Why The Church Should Care About Mental Illness | Pastor Rick Warren, D.Min.

Why The Church Should Care About Mental Illness | Pastor Rick Warren, D.Min.


People often ask me, “Why do you think the
church should be in the forefront of caring for mental illness?” I think there are multiple
reasons. For 1 reason, there’s a Biblical reason. The Bible says that Jesus ministered
to people who were mentally ill. There are many examples in scripture of Jesus dealing
with people who were depressed, who were worried, who were anxious, who were fearful, who were
oppressed by all kinds of evil thoughts. Jesus Himself cared for the mentally ill.
The Bible tells us that Jesus went into every village preaching, teaching and healing. One
third of his ministry was healthcare, healing. Jesus is not just our Savior, He is our teacher
and He is our healer. Another reason why we need to care about mental illness in the church
is simply a historical reason and that is the church has always done this. People think
that maybe this might be a new thing but no, no.
The church has been caring for sick people for 2000 years. The church has been in healthcare
longer than any government. In fact, the church invented the hospital. Most people don’t
know that. It was invented by Christians. The Bible tells us that back in the early
years of the fall of the Roman empire, when the black plague began to come into the cities
and people began to flee the cities because of this plague that they didn’t know how
to deal with, Christians moved into the cities to care for those who were sick.
That’s where they made the famous statement that was recorded in history, ‘see how they
love each other.’ The best way to show our love is to care for the least, the lost, the
last, those who are afflicted, those who are affected with physical illness, mental illness
and spiritual illness. There’s a 3rd reason why churches must be involved in mental health
and that is a practical reason. Here’s the reason; people naturally call the church before
they call anything else. When people are having someone in their home
who is mentally ill or struggling with some kind of mental illness, it causes enormous
conflict. They don’t call the lawyer first, they don’t call the police first, they don’t
call the judge first, they don’t even call the doctor first. They usually call their
local church. The first people that deal with it are receptionists in a local church. Many
times receptionists are called to do triage. We must equip people in local churches on
how to deal with one of the most important issues of our day. In America, there are now
60 million people struggling with mental illness. That means everybody knows somebody who is
struggling with this issue and everybody knows a family that’s struggling with it. The
church must care because Jesus cares because it’s historically a role of the church and
because in a practical sense, we’re the first line of defense and caring for people
in their pain. You might ask, “If I’m a member of a church
or I’m a staff member of a church, or I’m a pastor or a priest in a church, why should
our church care about mental illness?” Well, again I remind you, there’s the historical
reason; the church has always cared for it. There’s the Biblical reason; Jesus cared
about it and there’s the practical reason; people come to the church first before they
go anywhere else.


9 thoughts on “Why The Church Should Care About Mental Illness | Pastor Rick Warren, D.Min.

  1. i have been on 17 mental hospitals a church told me to dump my medication down the toilet nine years ago i was working then and have been disabled ever since

  2. Thank you to all who are involved with this ministry! I struggle with depression, complicated grief, and C-PTSD, and have been blessed to get counseling though Catholic Charities. In my experience, mental illness/ injury is a spiritual battle in addition to the mental, physical, and emotional components. This is NOT to say that all those with mental illness or injury are afflicted by demons.
    When we are sick or wounded, we are more vulnerable to dark forces – Just as open wounds are prone to infection. In depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and most mental illnesses, there are elements of fear, shame, guilt, hopelessness, confusion, anger. These dark thought are tools of the devil, aka the great deceiver, the accuser. How can we focus on the good, true and beautiful when our minds and lives fall into chaos and darkness?
    Fighting these demons can leave us curled on the bathroom floor begging God to help. God wants us to seek Him, to call to Him in our weakness. He also advises us to pray with faith and authority. Even if dark spiritual forces are not involved, the act of renouncing and binding these spirits through prayer (out loud, in Jesus name) is therapeutic and empowering. In doing this we remind ourselves that we are not alone “for I am with you always.” Pray “Come Holy Spirit, Come.” The Holy Spirit will pray for you when you are too tired or your thoughts and emotions are too jumbled to pray. I hope in future events you will have speakers on spiritual warfare.

  3. My Son has been diagnosed with Bipolar Psychosis in 2012. He had some issue but I didnt really understand it until 2012. He is 34. This came on him in 2003, as of a family situation that hurt him. There has been times when he is not Manic but it is just the enemy, who comes back in a year or so and attacks him again. I'm crying out at God's feet for him to be completely delivered and made whole. He has three children who needs him in his right mind. Please pray for him. Its so hard going through this for the whole family. I have faith. I know God can do it. Jesus was wounded for all sickness. Please pray for him. I am believing God for a wholeness, deliverence, and to set him completely free…Amen.

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