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Leadership transparency and mental health
Leadership transparency doesn’t just grow your church, it shreds stigma. Let’s face it, as Christians it can be very difficult to share our struggles with those in church. Leaders, like all of us carry some fear of judgement or shame. However, church leaders carry the burden to walk the walk, which means swallowing hard to set an example for others no matter how much we want to hide.
Those battling mental illness can relate to the fact that there is stigma attached to what they’re facing. Unfortunately, mental health has been an issue that many churches feel inadequate to address, so it either is handled the wrong way or not addressed at all. This makes sharing mental health struggles even more difficult.
In our experience, churches where leaders are transparent and willing to talk about their own struggles set an example that multiplies hope. When a leader is vulnerable people see (sometimes for the first time) that it’s okay to share and ask for help. In a transparent church people start to heal. Along the way these churches also attract people.
For one pastor who shared his struggles, it ultimately helped others find freedom.
Pastors get hit with life like anyone
Pastor Ben Courson is the founder of Hope Generation and in an article recently published by the Christian Post, he shared his battles with depression and suicidal thoughts. He experienced different kinds of trauma ranging from the death of his sister, the suicide of a friend and the end of a long-time relationship.
He was eventually diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“My counselor said, ‘You have one of the most difficult cases of depression I’ve ever had to treat,’’ Courson recalled in the interview.
He shared staggering numbers from the CDC that found that 30 percent of millennials said they had thought about suicide in the last 30 days.
“So, it’s not just me,” Courson said. “Our whole generation is going through this clinical depression, and nearly half of people report being harmed in their mental health since the coronavirus hit.”
Pastors are not perfect. Yes, we look to them for guidance and understanding, but everyone is struggling with something.
A major misconception
Mental illness is unique among other illnesses because it has stigma attached to it that makes many believe that there is something wrong with them spiritually.
Courson said a common misconception surrounding people who struggle with mental illness is that they are ‘weak.’
In the interview with the Christian Post, he cited Hebrews 2:10 which speaks of Christ being made ‘perfect’ through suffering.
Leadership transparency attracts people who need hope
To deal with the stigma surrounding mental illnesses in the church, the best way is to simply acknowledge it and share experiences.
“The very things that seem to create mental illness in us, or feeling ostracized or separation anxiety…out of that fire and tribulation, He (God) comes to create a fire that can actually be an asset,” he said.
A pastor who shares his or her mental health struggles, helps position their church to grow because people will recognize the church as a safe place to find God and God’s helpers.
See the article mentioned in its entirety at https://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-shares-how-god-used-his-suicidal-ideation-to-help-others.html