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Discovering God's Purposes in Mental Illness

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Slides accompanying sermons presented at Fredericktown UMC in Fredericton, OH, October 21, 2018. Link to full text here: https://www.keyministry.org/church4everychild/2018/10/20/discovering-gods-purposes-in-mental-illness

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Discovering God's Purposes in Mental Illness

  1. 1. Discovering God’s Purposes in Mental Illness Stephen Grcevich, MD President and Founder, Key Ministry Fredericktown United Methodist Church Fredericktown, OH October 21, 2018
  2. 2. Coming alongside churches interested in disability ministry
  3. 3. A strategy for including families affected by mental illness
  4. 4. John 9:1-3 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him ”Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (ESV)
  5. 5. A perception churches need to overcome among outsiders
  6. 6. Kids with mental health conditions are less likely to experience church! • Children with autism spectrum disorders are 1.84 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with depression are 1.73 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder are 1.48 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with anxiety are 1.45 times more likely to never attend church. • Children with ADD/ADHD are 1.19 times more likely to never attend church. Whitehead AL. J Scientific Study Religion 2018;57(2)377-395.
  7. 7. “People in the church believe they can tell when a disability ends and bad parenting begins.”
  8. 8. Why is church involvement difficult for families affected by mental illness? • Attributes of common mental conditions produce challenges in common ministry environments. • Church culture – our expectations for how people should act when we gather together
  9. 9. Seven barriers to including families impacted by mental illness at church • Stigma • Anxiety • Capacity for self- discipline • Sensory processing • Social communication • Social isolation • Past experiences of church
  10. 10. God’s purposes in mental illness? •God uses the discomfort and distress associated with our experience of mental illness to draw us into a closer relationship with him.
  11. 11. God’s purposes in mental illness? •God may use the experience of mental illness to cultivate within us a greater awareness of his sovereignty and an ability to manifest contentment in the midst of our distress that presents an unmistakable witness to his power and character.
  12. 12. Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (ESV)
  13. 13. God’s purposes in mental illness? •God may use people with firsthand experience of mental illness to comfort and minister to others who are affected.
  14. 14. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (ESV)
  15. 15. God’s purposes in mental illness? God might be using mental health concerns as an instrument for bringing about the salvation of those affected.
  16. 16. Talking about mental illness
  17. 17. How Freddie UMC might bless families affected by mental illness • Casseroles • Respite • Referral services • Short-term financial support for treatment needs • Supporting parents at school meetings • Education and support groups • Inclusion at church
  18. 18. Who are YOU going to invite to church?
  19. 19. Connect with Key Ministry • www.keyministry.org • Twitter: @KeyMinistry • www.facebook.com/keyministry • www.keyministry.org/contact/

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