Far too many families from my work work find themselves unable to enter my church world. That’s tragic!
Why Your Church Needs a Mental Health Inclusion Ministry
Why Your Church
Needs a Mental Health
Stephen Grcevich, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
President and Founder, Key Ministry
Presented at Wonderfully Made Conference
Grace Church, Overland Park, Kansas
October 25, 2018
Who’s missing from your 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 learning disabilities are 1.36 times
more likely to never attend church.
• Kids with ADD/ADHD are 1.19 times more likely to
never attend church.
Whitehead AL. J Scientific Study Religion 2018;57(2)377-395.
One parent’s lament…
“People in the
church believe they
can tell when a
disability ends and
Why is church involvement so difficult?
• Attributes of common
• Church culture – our
expectations for how
people should act
when we gather
Seven barriers to including
families impacted by mental illness
• Sensory processing
• Necessary social
• Social isolation
• Past experiences of
The foundation of Key Ministry’s mental health inclusion
• Recognize non-essential attributes
of our ministry environments,
practices that make church
attendance more difficult.
• Implementation of a set of
strategies across your ministry
environments to welcome
individuals and families into
activities most critical for spiritual
Seven strategies for promoting mental health
• Assemble your inclusion team
• Create welcoming ministry environments.
• Focus on ministry activities most essential to spiritual growth
• Communicate effectively
• Help families with their most heartfelt needs
• Offer education and support
• Empower your people to assume responsibility for ministry
Key considerations for an effective mental
health inclusion strategy…
• Mental health inclusion is a mindset – not a program
• A good strategy benefits everyone and doesn’t
require anyone to self-identify
• No church will be able to include everyone with
mental illness, but every church can welcome,
serve and include more people with mental illness
Help from Key Ministry
• Video training
• Book study
• Available to church teams
• Networking with other ministries
• Social media, sermon videos, research to support your