Hope for the Depressed Pastor

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You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)

Yesterday evening my heart was grieved to read the news of the death of Jarrid Wilson; a high profile, 30-year-old pastor from California, who took his own life Monday evening after a long battle with depression.  News like this is as tragic as it comes.  The darkness of depression is very real, and Christians are in no way immune from experiencing it.  Neither are pastors, as Wilson’s death demonstrates.

I didn’t know Jarrid Wilson or know much about his ministry, but I have experienced something of the darkness of depression and deep discouragement in pastoral ministry, and I know that depressed and discouraged pastors are far more common than many understand.  One of main reasons that depression, despondency, and discouragement become very real possibilities for those in pastoral ministry is that ministry is filled (as all of life is) with innumerable sorrows that no one in this life will ever see or acknowledge, but God.… Continue reading

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Food, Fat, Faith, and the Gospel: Reflections of an Overweight Christian

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I have long “struggled with my weight,” as they say.  For as long as I can remember, adjectives like fat or overweight or husky or big boned have accompanied the way I have thought about myself.  Even in my more athletic days when I played sports year-round and could jog a couple of miles without feeling any pain in my knees and shins and lower back, I was still a big guy; chubby even.  A chubby, more-or-less athletic guy, who loved to eat, and was highly self-conscious about the results that eating had on his physical body.

Additionally, for as long as I’ve thought of myself as an overweight person, I have also thought of myself as a Christian.… Continue reading

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How to Avoid Disappointing Beliefs

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Disciple-making can be a tough, slow, and arduous process. God tells us, “He who began a good work in you, He will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). Verses like this remind us people grow on God’s time table. Although our friend has faith in Christ, sometimes the unbelief, wrong thinking, or sinful actions take a while to change. The longer we walk with Christ, the more our responsibilities to be involved in disciple making. As we age in our walk, we recognize the call to be a Titus 2 disciple maker where older men train up younger men to walk sensibly and women share similar responsibilities towards younger women.… Continue reading

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Bonhoeffer on the Ministry of Listening

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“How, then, is true brotherly service performed in the Christian community?”  German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer asks this very practical question near the outset of the fourth chapter in his relevant and helpful book Life Together.  In an attempt to flesh out the ways Christians are to serve one another in the church, Bonoeffer begins with a ministry that many of us are prone to overlook – the ministry of listening.

He writes,

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them.  Just as love to God begins with listening to his Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. 

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Your Pastor, Melancholy And The Black Dog

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Recently news broke that Andrew Stoecklein, pastor of Inland Hills Church in Chino California took his own life. It is heartbreaking news, and shocking, but I have to say not overwhelmingly surprising. I’ve heard and read some express sentiments along the lines of “how could a pastor do that?” Sadly, some have gone on to posit that no “truly called” man could possibly be depressed much less suicidal. While I don’t know anything about this man or the church he served, over the last several years, both through my own experiences and through relationships with other pastors, I have learned a thing or two about pastoral ministry. Continue reading

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