Mental Health in the Church Setting

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

– 2 Thessalonians 1:4

I've been able to visit many churches in the past few years. London, Kiev, Dublin, Mexico City, Yangon, Trinidad & Tobago, Manila and all over the United States. It is an honor to speak to many of you and to hear your stories of challenge, faith, and perseverance.

These conversations remind me of the power of the Lord's church for those of us with mental health challenges and the tremendous opportunities there are for us in recovery.

Why the Lord's church is an amazing place to find help for mental health challenges


Many of us struggle with all manner of mental health challenges–from anxiety and depression, to ADHD, OCD, and drug, alcohol, or porn addiction. These are serious and difficult issues that may need a professional's look at them. So if your life is seriously interrupted by mental health disease, please seek professional help.

So how does the church help during these times? Here are a few ideas:


1) Church is a community of like-minded people who have a wealth of life experiences, faith stories, and knowledge that can help with our life challenges. While not perfect, the church is a group of compassionate people who care, and can often help you during difficult times. Ask about groups that may be in your church to help.


2) You hear the Word of God preached. The Scriptures contain an abundance of remedies for challenges. Mental health disease is not a 21st century phenomenon that has caught God by surprise. He's got this. He made us, knows us, and can help us overcome. Check out Psalm 119:96:


To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless.


I teach counseling theory at a local university and love to discover how counseling theory helps us–but every theory has limits. None of them are complete. Not so with God's commands–they are without limit!


Have you ever noticed that you can read the same story, verse, or command in the Bible and every time you read it, it brings something new and helpful into your life? The Bible is without limit. There is nothing God can't teach us. We can spend a lifetime and never completely know God in his abundant Word...the Scriptures are boundless!


3) We have great purpose in the church. Church is not all about us, but about how we can be an answer to others. Having purpose, meaning in life, and hope for the future are all elements of our existence in the church. And these elements can be powerful "healers" for us.


We can mitigate the harmful effects of mental health challenges by fully participating in the Lord's church. It's always amazing to me how me being busy at church just makes me feel better, lessens the impact of my anxiety, and gives me gratitude for the many ways God is at work.


So keep attending your private counseling sessions, keep taking your medication, and keep reading all you can about your mental health challenge...and continue to marvel at the Lord's church and how it helps us in our lives!


May God bless each of you as you walk with Him in 2020!


The church setting is the PERFECT place to help those with all kinds of mental health needs or issues with sin. Learn how to set up a Disciples In Motion visit with Tim. The weekend includes many different opportunities for mental health trainings in the church setting. CLICK HERE for more information.
Dr. Timothy Sumerlin

Disciples In Motion