The Role of Mental Health in the Church

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The Role of Mental Health in the Church
The Role of the Church in
Mental Health
Bradford M. Smith, Ph.D.
Lausanne Senior Associate for Care and
Counsel as Mission
Director, Institute for International Care
and Counsel, Belhaven University
[email protected]
Imagine a church anywhere in
the world and the community
beyond its walls…
When Jesus saw the crowds, he…
• Proclaimed the good news
• Healed every disease and sickness
• Had compassion on the harassed and
• “The harvest is plentiful, the workers few.
Ask the Lord of the harvest, to send out
workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9: 35-38
• “The claim that Jesus is the truth
must be demonstrated in the
Christian praxis of attending to
human pain and meeting human
• Lausanne movement Theology Working
Care and Counsel as
A story unfolds in four cities
Reading, Massachusetts
June 2007
• Gary Collins, Fred Gingrich, and I met
• Struggled with broader term for
“Christian counseling”
The 3 Circle Paradigm
of Care and Counsel*
In support of
(Member Care)
In support of the
global church.
(Christian Counseling)
In support of the world.
(Care & Counsel AS mission)
*Smith, Collins, & Gingrich (2007)
Gary Collins
• “Working in the big circle is difficult and
complicated theologically, culturally, and
clinically. It is work that is not well
understood and may be controversial.
Perhaps that is why it is the circle that is
talked about the least. It is the
“counseling as missions” circle where few
have dared to go but where a growing
generation of younger counselors
appears eager to penetrate.”
August 2007
Lausanne Senior Associate Position Starts
Saul Cruz and I met after 20 years
Lausanne Senior
Associate Post Begins
Connecting with Saul
Lausanne Consultation
on Care and Counsel as Mission
Mexico City
January 5-9, 2009 Mexico City
-holistic transformation
-spiritual poverty
-indigenous Christian
-Biblical social justice
-the relationship of
evangelism to
holistic/integral mission.
Cape Town 2010
•Christian counselors intentionally included for first time
•Strong response to workshops
•Day visit to HIV/AIDS ministry highly attended
•Cape Town Declaration on Care and Counsel as Mission
2. Holistic and
1. Christian
“We are committed as part of the global
Christian church to follow Jesus in
serving all people worldwide in order
that they may flourish in every way
including psychologically and spiritually.
We believe it is a matter of biblical
justice that resources and initiatives
which meet basic human needs and
promote psychological wellness should
be encouraged, nurtured, and distributed
more equitably throughout the world.”
An authentically Christian perspective on psychology
will call us to compassion and the seeking of justice
and reconciliation in our advocacy, practice, training,
and research.
Section 2: “Holistic and
Section 2. Holistic and
God’s creation reflects a design of
interdependent systems…
Scope of Holistic Mission
“Holistic mission is mission
oriented towards the satisfaction of
basic human needs, including the
need of God, but also the need of
food, love, housing, clothes,
physical and mental health, and a
sense of human dignity.”
Padilla, Rene (2004). Holistic Mission. The Lausanne
Committee for World Evangelization, 2004 Forum, Issue
Group 4.
Systems thinking
“God’s creation reflects a design of
interdependent systems and so we
are committed to a global
understanding of the whole
person/system in the context of
suffering and health.”
Section 3:
Biblical Perspective on
• “Ethnic diversity is the gift and plan
of God in creation. It has been
spoiled by human sin and pride,
resulting in confusion, strife,
violence and war among nations.
However, ethnic diversity will be
preserved in the new creation, when
people from every nation, tribe,
people and language will gather as
the redeemed people of God”
-Cape Town Commitment
“A fundamental task for indigenous
Christian healers is to discern and
engage with how God is already at
work in each culture.”
Section 4. Collaborative
…a commitment to worldwide mutual
empowerment and collaborative learning
…a journey toward wholeness in
which both helpers and the
person/community in need are
Where from here?
1. Reduce stigma by educating pastors,
church leaders, congregations, and
2. Integrate mental health into church
health ministries or include both
when starting up.
3. Advocate for the just allocation of
resources for mental health at all levels.
4. Use comprehensive strategies
that include a continuum of care:
education, prevention, screening,
support and group approaches
5. Offer services to the community as
a witness to Christ
6. Collaborate with other
community groups and agencies.
4. Use comprehensive strategies
that include a continuum of care:
education, prevention, screening,
support and group approaches
5. Offer services to the community as
a witness to Christ
6. Collaborate with other
community groups and agencies.
7. Utilize task-shifting to increase
resources by training laypeople and
volunteers for appropriate work while
providing supervision
8. Address social factors impacting
mental health like poverty and racism
9. Include indigenous approaches to
10. Consider using available technology
integrated with personal contact
11. Broaden training for counselors
to include program development,
community approaches,
12. Develop forums, networks, and
partnerships for mutual learning
and collaboration.
Questions to think about…
1. What concepts from the Cape
Town Declaration and the twelve
recommendations particularly
resonate with you?
2. What kinds of information and
connections would help you in
what you are doing?
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