Elder Team Training May 2021

Mental & Emotional Health

How do we care for those in our midst who are dealing with mental and emotional health issues? There are many different types of mental and emotional health challenges that people experience that we should be aware of.

  • Death of a parent, child, spouse, loved one
  • Marital Infidelity, betrayal by a spouse
  • Physical or sexual abuse by a family member
  • Suicide of a loved one
  • Dealing with a loved one who is an addict
  • Drug and alcohol addictions
  • Personal trauma and disorders: PTSD, ADHD, OCD, SCHIZOPHRENIA
  • Chronic depression and anxiety (Anxiety disorders affect 18% of adult population 36% get medical treatment.  —ADAA Anxiety & Depression Association of America)

GOAL: Raise awareness and clarify our approach to those dealing with mental/emotional health issues like the ones I just described.

THE BIG QUESTION:  How do we as leaders care for those in our midst that may be dealing with chronic emotional and mental health issues?

Before we answer that question let’s first ask…

How do we define an emotionally healthy adult?

  1. Relates well with authority.
  2. Possesses a strong sense of self-esteem and self-respect.
  3. Relates well to their peers, can maintain healthy friendships.
  4. Takes personal responsibility for themselves.

Where does emotional and mental health begin? It begins with a positive experience in the home through childhood and adolescence. Everyone needs a family that provides these following key experiences.

  1. Experience a balance of GRACE & TRUTH in the home. In other words, receiving good parenting which provides children a balance of nurture and correction.  
  2. Learn to balance healthy relationships in the home (ie. sharing, giving, respecting)
  3. Abide by clear boundaries and expectations set in the home.
  4. Know how to grant forgiveness to others, handle failures and disappointments.

A child’s healthy home life is the foundation to an emotionally and mentally healthy young adult.  In our culture the breakdown of marriage and family is resulting in many who are facing emotional and mental health challenges.  

THE BIG QUESTION:  How do we as leaders care for those in our midst that may be dealing with chronic emotional and mental health issues?

  • Biblical Encouragement, give them a balance of grace and truth.  Grace:  acceptance, affirmation, security, safety.  Truth: identity, purpose, clear boundaries and expectations.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.—John 1:17 MEV
  • Encourage Connection: healthy relationships where we learn submission and authority, giving and sharing, love and forgiveness, serving others.  Jesus #1 prayer was about connection: “that they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You. May they also be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me. [22] I have given them the glory which You gave Me, that they may be one even as We are one: [23] I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfect in unity, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”—John 17:21-23
  • Encourage Personal responsibility: boundaries in relationships, biblical world view, absolutes.  Freedom is a personal responsibility.  

“For freedom Christ freed us. Stand fast therefore and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”—Galatians 5:1 MEV

We are to help restore others NOT to enable others.  “For every person will have to bear [with patience] his own burden [of faults and shortcomings for which he alone is responsible].”—Galatians 6:5 AMP

We are responsible for our OWN choices.  “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. [8] For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”—Galatians 6:7-8 MEV

  • Encourage them to resolve offenses–granting forgiveness, disappointments, and failures.  The path to freedom for anyone who is stuck and now are suffering mentally or emotionally need to take these steps…

Face REALITY—God is not the problem, people are not the problem, the problem begins with me and my perspective.

Take RESPONSIBILITY—My attitudes and beliefs determine my actions, my actions determine my outcomes and consequences.                                                         

RECONCILE the past—past relationships, decisions, events that have robs you of freedom and keep you in bondage.

  • REFER. When people are unable to cope with their situation they may need professional counseling and/or therapy.  Refer them to a professional for medical help.  We are not counselors or therapists, we provide biblical encouragement, we help people take a next step in the journey toward spiritual maturity.

Dr. Cloud gives the typical faulty church approaches, quick fixes you could say, to helping those with mental and emotional health.

  • Approach 1: Label Emotional problems as a sin problem (like Job’s friends)
  • Approach 2: Label it as Deliverance of a demon
  • Approach 3: just memorize and confess scripture and you’ll be free
  • Approach 4: attend a Weekend Encounter Event, you need a ‘come to Jesus’ moment
  • Approach 5: go to a support group

Support groups, encounter events, memorizing and confessing scripture, deliverance from demonic oppression all have a place. But there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. Emotional and mental healing is a process and will involve a person getting on the path to spiritual and emotional maturity. Some good questions for us to consider…  

  1. Why is it important that our encouragement is balanced with grace and truth?
  2. Why is connection so important for people to get whole?
  3. Why should we emphasize personal responsibility and resolution?
  4. How do we encourage people to get professional help?