Body Anatomy & Church Health Development

The Church's Ministry to Families of the Mentally Ill.
Clergy Triage Emergency Care
Clergy Health Research and Reports
Worship Aids for May, July, October, and December.
Blue Christmas
Ministry Women
Clergy Appreciation
Praying for Clergy and Their Families
Doctrine & Church Health
A Sick Body
The Family Secret
Church, Inc. Crushes People
A Cyberspace view of Church Health
Seven Important Questions and Answers.
Healing the Body
Heralds of Truth for Healing.
Seven Dynamics of Preaching for Healthier Churches
Church Health Sermons
Waking Up the Body
An example of the Doctrinal Challenge of Church Health
Equipping The Abused Church For Healing
Church Anatomy
The Head
The Musculoskeletal and Internal Organs Systems
The 9 Facets of Church Harmony
Dealing with Trojan Horse Transfers
The Nervous System
Seven Steps to Strenthening the Church's Nervous System
The Circulatory System
Godliness and Cleanliness for Healthy Church Bodies
Journey Through Tragic Pain
Prayer and Tragedy
A Second Life, A Second Calling, A Second Ministry
Disabilities and Clergy
Mental Health Needs of Clergy
Prescriptions for the Epidemic
Jesus and Clergy Health
Healthy and Unhealthy Models of Pastoral Leadership
A Parson and Parsonage Family's 5 Priorities
Pastor-Church Relationships from a Biblical & Systems Perspective
Healthy Pastoral Moves
The Wounds of Jesus and Our Wounds
Happy, Healthy, Shiny, Satisfied Clergy?
Sleep Apnea
Poor Work Performance of Clergy
Self-Denial and Self-Care
Soul Care And The Caregiver's Soul
Motivation, Meaning and Ministry
The Axis of Christian Ministry
A Resolution on the Evaluation of Ministry
Brother Martin or Pastor Superstar?
Timing Chains and Hearts: How Is Yours?
Power in Leadership and Martial Arts
Christian Discipleship and Martial Arts
Practical Self-Defense for the Congregation
Balancing Grace and Truth
Luther on Depression
Wesley on Depression
Theology and Mental Health Ministry
The Church and the Mentally Ill
Mental Health Ministry
The Overlooked and the Forgotten
Ministry to the returning veterans and their families.
Churches offering Radical Hospitality for Individuals with Mental Illness and Their Families.
Handout for Churches offering Radical Hospitality
Mental Health Resources for Churches, Families, Parents, Spouses, and Siblings.
Depression & Anxiety Disorder Resources for Families, Parents, Spouses, and Siblings.
For Children of All Ages of a Parent with a Mental Illness.
The stigma churches sometimes have to bear, overcome, and why.
Being A Parent With A Mental Illness
The Church's Ministry to Families of the Mentally Ill.
A Church's Ministry with a mental health consumer and family.
Suggestions for a clergy mental health packet.
Church Based Advocacy
NAMI and Faith Based Ministries
Interdenominational and Interfaith Mental Health Ministries and Resources.
Concerning the United Methodist Church and Mental Illness
Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness
What faith based communities are doing in Mental Health Ministries.
Does this map describe your church territory?
Books on Boundaries
Church Health Education
The Most Important October 31st

Rev. John Marshall Crowe, D.Min.

Teacher of NAMI' s Family to Family Program

Member, NC NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Member, of the Wayne County Mental Health Association

Recipient of the 2002 President's Award from the Mental Health Association of NC

used with permission from

Sharing The Practice: The International Quarterly Journal of the Academy of Parish Clergy. Winter 2004. pg  8

and from the January 2004 Newsletter of the Goldsboro District in the North Carolina Conference of  the United Methodist Church.

This page was updated


Many people with mental health problems first turn to clergy. It is easy to focus ministry upon the family member who is ill and ignore the ministry needs of their family. What is the church’s ministry to families of the mentally ill?

Extreme exhaustion is a frequent trait of family members. It is seen in their no longer being able to keep their house in order. “Why not?” They were doing all they could to just hold the family together.

Jesus calls us to help the family of a mentally ill person with Christ like attitudes. Don’t go to observe, criticize, and spread gossip. Sometimes people who go to ‘help’ make critical statements and thoughtlessly throw away things. Put yourself in the family member’s shoes before throwing away things. If you are not sure, leave it and just straighten things up.

Look for signs of depression in family members. They often deceive themselves about being in better contact with the problems of their loved one than is realistic. Do they experience difficulty in focused thinking? Do they behave as individuals? Do they say they have no right to take care of their own needs? Do they recite the same handful of horrifying stories?

Do they entertain ideas like, “I should change careers for my family member’s health?” Such unrealistic thinking comes from the F.O.G. (Fear-Obligation-Guilt) created by their enmeshment with the loved one’s mental problems.

Support groups for family members are wonderful, and education experiences are informative. However, they pale in the face of a good therapist.

Therapy deals with the roots of their depression. They will recognize their enmeshment, and see the pitfalls of their victim mentality. They will live more fully in the now by taking responsibility for their own life and tending to their own needs. Very few pastors have the time or the training to do such in depth counseling. Neither should pastors be expected to.

Not all families impacted by mental illness hold together. Some mentally ill persons abandon their family or commit suicide. Divorce occurs when the spouse finds themselves drowning is their spouse’s mental illness. Such sad outcomes seem to occur regardless of the support network, well-developed boundaries, or their relationship to the church. Instead of simplistic counsel or legalistic judgments, these families need extreme compassion.

The families who fall apart carry mammoth loads of emotions like failure, shame, self-inflicted guilt, ‘the what ifs, ’ and deep hurt. Clergy and church members only add to the intensity of this load when they abandon and act in other unChristian ways toward these families and their mentally ill loved one.

Here are two more goals for clergy and churches in response to this need.

1. Recognize the interrelationship of medical, spiritual, emotional, and social needs of those who suffer from mental illness and those who are close to them.

2. Have special Sunday’s to lift up the church’s ministry to the mentally ill and their families. Include the mentally ill and their families in pastoral prayers. Preach sermons and conduct special classes to instruct people in a Christian response to this painful human need.


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