren’t part of our life.  But what if, like the astronauts our goals depended on knowing, trusting, and relying on our enemies, or even on those who we simply choose to separate ourselves from?

Putting The Mission First?

Mission number one for every Christian is to bring others to Christ and expand the kingdom for God. Seeing others as part of this mission helps us look past the things that divide us, cause us to judge others harshly, or plant the seeds of hate.  You might say that many of the people you don’t care for are unbelievers.  That may be true, but by separating yourself from them you are taking yourself out of the mission to reach them for Christ.  Ask yourself, What if I could bring that person one step closer to God?  Would that make you care more for them?

Who are the Soviet Cosmonauts in Your Life?

If you’re anything like me, there are people you’ve been taught to hate, who are less deserving, or who you should separate yourself from. It’s important that believers look around and identify the people we place in these categories.  Once we understand who it is we are not loving we can take steps that help us grow in the way we care for them.

5 Ways To Care For People You Don’t Care For

  1. Show simple kindness.  Find out what they need. If there is someone who you don’t really care for, the odds are pretty good that they don’t really care for you either.  You can go a long way in creating healing between you by simply asking the other if there is some way you can help them.
  2. Take time to know them – Respect that they have a different story than you – Understand that their attitudes, and actions are a result of their experience. Ask yourself, how would I be different if I had the past experience that they had. If you don’t know about their background or experiences, start by learning as much about them as possible.
  3. Lean into your common interests, history, or goals. Take the time to show genuine interest in the other person and explore their story.  It’s likely that there is some aspect of their life or history that connects you.  Be willing to share something about your past that may interest them.  If the other person has a negative perception of you, sharing some of your humanity (a flaw or stumble you’ve had) will help them see you in a different light. This may take a bit of vulnerability and time but these investments will almost always pay off in a healthier relationship. 
  4. Trust God and act in love. Sometimes it’s hard to overcome our humanity and show love for others.  Remind yourself that even though you have a hard time loving a particular person, God loves them beyond our ability to understand. In these times it would helpful to take ourselves out of the equation and simply ask God to soften your heart and guide your action to be a conduit for the love that He wants to show the person you don’t really care for.
  5. Pray – Prayer could be an element of each of the previous four suggestions.  When you have failed to see the value in others or a path forward to fellowship, ask God to provide that missing direction.

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Who Is Carrying The Weight?

Six Strategies To Manage the Weight Of Ministry

The popular TV show Survivor features tribes of people competing to survive under challenging circumstances.  Each episode includes some kind of challenge where tribes face off in a physical contest. One such contest provides an analogy for the pressures and toll that affects clergy and churches today.

The Challenge

In this game, each tribe member carries a backpack containing an amount of weight equal to a percentage of their body weight. This ensures that everyone gets an equal chance to succeed and that the load is fairly distributed throughout the tribe. Once weighted, tribe members start walking under the weight of their packs. The rules for this challenge state that once the tribe starts moving, individual members can drop out. But, when each person makes the decision they can’t go on anymore, they must hand their weighted pack off to one of the other tribe members who continue to walk. The start of this challenge is fairly boring as everyone is pretty comfortable with their reasonable load. Eventually, the elements start to effect the contestants as sun, heat, rain, poor footing, or insects take their toll. One by one, tribe members tire and begin to drop out.

How It Ends

As individuals leave the contest, the tribe needs to choose who will carry the load for those who can no longer go on. In nearly every group there is one person who others see as the strongest. Tribes do their best to keep one or two of these folks around as long as possible so they have someone to handle the big challenges. As more and more individuals stop walking with their weight, these strong one or two tribe members end up carrying the lions share of weight for their group. The challenge concludes with one final tribe member bearing the tribe’s entire load. The contest is over when, finally the strongest member reaches a breaking point when they either collapse under the weight, or simply give up and quit moving.

Surviving The Ministry Load

If you work in ministry, the parallels between this Survivor challenge and your work are obvious.  Here are six strategies you can apply to the collective weight of your ministry tribe.

  1. Divide The Load Wisely – Identify the weight that everyone is designed to carry.  Everyone who works in ministry is well aware of their gifts and strengths. If you are in a staff leadership position, take the time to reflect on which specific responsibilities feel heaviest to your team members. Is there any way to relieve a bit of the burden or to temporarily redistribute specific tasks?  Many staff conflict issues arise out of a misunderstanding of everyone’s role and who is carrying the most weight. In any role there are invisible weights that other team members aren’t aware of.  Make sure everyone knows how hard others are working to carry their share of the weight.
  2. Make The Weight Seem Lighter – Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11(ESV)    If you lead staff members, encourage your team at every opportunity, but deploy your church Body too.  Your church is filled with people who have been given the gift of encouragement.  Know who these people are and ask them to help lift up your staff.  Consider building an exhortation team for your staff.
  3. Observe Your Team Wisely – Most leaders believe that they are skilled at judging others and select who they see as strong team members.  Great leaders recognize that strength ebbs and flows.  Just because someone has always been strong in the past doesn’t mean they are strong today.  Even the strongest people are affected by the challenges of life.  Often the stronger a team member, the less likely they are to share their struggles.  They may be emotionally exhausted and weak at home and in the car on the way to work, but as soon as they walk into the office they turn on the “strong” switch because that’s what they’ve always been and what they believe is expected of them.  Great leaders don’t rely on appearance to judge strength, they take the time and create processes that allow them to evaluate how team members are doing on an ongoing basis.
  4. Add New Tribe Members – How can you engage others to pick up part of the load?  We all know that the work load increases at times during seasons of the ministry year or during times of growth.  Take the time to prioritize and make strategic decisions about what weight you absolutely have to carry and what could be handed off to others.  Are there people like former staff members, high level volunteers, seminary students, or others who can pick up the weight of a few specific tasks for a short term assignment?
  5. Maybe You Don’t Have to Do Everything – We all suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) at times.  We read about a new mission, outreach strategy, Sunday school curriculum, leadership book, ministry conference, technical gizmo, etc. and we want to put it to use in our organization.  Most of us have run across someone who flits from one new thing to another like a hummingbird.  They have a lot of frantic movement and energy, but they’re hard to keep track of, and they sometime aren’t too productive.  One strategy that helps me avoid SOS is to limit change related decisions to four specific times per year.  Each quarter, I schedule time to sit down and strategize about new projects, initiatives, even to make decisions about what books I’m going to read.  These decisions aren’t hard and fast, but they help me avoid being distracted by the newest shiny object in my world.
  6. Sometimes You Just Need to Stop and Trust – Recognize that no person or organization is capable of succeeding without God.  If you find that you have become the last person in the challenge and that the weight of your tribe is too much to bear, hand it all off to God and stop walking.  Trust that he will keep moving for you all.

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Your Hood Is Ajar

DING! - Your Hood Is Ajar.

This is the message our car has been giving us for the past few months.  The first couple times this happened we pulled over and walked around front to find that the hood was perfectly fine. We’ve had the car into the shop twice and no one had been able to fix the problem. So, at random intervals once a week or five times a day we get the message that our hood is ajar.  now when this message comes up, we’ve reached the point where we simply push “okay” on the steering wheel and the message goes away.

Obviously there is a problem with our information system.  There is definitely something wrong (probably a bad sensor) but the car’s computer is interpreting the problem incorrectly. Yesterday when I heard the ding and saw this message pop up, I wondered how often I do this to myself, how often do I sense something wrong, find the wrong cause and send myself the wrong error message.

Getting The Wrong Messages

Of all the teachers, influencers and advisors we have throughout life, the person we get the most messages from and the person we listen to the most is ourself.  I can be pretty quick to diagnose what’s wrong with me and to send those error messages; you said the wrong thing, these people are better than you, you don’t work hard enough, you’re not good enough, etc.

Finding More Accurate Input

My perception of myself is often like the computer on our car, I can sense that there is something wrong but when I interpret the information I come up with the wrong diagnosis.  There is someone who has a completely accurate view of me and who has already shared his diagnosis of my problems.  Even where I see brokenness and problems, God sees me as valuable and effective for him.  In Ephesians 2:10 I am reminded that I am God’s workmanship, created to do his work.  In Psalm 139 David reminds me that God knows me completely, the good and the bad, and that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  In Ephesians 1:4 I see that despite my flaws God selected me to be one of his own even before the world was formed, that I should be holy and blameless. Throughout the bible, God goes on and on in his diagnosis of me. I simply need to listen more to his voice than  my own.

Letting God's Voice Take Over

Read through chapters 1 & 2 of Ephesians today. Sit alone with these verses and concentrate on hearing God’s voice. Consider that these words apply to you personally and practice thinking of yourself the way God thinks of you.

DING – You Are Loved!

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Bringing Your Mess To Church Is A Good Thing

Helping People Talk About Mental Health

There are lots of reasons people don’t like to talk about mental health struggles. 

  • We don’t want to make others uncomfortable
  • We don’t like to be seen as weak
  • We’re afraid of professional repercussions
  • We think we’ll be treated differently
  • If we talk about our problems we’ll have to actually do something about them. 

When it comes to church, some people believe that their personal issues won’t be welcome or that the messiness of life doesn’t belong at church. 

For those who work in church ministry, being open with mental health struggles can be very challenging.  Pastors and other ministry workers can feel a pressure to be examples of some imaginary Christian ideal. Church staff also carry the weight of always needing to “be there” for others, which makes it easy to set their own struggles aside so they can focus on caring for others. 

The Mess Belongs In Church

There are people in every church who are simply consumers.  They show up each week with expectations of what church should look like.  These people often don’t like change and they don’t want to see messiness.  If you are reading this you probably see the value in welcoming the messiness of life.  The “Consumers” need your help to see that when people can bring their mess to church, authentic discussion can happen and it becomes possible to talk about the way God fits in even the ugly parts of life.  One of the important jobs of ministry is to help everyone in the church see that dealing with the mess is an essential part of who the church is.  One of the most important, ugly things to talk about is suicide.

Suicide Isn’t Going Anywhere

  • The number of suicides in the United States is rising dramatically from 36,900 in 2009 to more than 48,000 a decade later.
  • Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every 40 seconds, someone in the world is dying of suicide. Every 40 seconds. Let that sink in.  Since you started reading this post, at least two people have died by suicide.
  • Every year, over a million people, worldwide, die of suicide.

Before His Death By Suicide, One Pastor Shared His Wisdom For The Church

Fortunately, there are simple solutions for stigma of mental health in the church.

You don’t have to be a trained counselor or therapist to stop stigma in its tracks.

“Here is what we have to realize: You don’t have to do a lot to help a lot,” said Jarrid Wilson on The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast.

Wilson was a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in Riverside, CA who struggled with mental health for many years.  His death by suicide in 2019 shocked the world and brought much-needed attention to the topic of mental health in the church.

“The reality is, if the local church wants to be the hope of the world, then it needs to step into situations that people find themselves hopeless, and one of those things is mental health,” Wilson said. “That doesn’t mean you have to suddenly create 40 books, or a curriculum…you can literally stand on a stage and say, ‘Hey, I know a lot of you are dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts right now, I just want you to know, as leaders of this church, we love you, we care about you, we know that is the battle you are dealing with and we will be here to support you. If you are struggling, don’t be ashamed. Come talk to us.’ That right there, just talking about it, is what will end the stigma and could literally save lives because then someone might be like, ‘Wow, I am not ashamed because I can talk to someone about this because my church has my back.’”

Simply talking about mental health and welcoming those to just come share about it is the first, and biggest, step to ending stigma in your church.

4 Ways To Help Your Church

  1. Start With Your Team – Make sure your church staff knows that it’s okay to bring their mess to work with them.  Build in processes and opportunities for sharing, staff to staff support teams, and bring in or refer staff to trusted mental health professionals when needed.
  2. Lead By Example – If you work in ministry, start by talking about any struggles you have.  If you teach from the platform, be willing to let your church family in and show them that it’s okay to talk about these subjects. Help them see that God can be part of their struggles and their solutions.
  3. Be Prepared to Respond – Make sure your staff members (and lay-leaders) have the information and equipping they need to respond when someone comes to them with real life struggles. Be prepared with referral information to appropriate professionals.  If you are in Minnesota and are looking for a Christian mental health professional in your area, check out our directory here with listing by city.
  4. Offer Training to Your Church – at LifeSupport, we offer churches our Caring For Mental Health curriculum free of charge to help equip the Body of the Church to come alongside others in need of support. Get more info, access, and/or facilitator training here.

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How Can I Be Part of God’s Plan

How do you fit in God's plan?

This question can be a struggle, even a stumbling block for Christians. Sometimes it seems like you have your hands full just getting through life and taking care of yourself. It can feel overwhelming and intimidating to figure out how God could possibly use us as part of some intricate and interdependent plan. Knowing yourself can be difficult but it’s such an important part of discovering purpose and meaning in life.

Our Lifeblood curriculum helps people who are trying to overcome incarceration see themselves in a new way. The group session on Understanding Identity challenges participants to make a choice about the way they see themselves, rather than just accept the labels created by their feelings or the world. It can be helpful for any of us to examine who we are in a new way. Rather than focusing on the things that you understand about yourself, think about the things God understands about you:

  1. The days of your life are also God’s days. Your story is also part of God’s story.
  2. You have been gifted I’m specific ways. Take the time to discover the special ways God has wired you.
  3. God is able to use ALL of your gifts and experiences (even those you think of in negative terms) for his good purpose. Reflect on ways God has used your experiences to help others.

Take some time to use these questions from Lifeblood and reflect on the way you understand who you are:

  1. In the past, has your view of yourself caused you to assume limitations or self-expectations? 
  2. Has the way you see yourself changed?  How?   
  3. Has anyone noticed a change in you? How so?   
  4. Is there anything about your old life that seems far-removed or unrecognizable? Why did those things change?

If You'd Like To Support the Lifeblood Reentry Ministry

We’d love to know that you are praying for our efforts to change the lives of men and women inside correctional facilities and through community-based reentry facilities.  We’d also appreciate your financial support.  Thank you for your consideration and generosity!

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5 Ways Mental Illness Affects Spiritual Growth

If you work in ministry you’ve seen the spiritual growth of individuals stall out from time to time.  Someone can be engaged on a strong growth track when suddenly they lose interest.  More often the spiritual drift is gradual and it can be easy to miss the indicators that someone in your community has become disengaged or lost their thirst to grow.  Most leaders will take the initiative to explore the cause of spiritual drift.  Mental illness can be a major barrier to spiritual growth and can be difficult to spot.  Here are a few of the stumbling blocks created by mental illness.


Mental illness can have a profound effect on someone’s view of themselves. Even people who have a relatively healthy mental condition can have trouble seeing themselves as adored children of God. That perception is much more difficult for those who feel they are defective or unworthy. These are people who actually believe that they are not good enough for God.  They desperately need words of encouragement (from people they know and trust) about God’s view of them.  Share appropriate scripture but bring God’s word to life by adding in examples of times when you have felt inadequate and unworthy of God’s love if you can.

God Perception

Mental illness can feel like a curse from God.  Those who struggle can develop a flawed view of how God is working in their life and world.  They can see God as an angry and vengeful power who is punishing or disciplining them for something (real or imagined) about themselves.  Those in this mindset can focus on the parts of scripture that highlight this part of God’s character.  Share reminders of the ways God has shown understanding, patience, and love for individual people. One good strategy is to help them find a character in the bible with whom they can relate, then illuminate the ways that person was loved by God.


People who are afflicted with a mental illness often feel as if they have lost control of their reality. It can feel like it doesn’t matter what they do, they will never find release or change.  Someone who feels trapped and hopeless may find it hard to understand the benefit of any kind of spiritual practice as they don’t see a way forward.  It’s important for these people to hear authentic, relatable stories of hope and transformation.  Shared experience groups are excellent strategies to help them see God at work in and through them.


Mental illness creates separation.  Many people who are struggling with their mental health (even in small ways) tend to separate themselves from others.  Feelings of inadequacy and assumptions about the way others are judging them, make it easier for the sufferer to simply avoid interactions that they see as uncomfortable.  This avoidance creates a snowball effect.  As the person disengages, their mental illness begins to take up a bigger space in their life so the person detaches even further.  It is important to look for the early signs of isolation and take steps to interrupt the process of detachment. Have your staff and ministry leaders make note of who is missing from services or activities, or who is attending less often.  Invite these people to be involved and connect them with others who will include them in activities, groups, or study.  Be sure that you or your staff is engaging personally with these people.


Mental health struggles and addiction are often partners in suffering.  Sometimes, addiction creates or ignites dormant mental illnesses. Other times addiction grows out of mental illness as the sufferer seeks relief through destructive substances or behaviors.  Addiction can overwhelm a person to the point where each of the previous points (perception of self and God, apathy, and isolation) are all present.  Spiritual growth can also suffer as the addict experiences diminished cognitive abilities and other physical harms.  Believers sometimes cause harm to addicts by addressing the addiction simply as a sin issue.  This over-simplification of a complex problem can drive people away from their community of believers, the church, and God.  A lot of spiritual damage is done in the church by people who see those struggling with addiction as unworthy to be present in church with the rest of the church community.  Ministry leaders would be wise to go out of their way to visibly welcome those who are suffering.  In addition to sharing appropriate bible lessons that reinforce the way God sees and values the addict, ministry leaders and friends can provide prayer and important emotional support. Referral to an addiction profession or program, as well as shared experience groups are excellent ways for church leaders to respond to this mental health need.

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Pain Doesn’t Ask Permission

Pain doesn’t ask Permission:

But we can lift each other up through it

Counselor Julie Hull is a mental health professional who serves as an advisor and contributor for LifeSupport. At the beginning of the covid pandemic in the Spring of 2020, Julie wrote this article that will always be helpful for those who are struggling with life or wrestling with God.

Compounded Grief

We don’t always experience life the way we think we should, or the way we expect it should be. Each one of us at one time may have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. Many of the people and families we sit next to in church are hurting and feeling lonely and quite possibly could be struggling with depression and anxiety.

Especially now, I know I have seen an increase in my counseling practice for extra support around the community grief and loss of the Pandemic that we all are feeling to some extent. We have compounded grief ourselves and many of us are serving those who have trauma or loss and that is on their minds on a daily basis. It can be overwhelming.

All of us are in different places in our lives and different seasons, and if you are currently in a season of pain this may be hard to understand or even see right now, but God has shown me that there can be joy and even purpose in our pain. I became a widow when my youngest son was 12, my husband died from a rare form of lung cancer. That has been a few years now and I am finding my way along in my own story and it takes time and it is teaching me how to stand with others in pain.

The Journey Into Pain

I found myself once again in that hard place, last year when my sister died. Our church and our family had been praying for a miracle and at the same time holding the information that the recent diagnosis was stage 4 cancer. Her medical prognosis was not favorable and she had limited treatment options.

I was the one who had to deliver that news to her when she woke up from surgery, it was gut-­‐wrenching for me and yet I was very calm and she was calm after hearing this very hard news. That can only be explained because of the Hope we both have in Jesus Christ.

I love how one author frames pain without sugar coating it but by inviting hope into the pain, “we must encourage one another in the assurance that, however deep the pain surges, Christ loves us and has overcome (John 16:33).    God didn’t cause the pain we experience but he certainly has a plan for us as we journey through it”.

I believe God hates that we have to experience death and heartache but He is with us. I love the verse in Psalm 34:18 that says, the Lord is near to the heartbroken and he saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Looking back at the past five years apart from doing life without the love of my life, Ken, and watching our son Sam grow up, as he remembers his Dad’s life only through videos and pictures as an 11-­‐ year-­‐old. I am overcome just thinking about where we have been. I am at the same time over joyed at how we have never walked alone. We recently were looking at pictures and we came across one taken a few days before Ken left this world, and we are all laughing and crowding each other out of Ken’s hospital bed in our living room and I look back now and wonder how that was even possible to laugh and smile at such a time. And then God reminds me and I see how it was and how it still is… it’s truly the peace of God that surpasses ALL understanding. I am still in awe of Gods power in such darkness.

Hold Onto The Truth

So I encourage each of you if you are helping someone who is going through something hard right now—or if you yourself are suffering to hold on to Jesus, cling tightly to the word and surround yourself with people that will speak life over you.

Friend, you are so loved. You are enough. You are never alone. God’s word reminds us in Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.”

My prayer for the families we serve in our Churches and for all those who God brings into my path is that God would help us all to see the

Julie Hull holds a Master of Clinical Christian Counseling and is a Licensed Pastoral Counselor.  She is the owner of Renewing Hope Counseling Resources in Burnsville, MN where she specializes in helping clients who are experiencing loss, grief and life transitions. Working with people to create sustainable self-care practices while walking through a new, difficult or unwanted change in life. She believes the integration of emotional, physical and spiritual health must be addressed in order to move toward healing. Learn more about Julie and her practice at Renewing Hope.

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7 Truths About Marriage

The Truth Can Be Hard To See

Finding truth about marriage is confusing these days.  There are many things that society tries to portray about marriage and relationships that are simply not true, yet many people are buying into them.

That is why it is important the church helps teach the right things about relationships and marriage. A professional relationship coach joined the LifeSupport Podcast to talk about some if the misconceptions that are being spread around regarding marriage and what people need to know.

Leslie Vernick

Leslie knew all too much about destructive relationships from an early age.

Her mother was an alcoholic and an abuser, and her childhood was painful and scary. When Leslie was eight years old, her parents went through an ugly divorce. Even as an adult, Leslie feared her mother’s temper and did not speak to her for 15 years. Her mother was not there for her wedding or the birth of her son. The helplessness, confusion, frustration and hurt was overwhelming at times.

Eventually, Leslie learned how and went to set appropriate boundaries, how to confront and when to forbear, how to overcome evil with good and how to let go of all the negative messages in her head.

She became very passionate about helping people in difficult and destructive relationships, especially marriages. She received her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work and received post-graduate training in Biblical Counseling as well as Cognitive Therapy.

She said the secular world distorts the way we think about relationships and marriage, opposed to what the Bible teaches.

“I think we are leaving it to Hollywood to tell us what a relationship looks like,” Vernick said. “We need to help people understand that hardship in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hardship is actually brought into our lives to grow us.”

7 Truths About Marriage

During the LifeSupport Podcast, Vernick addressed some perceptions of marriage and some of the issues involving marriage and the church:

  1. There is no perfect marriage: “I’ve never met anybody who’s had an ‘A-Plus’ marriage,” Vernick said. “The Bible tells us we all struggle in many ways and nobody that is married is a perfect person.” God calls us to be God-centered people, not marriage-centered people. The church has made an idol of marriage, and as wonderful as it can be, marriages have their struggles.
  2. Marrying a Christian will not solve all your problems: Just because you are marrying someone who is Godly and meets your Christian values, does not mean they can fulfill all your needs completely. That’s a myth. The only one that completes us is God and we cannot make anyone, even our spouses, an idol. Our spouses can make us happy and make us feel important, but it is important to remember they will also hurt us at times.
  3. We need to understand what marriage vows mean: A vow is a promise to help and love your spouse. It is not saying that you are giving yourself to the other person to be used or abused, but it is making a statement of commitment to each other’s welfare. We are supposed to represent Christ in our marriages.
  4. Marriage always takes work: When you buy a new home and never do any maintenance to it, it will start to deteriorate. The same goes for a marriage. The foundation is the most important part of a home, and trust is the foundation of any relationship. If there is no trust, the relationship will crumble.
  5. It is ‘OK’ to not be married: Some people feel like their churches put more value on those who are married, and shame those who are divorced. Whether you are married, single or divorced, the most important thing is your identity in Christ.
  6. Healthy marriages need healthy role models: Marriage counseling can help, but it is not the only thing that is going to have a real impact on someone who needs to change. People need positive role models, especially in the church, to be accountable to and to be there with them to show what a healthy relationship looks like in the real world.
  7. God cares about our relationships: God never wants us to be in an abusive relationship or marriage. He created marriage as a way to demonstrate the kind of relationship he wants with us, full of love and trust. The world is fallen and that means no one will be perfect in their marriage, but with the proper steps, relationships can be restored.

Leslie Vernick is a popular speaker, author and licensed clinical social worker and relationship coach. For more information, visit .


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected].

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I’m Fine – The Most Common Lie

I’m Fine.

The Most Common Lie We Tell?

Our culture tries to convince us that we can take control of our lives and if we don’t have control, something is going wrong. Unfortunately, many churches have adopted the same kind of mindset from the secular realm that everything should be good, and everyone should be happy.

A licensed psychologist spoke on a recent LifeSupport Podcast to talk about the fallacies that are taught in our culture when it comes to trauma and suffering.

Kim Pareigat

After years of being a licensed psychologist, Kim has come to a profound conclusion: Our culture does not do well with pain.

She has also seen the church struggle with dealing with trauma in families. Kim said she defines trauma as going through something that is intense emotionally where there are feelings of hopelessness and no control.

Many of today’s churches are a reflection of the American culture, which tries to tell us that we are in control of our destiny and in control of our future. Culture says we are supposed to be self-sufficient, and churches are quoting what many believe to be a real Bible verse, “God never gives us more than we can handle.”

Kim says these are huge lies that are distorting the way many people think about themselves, their situation and what they can do about it.  

At its very root, trauma disconnects us physically and mentally, Kim said. She said it is very important for churches to take a step back and learn more about what trauma does to people and the best ways to address it.

4 Keys to compassion

  1. Pay attention to the children – Kids can be traumatized just like adults. Churches will have many volunteers work in youth programs and training on the topic of trauma would be extremely beneficial for everyone involved. Without training, a volunteer or even a staff member, may have expectations of a child that are not realistic to a child in trauma.
  2. Leaders need to be transparent – Pastors need to be vulnerable to a degree to make other people in the church feel safe. There is a compassion deficit in our culture and if the church will show compassion to its members, it starts with the leaders.
  3. Hope leads to healing – Without hope, people are in despair and see no signs of their lives improving. We are renewed by the transformation of our mind, Kim says and once we give people hope, the path to healing can begin. People in the church that have overcome trauma in their lives are living examples of hope.
  4. God is a God of compassion – As elementary as it sounds, the church needs to understand that God is a God of compassion, abounding in love. The body of the church should reflect that compassion and love to other members, no matter how good or bad things are.

Find ways to connect

Kim said she hopes more churches make an effort to connect more with people who are suffering and in trauma. It takes listening and patience, she said. Listening is one of the most important things of all. People suffering need people they can confide in, without having anyone trying to fix them or change them.

Once a person has hope, they have connection, which is the opposite of trauma, which is a disconnection. Kim hopes that more churches become places of true connection and compassion for those who are desperate for it.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you have about our resources. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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3 Ways To Respond For Loss

Kim's Story

When someone dies, the survivor can feel dead inside. A death can take away someone else’s identity and stop their lives right in their tracks.

For the Christian, this can bring questioning such as, “Where is God?” “Why does he seem so distant?”

A powerful and though-provoking podcast from LifeSupport features a woman who endured extreme pain and loss but was still able to thank and love God even more than before.

Kim knew her mother loved her since she was born, but she also knew that her mother dealt with deep depression. When Kim was 17 years-old, her mother took her own life.

Although it was very difficult for Kim to process her mother’s death to suicide, life kept going and she went to college, where she met her future husband. The two got married and had children.

Kim and her husband, Jim, hit a bump in the road when Jim was diagnosed with liver cancer. He was only given a five percent chance to live, but he received a liver transplant and he would recover. Six months later when things to seemed to be getting better in Kim’s life, the unthinkable happened.

Kim and Jim’s son, Eric took his own life just 45 minutes after a break-up with his girlfriend.

Her world was shattered. She didn’t know how to process it all. Feelings of guilt and shame came flooding into Kim’s mind. For Kim, it felt like she couldn’t breathe for the next two years.

With the help of counseling for her depression, and with the support of people in her church, Kim was able to believe that her son was in Heaven and with God. She knew that she would see him again someday.

Kim was dealt with another blow years later when her husband, Jim, passed away from liver cancer.

Simple Ways To Walk Alongside

In the LifeSupport podcast, Kim gave some important reminders for someone walking along someone who just experienced a loss:

  1. Be Present and Listen: In today’s culture, it seems like we are always trying to fix and resolve issues and quickly as possible. When it comes to a survivor of a loved one’s death, there is no quick fix. The best thing to do is to be present and emotionally available to that person. If they say anything to you, just listen, and don’t worry what to say. Sometimes, a person grieving just wants to get out whatever they have to say at the time.
  2. Remember the Person – In the LifeSupport podcast, Kim said one of her biggest fears was for people to forget about her son’s life. People fear that their loved ones will be forgotten. It is good for those in support to talk about the life of the person and that can comfort the survivor, knowing that their loved one is still on the minds of others.
  3. Look for God’s Plan – As difficult it is to watch someone grieve the loss of a loved one, it is always important to remember that God has a plan for everyone involved. Try to see what your part is in that plan.

Joy In Suffering

Kim’s story is difficult, but through it all she has peace knowing that her God is in control of everything that happens in this world. For her, there is an unexplainable joy that comes from the Holy Spirit. She knows that God has a perfect plan for her life.


We provide the resources of free of charge to help start discussions about mental health and to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.
If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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From Gang Leader To Kingdom Builder

No One is Hopeless

No one is hopeless.  There are some people that society labels as hopeless. Yet, no one is hopeless to God.

A guest on a recent podcast proved that. John Turnipseed talked to LifeSupport host Paul Johnson about his incredible story of redemption and transformation. Mr. Turnipseed is now using his horrible past to further the kingdom of God.

John Turnipseed

John’s family moved from Alabama to Minnesota when he was young because his father was seeking opportunities for work and to be closer to relatives.

Things went bad for John soon after the move. His father began drinking heavily and became very violent at home. John didn’t have a healthy father figure in his life, and he fell into the drug and gang life. By the time John was 16 years-old, he had his first child. By 18, he had been locked up four times.

As John got older, he spent more time in prison, gangs, drugs and even became a pimp. He had lost his conscience entirely. During his life, a man in his neighborhood, named Art would continue to try to befriend John, but John had no interest.

After a long stint in prison, John was released from prison and began to pursue his GED. John ended up going to technical school where he became a computer programmer and eventually taught a class. However, his old ways came back, and he tried stealing a bunch of computer parts from the school.

He got caught and this time it looked like he was going to be put away for a very long time. He was indicted on 50 felonies. Miraculously he was given no jail time. It turned out that Art, the same man who kept pursuing John was also a friend of the judge and convinced him to give John another second chance.

Art was there again to support John and this time John turned his life around. He asked God to take control of his life. The change was immediate and profound.

God Never Gives up on the Lost

John’s mentor, Art never gave up on him, even when John told him to leave him alone. Art knew that John was an influencer in his community.  If he could reach John, he could reach many others in need of God, and that’s exactly what happened. Turnipseed served as the Director of the Urban Ventures Center for Fathering in Minneapolis, and he has helped countless men find a new life outside of crime and violence. John’s story is the centerpiece for our Lifeblood curriculum designed to help men and women understand who they are in God’s eyes, and find a path to new life following incarceration.

Meet John and Hear More of his Story

We’ll be sharing the story of how John’s life transformation sparked the idea for Five Stone Media during our upcoming StoryRising event.  We’d love  to have you join us on February 24, 2022 for this evening of music with Sara Groves and Eagle Brook Music as we celebrate what God has done through our ministry.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.
If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

From Gang Leader To Kingdom Builder Read More »

Facing Anxiety In A Fear Based Society

I received a phone call the other day…

This is never a good way to start a conversation when you’re in the ministry. Growing up a pastor’s kid and being a pastor’s wife for so many years, phone calls immediately gave me anxiety. They continue to make my heart stop a beat, to this day. A respected friend tagged it “PTMSD” Post Traumatic Ministry Stress Disorder. Many of you who are reading this can relate to this type of anxiety. The unknown of what will happen next, the fear of who will stand by you, the question of how it will affect your family and your spouse’s job are all real possibilities.

The definition of anxiety is as follows: “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” However, when the definition invites its way into our own personal lives and stories, it doesn’t quite describe the crippling fear that so many of us face when the “unknowns” become our reality.

I am reminded of this anxiety every time I turn on the news or open my phone or computer–the panic of the unknown and the jolt of our greatest fears coming true. I did receive a phone call the other day from a young pastor and his wife. This young pastor was forced to cut his childcare workers and take a pay decrease due to the virus, COVID-19. Unless you are in the midst of ministry, most people wouldn’t think of the stress, the helplessness, and the fears that we face serving in a church. The church is still held to the same high standards that we always were. Now, we are expected to completely change the way we do church because everything has changed around us, and so much has changed in such a short time! Yet through this change, and in this crisis, there is forced surrender to things we can’t control.

Here’s the other side to it: In that surrender, we find ourselves in a place where there is an opportunity—an opportunity to give it to the Lord, an opportunity to minister without walls, an opportunity to grow spiritually, and an opportunity to serve in new and inventive ways. In our surrender, forced or chosen, we can remember that no season is wasted and we can proclaim the truths of Scripture. We now have the chance to live out what we spend our life teaching others. One of the best things I’ve learned in my lifetime of ministry is that surrender is not giving up. It is giving in to God’s plan. The same God we know in the good, will be the same in the bad. During this time, I’m constantly proclaiming these truths over my life, over the lives of pastors and their families, and over the lives of friends and family:

Psalm 94:19 – “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Hebrews 12:2-3 – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

I don’t know your individual stories. I may not even understand them, because I do not walk in your shoes. I do know that we have at least one thing in common: no matter how difficult our circumstance may be, we each serve the Lord Jesus, who …“is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

As a counselor, I work with anxiety on a daily basis. I work with pastor’s families, laypeople, Christians, and non-Christians. I often struggle with anxiety. Sometimes it can get so bad that you feel that nothing will make it lessen or go away. But as many can testify, it can go away and usually does. I encourage you to utilize some tools suggested below. Make your own list of things that may help you when you’re feeling like your anxiety is affecting you. Remember that our ministry, Care for Pastors, will pray for you as you are going through these changes and challenging times.

Tools to help with Anxiety:

  • Identify it as anxiety and say it out loud to the Lord
  • Write it down and/or journal about it
  • Prayer/Meditation: See example below
  • Deep Breathing: See example below
  • Walk outside
  • Call a friend
  • Exercise
  • Speak with a Counselor
  • Share or reach out to the women on The Confidante
  • Utilize Care for Pastors Resources

Exercises for you to download:

About The Author

Krissie Garland is the PK Ministry Director/Counselor for Care for Pastors, an organization with the mission to  uphold pastoral families in ministry by providing the safest place for them to turn, an ongoing relationship of encouragement and counsel, and resources that ignite growth in the pastor’s family, church and community.

Krissie was born and raised in Texas. She has two amazing boy/girl twins, Joah and Selah. Krissie is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For over 8 years, Krissie has counseled with people of all ages and from all different backgrounds. Her experience and training have prepared her to work with individuals and families struggling with depression, anxiety, parenting, grief, and everyday life stressors. Krissie has an extensive background working with local churches and ministries. She grew up a Pastor’s kid and served in the ministry alongside her husband for eight years.

Krissie shares more of her story on the LifeSupport Podcast.

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Facing Mental Illness As A Church Leader

Pastoring Through Mental Illness

Facing mental illness as a church leader is scary.  Pastors and church leaders are held to a high standard. But what about those who have a mental illness? Are they capable of doing the work of the Lord?

A LifeSupport Podcast welcomed a man with a captivating story as he shared his struggle with Bi-Polar Disorder while pastoring and the hopelessness he felt. His story shows that there is always hope in Christ and God can use anyone no matter the illness or disease.

Pastor Brad Hoefs

Brad was loving his growing church. He became a senior pastor at just 29 years old and his church was one of the fastest-growing churches in North America and word was spreading all over about it. He was determined and driven by his work, and it was his life.

This led to hypomania as Brad delved deeper and deeper into his work. An attempt to relocate his church brought on a dispute with the city and that led to more and more stress. This is when he started to experience some different kinds of behavior associated with mania. But he believed he could handle things and didn’t want to tell anyone about it.

Then out of nowhere, something went wrong. Terribly wrong.

Brad had a manic episode in public, he was ticketed for it, and it was all over the news. He was forced to resign from his position. A group of people came to him and told him that they believed this was mental illness and not sin. This same group ended up starting their own church and asked Brad to pastor it.

Brad took a lot of time off to get better and went back to pastoring. However, everyday was still a struggle. After seven years of pastoring at the church, he went back off the rails mentally when he mixed his medication. Another manic episode landed him in the hospital, and he was in the news again.

In an attempt to learn more about Bi-Polar Disorder, Brad attended some small groups. Unfortunately, though, each time he left these groups, he felt more hopeless as they did nothing to help, but talk about how bad and difficult the disorder was. Brad was desperate for something that was hopeful, and faith based.

Without any luck, Brad decided to start his own group and over the years that group grew into several groups all over the world.

Mental Illness is a ‘Brain Problem,’ Not a Sin Problem

In the LifeSupport Podcast, Brad explained the depths of mental illness in hopes that others would have a better understanding of what it is.

  1. Mental illness is a result of a broken world – Like any other disease or illness, mental illness is the result of a broken and sinful world. This does not mean the person with the disease is more sinful than a healthier person. Brad said this fact gave him solace and more hope in knowing that.
  2. Mental illnesses are ‘unseen’ – Unlike other illnesses that have physical ailments, mental illnesses are ‘unseen,’ meaning you can look at someone and have no idea. The symptoms from Bi-Polar disease are the behaviors or thoughts that come from having a ‘bad brain.’
  3. Compassion is required for mental illness – Brad said he believes the church needs to understand the functions of the brain to really understand mental illnesses and people suffering from them. He says the same level of compassion needs to be brought to these people, just like people with other kinds of illnesses.
  4. There is hope for people with mental illnesses – Brad mentioned that anyone with a mental illness can live well if they receive the proper treatment and receive the proper care.
  5. Love is needed – As simple as it sounds, loving someone with a mental illness can make the biggest difference in someone’s life. Many people with mental illnesses have trouble loving themselves and despite the challenges, someone coming into their life and loving them for who they are can bring the hope that person needs.

Fresh Hope is There for Those With Mental Illnesses

After starting his own mental health group, it took off. Now Brad is the founder of a ministry called Fresh Hope For Mental Health a safe place for people to process their pain and guide and support them along with their loved ones.

God is now using Brad in ways he never imagined. He is now able to help many people who have the same struggles he once did. Brad wrote a book called ‘Fresh Hope: Living Well in Spite of a Mental Health Diagnosis. He is also a State-certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist, and he was appointed by the Governor of Nebraska to serve on the State Advisory Committee on Mental Health Services.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

Please email any comments to [email protected]

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A Son Murdered – But God

Trauma is filled with unknowns…but God is always there

Trauma changes people forever.  God finds a way to help us grow through the challenges of life.  He creates opportunities for that growth happens when we walk through the process of healing. When a tragedy happens, only the pain and sadness seem real. Sometimes for years. But our limited perspective of events and life in general is completely opposite of the way God sees them.

This truth came to light during a LifeSupport Podcast in which a pastor shared the story of the death of his son by homicide. It was a complete shock, and the family had a long journey ahead of them, full of unknowns. However, God miraculously created blessings from this tragedy.

Paul Johnson, the host of the LifeSupport Podcast, welcomed his wife, Wendi, onto the show so they could both share their story of their son Taylor, who was the victim of a shooting.

Paul and Wendi Johnson

Paul and Wendi were proud of their son Taylor.

The 21-year-old was just two weeks away from graduating from a school of recording arts. Taylor was talented and gifted and his parents could not wait to see what life had in store for him.

Taylor lived with Paul and Wendi until he into a place with some roommates. They would see him occasionally, sometimes he would just stop by quickly to get his mail that was still being delivered to his parent’s house.

Just one month after Taylor moved out, Paul and Wendi received the worst news they could ever imagine.

Their son had been murdered. He had been shot and that is all they knew for eight months, which seemed like eternity. The process of telling their kids, family and friends was painstaking.

During the podcast, Paul said he and his family had no idea what journey was set before them, or what the ripple effects would be from the tragedy. He described his family as being in a sort of ‘fog’ for months after Taylor’s passing.

After eight grueling months, an arrest was finally made in the case of Taylor’s homicide. Paul had a chance to sit down with his son’s killer. The young man’s name was Jesse, and he was just 23 years old. He told Paul he was sorry for what had happened and the two would end up hugging at the end of the interview.

Paul, Wendi and their three children agreed that they should forgive the man who took Taylor away from them. Although it was not easy, that is what they did. Not only did they forgive him, but they made it public at a press conference regarding the case. The case became a media frenzy and radio stations spread the word that a family was forgiving the murderer of their child.

Finally, the trial for Jesse arrived and that event in itself was a whirlwind of emotions. Paul and Wendi met Jesse’s parents, heard victim-impact letters, and received another apology from Jesse. Wendi saw that Jesse was just a scared 23-year-old kid who needed love and was crying out for something in his life.

Jesse was sentenced to prison, but that would not be the last time they saw him. They would visit Jesse in prison and share the Gospel with him.

Trauma changes people forever

As Paul and Wendi shared their story, they each gave some things they learned about themselves and God during that time in their lives:

  1. Don’t expect the same person to return – When a person experiences a serious trauma in their lives, it can change them forever. Before the trauma occurred, they might have been very outgoing or have particular hobbies they enjoyed. After the trauma, they might not be as outgoing or care for the things as they did in the past. This is not uncommon when it comes to trauma, and we cannot expect them to be the people they were before.
  2. Trauma survivors want the world to slow down – When a major trauma happens, a person’s world comes to a crashing stop. Nothing else seems to matter. However, other people around them continue with their lives as nothing happens. This is important to keep in mind when walking along someone who experienced a serious trauma in their lives.
  3. Trauma has ripple effects – It is always easy to see the immediate effects of a major trauma in someone’s life, but there are also a number of long-lasting effects that aren’t as apparent that can show up later in life. It might be a trigger or a memory, or something that is said by someone. Paul said his children are still suffering to this day from Taylor’s death.
  4. Think before you speak – When someone’s in trauma, it is very important to think before you speak to them because even if your intentions are good, what you say could hurt them even more.
  5. God is faithful – God is always faithful to those who are suffering or in trauma. As in Paul and Wendi’s case, He uses bad things that happen and can turn them around for good.

God is in every situation, no matter how good or bad it is

New opportunities arose for Paul after Jesse was sentenced to prison. He was given the chance to speak to different prisons about the Gospel and Wendi was given the chance to speak to different women’s groups. All of this happened because of the interaction they had with Jesse while he served his sentence.

Pastor Paul also now has a bigger heart for people that are walking through a similar journey.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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Helping Satan Fail

Helping Satan Fail In A Season Of Addiction

This time of year many of us celebrate the birth and life of Christ, seeing his time on earth as a gift to us from a loving father.  There are others in our world who experience this season as one of dark loneliness.  Those who are stuck in the clutches of addiction can’t imagine being in the embrace of God. Believers can see Christ’s life and death as our way forward in a lost world.  As believers, we have a wonderful opportunity to hold out the hope of that redemption to the addicted who believe that they are beyond hope.  Every one of us knows someone who is struggling with addiction, or who has a family member who is addicted. This is a season when believers can put God’s plan into motion for those who need a spark of hope to move forward.

Jim Moore was our guest on a recent LifeSupport podcast and told the amazing story of how his life was redeemed after falling into a deep well of darkness, full of addiction and depression.

Jim Moore

Jim felt like a big shot. He had a great career in management and was a national spokesman. He was taking care of his family and things seemed to be going very well. But out of nowhere, a dark depression came over him and his job and people in his life started to slip away.

Jim’s teenage son fell into the world of drugs and went missing. Jim thought his son was dead and he became full of guilt and to cope, Jim started to self-medicate. He lost his motivation and engagement with people at work became more distant. Eventually, he lost his job. His wife didn’t know what to do as their finances got tighter and tighter.

To make matters even worse during this time, Jim was diagnosed with cancer. He was given only a 40 percent chance to live and the self-medicating with drugs and alcohol became a full-fledged addiction.

At 55 years-old, Jim felt like he had nothing to live for. He wanted to die. He entered Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge with the intention of being there for only 60 days. However, God had other plans and Jim ended up staying there much longer. During his time in Teen Challenge, Jim really met Christ for the first time.  His experience with redemption would lead Jim into the best years of his life.

When Jim graduated from Teen Challenge, he decided to stay as an intern. He would end up working there for the next 10 years.

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Effective ways to help those with addictions

Jim is a testimony of how real love from Christ-like people can help someone change their lives dramatically. During the LifeSupport podcast, Jim shared some insightful ideas of how a church or believers can support someone in addiction:

  1. Stop the stigma – It is easy to label people in our culture nowadays. For churches to reach people struggling with addictions, they need to get rid of the judgement and stigma. Those who are struggling need to be viewed as the son and daughters of God. Stigma creates fear and leads to isolation for those who are in need of a community of help and support.
  2. Get a deeper understanding – Relationships need to be established with anyone that needs help from addiction. Once the person struggling realizes that someone wants to know them in spite of their addiction, then trust and a real relationship can form. Jim says that an addiction is like sinking in quicksand, the only thing that can get you out is a rope. Jesus is the rope that believer can throw.
  3. Don’t expect perfection but hold them accountable – When someone has a chronic addiction, the church should not expect them to never relapse.  Everyone needs one more chance, no matter how many they have had before. However, if someone is truly trying to change, it is important to hold them accountable.
  4. The church should be redemptive and restoring – Instead of keeping an arm’s distance from people who have addictions, criminal history, or mental health issues, the church should welcome these people with open arms.

Let’s make some more of ‘Satan’s Failures’

Jim refers to himself and others from Teen Challenge as ‘Satan’s Failures.’ His story is a story of redemption and transformation. After retiring from Teen Challenge, Jim spends his time volunteering in prison ministry to help others find the hope that was held out to him.

No matter how lost one might seem, no one is beyond the reach of God.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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Does Trauma Have A Purpose

Does trauma have a purpose, or is it just something that God allows to happen?

 Does trauma have a purpose?  Like anything else the answer to this question rests in our view of God. 

Any kind of trauma can change the trajectory of our lives. At one moment, life may be going just the way we hoped and planned, and in another moment, everything changes, and we are going a completely different direction, a journey into the unknown.

A recent LifeSupport podcast discussed the topic of trauma and how it all fits in God’s plan for our lives. Is trauma something that God just let’s happen? Or is there a bigger picture that He sees as it relates to trauma?

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Garth Warren

Garth had big plans for his life.

He married his wife, Christy, and soon after he had the opportunity to become a graduate assistant football coach at the University of Tennessee. This was a dream-come-true for any football coach. Tennessee was one of the biggest and most successful college football programs at the time.

Garth played football at a small college and even had some coaching experience before the chance arose.

Once he was in Tennessee, Garth was introduced to the other coaches. During lunch, it was typical for all the guys to play some pick-up games of basketball. One day, Garth was playing and the person guarding him took his legs out from underneath him and Garth landed on his head and was knocked unconscious.

At the time of the accident, Garth was not sure how serious it actually was, but it would change his life forever.

Doctors told him that he had a brain injury and Garth and his wife were forced to start re-thinking their future. It became clear that Garth could not continue in the coaching profession and he ultimately left to pursue a different career.

He became an insurance salesman, but his injury still affected his ability to perform. It took years of tests and hospital visits before he started to realize that this injury was going to affect him for the rest of his life. That realization hit home hard and for the first time in his life.

Garth was raised in a Christian home and he grew up in the church. He asked Jesus to come into his life when he was very young.

Now, he was crying out to God all of his questions, frustrations and thoughts.

During the LifeSupport podcast, Garth explained what he learned about intercessory prayer, the necessity of crying out to God and how trauma can strengthen one’s relationship with Christ and others.

What are effective ways to support someone experiencing trauma?

In the Podcast, Garth shared some of his personal experiences in what helped him while grappling with his physical ailment:

  1. The Ministry of Presence is powerful – Garth says that it is common for many believers to come to someone in trauma with a word. Although they might have good intentions, this can do more damage than good. Just being present with someone is always a powerful, yet quiet, way of showing your support and love for someone.
  2. Interceding in prayer – Garth described his experience as ‘brain fog.’ He didn’t even know what to pray for or how to pray in his circumstance. He asked others to intercede for him in prayer. These prayer warriors came through and Garth can now attest that these prayers helped him and still help him today.
  3. Do not expect a survivor to ever be the same – Trauma changes people. These changes can be small to life changing. Garth says his injury changed him, not only physically, but allowed him to see people and the world around him differently. Trauma always seems bad initially, but Garth believes God can turn anything into good in a powerful way.

God has a plan and is always faithful

Garth shared that his trauma eventually broke him in many ways. Though there were times of doubt and questioning, he knows God has always been faithful to him through it all and used the bad for good in his life.

God has given Garth a gift to see brokenness in others.


We created to help you start discussions about mental health, to help remove stigma so people can find hope and healing through God. All LifeSupport Resources are provided free of charge for use in ministry.  To get started, simply complete this User Agreement.  We pray that LifeSupport helps you grow your church.

If there are other reasons you don’t share your struggles, we’d love to hear them and will treat your communication as confidential. Please email any comments to [email protected]

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Suffering Well

Suffering well in ministry isn’t easy. This guest post from Krissie Garland, Ministry Director and Counsellor with Care For Pastors shares life and scriptural wisdom from the wife of a pastor who died by suicide. 

Krissie shares some of their story, as well as the questions she faced and faces in the aftermath of her husband’s death.

Krissie will be joining us in the near future as a guest on the LifeSupport Podcast to share more of her story.  Read more about and link to Care For Pastors and A Right Heart below.

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Are FREE For Ministry Use

Visit the blogsite for A Right Heart for the article

Care For Pastors

Care For Pastors has a vision to see every pastoral family persevering in ministry, developing a healthy church, and leading in community transformation.  CFP’s bold mission is to uphold pastoral families in ministry by providing the safest place for them to turn, an ongoing relationship of encouragement and counsel, and resources that ignite growth in the pastor’s family, church and community.  For more than a decade Care For Pastors has come alongside thousands of pastors, spouses and pastors’ kids to provide in person and virtual counselling and coaching as well as on-site week-long counseling for pastors and spouses.

A Right Heart

A Right Heart is a ministry that serves the broken hearted and lifts up the name of God so that people know Him, who is true Hope and Healer of all people. ARH equips and empower people wherever they are on their faith journey, providing tools and resources they can use every single day. Through biblical meditation, devotional blogs, personal testimonies, Bible reading plans, classes, and grief support, the hope of ARH is that you will know God and have a greater revelation of who He is and who He’s always been.

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