So here's where we are:
The responses of people in the church to individuals' mental illness caused 18% to break ties with a church. That's almost 1 in every 5.
And only 53% of people with acute mental illness say their church has been supportive.
In fact, at a time when 1 out of every 5 adults in America is struggling with a mental health issue any given year, about half of pastors rarely or never speak to their church in large group messages about mental illness.
I don't believe all those facts are unrelated.
Even sadder, almost 1/4 of pastors admit to being reluctant to be involved with someone with a mental illness due to the time & energy required.
This is a huge blind spot in the church.
This is a gap between people needing help and people not knowing how to give it.
This is a failure, but more importantly it's an opportunity for us to love better. It's a chance for us to sacrifice our comfort and dive into issues we've never talked about before, and in doing so more reflect the love of Christ.
It's a chance for us to stand up and tell people that they're not alone. That the story of pain and hurt and struggle isn't just their story. It's my story. It's your story. It's our story, all together, and it has a chapter for redemption.
This can be the story of the church learning and growing and loving. This can be people made whole and healthy through community and counseling and actual understanding, not just ignoring.
This can be you and me and us, together, walking forward. Through hard, through easy. Through celebration & collapse. Through heavy & light. Together.
Let's lose the blind spot.
Let's close the gap.
Let's walk together and carry one another's burdens.
In short: let's be the church.
[Statistics from LifeWay Research]