As we acknowledge Mental Health Month in May, we extend our appreciation to local churches who are creating dialogue and safe spaces for mental health healing to happen. We asked Doug Taylor, Campus Pastor at Crossroads Church to share how their church is caring for the mental health needs of individuals and families in their community.
In my role as campus pastor, I lead people to the truth that transforms lives in North Central Ohio and around the world. Seeing firsthand the number of people that reach out to the church in times of devastation, disease and divorce, I knew that we needed to come up with a better way to care for people. After talking with a few counselors and through much prayer, the Lord placed a vison in my heart to form a mental health team, champions that want to see the community educated, equipped, and encouraged with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a focus on mental health. The Church is the first place many people turn to for mental health problems, more than counselors, psychologists, primary care physicians, social workers and case managers combined. We needed a plan and people available to serve.
Our mental health team is focused on four main things:
Education and Awareness: We make sure counseling resources are available at all of our church campuses, and accurate information is shared to church family and staff. Lead Pastor Dr. Dave Vance preached a sermon series last year on the topic. It was a five-part series called Empty; you can watch them online here.
Groups: We also want to support and empower people through our small group ministry. We have launched many restorative groups for anxiety, grief, divorce care, abortion recovery, healing choices, and a mental health support group.
Training is offered through a partnership with the Richland County Mental Health and Recovery Board to give mental illness psychoeducation and suicide prevention training to volunteers, the congregation, and the community.
Counseling: We now have certified counselors that can meet with clients on our campuses.
We know that mental illness is not discriminatory. It doesn’t matter your gender, ethnicity, age, race, socioeconomic background, education level or religious background. It may be at different varying degrees, but all populations experience them, including Christians. Even worse, because of the shame and guilt that can accompany mental illness, substance misuse, child abuse and domestic violence, the recovery rate is lower for Christians. It is often viewed as something that needs to be hidden. As Christians, we believe that sin created a fallen world where mental illness can exist, but mental illness itself is not necessarily a sin. Our mental health team seeks to help people find the Truth through prayer, counseling and healing support from others.
Encompass is blessed to partner with Crossroads Church. An Encompass counselor serves at Crossraods multiple days each week to provide therapeutic services to children, adults and families. We are grateful for their leadership and compassion in the area of mental health and social services. Churches like Crossroads are agents of hope – providing critical services to people in need and changing the way people look at mental illness and other social-emotional challenges. View our office locations to see all of our church counseling partners.