Is There a Place at the Table for Leaders with Mental Illness? I Think So.

Depression is an illness. Like diabetes.

Pastor Bill Lenz, founder and pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church, took his own life Monday afternoon. Here is what Christ the Rock CC said in a public announcement:

Bill had been suffering from depression for the last three months. He was seeing a counselor and doctor, and reaching out to friends for help in walking through this, but depression eventually claimed his life on earth.

We served together on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals, and he’s been an effective ministry leader with a passion for serving others.

And he struggled with depression.

I have written a lot about mental illness, depression, and suicide over the years, including just a few weeks back. These topics are challenging to write due to the deep impact they have on so many today. Nonetheless, like every other topic, we press into it because we must.

We recently released some new data on suicide and the church at the American Association of Christian Counselors, in partnership with LifeWay Research. With that data, I will be connecting with the AACC to do a series of conference where I will be sharing the research and how churches might respond.

Real Life People

Today, I want to introduce you to a friend who has been a pastor. He struggles with bipolar issues. He takes medication. And he works to manage both his manic experiences where he becomes super-charged with ideas, energy, and vision and his struggle with the dark side of the bipolar syndrome—suicidal thoughts and loss of self-identity.

My friend was the pastor of a multi-staffed church with educated leadership and members. Unfortunately, they never sat down with him and had a frank conversation about the ways that they could work together to accommodate for the challenges ...

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