Ministering to Those with a Mental Illness

Ministering to Those with a Mental Illness

How to help those suffering
4 Session Bible Study

This 4-session Bible study will help you discern how to help those who are suffering from a mental illness. It covers such topics as what it means to be a Christian who is suffering emotionally, how to discern if something is a mental illness or has other causes, how the church should respond to those with mental illness, and how to provide hope for those who are depressed.

Session One

Christians and Emotional Suffering
Christ-followers suffer and need help like everyone else.
Genesis 3:12-24; Romans 8:18-25; 1 Corinthians 12:21-26; 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 12:6-10; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 11:32-40

Dwight L. Carlson calls it "the emotional-health gospel." It's the unwritten belief in many churches that Christians don't have emotional or mental health problems, or that such problems don't even exist. Because this belief is usually informal and rarely discussed, it often goes without exposure to the light of Scripture. This study will shed biblical light on this belief and help Christians examine their own perspective on mental and emotional health.

Session Two

Mental Illness or Something Else?
It's important to distinguish between disorders and spiritual issues.
1 Kings 19:1-9; Jonah 4:1-11; Mark 5:1-13; Romans 3:10-20, 23-24; 2 Corinthians 5:16-21; Ephesians 6:10-17

When Christians encounter symptoms of mental illness, they're often confused about the cause and the appropriate response. Some assume that all such symptoms are caused by demonic oppression; others believe unconfessed sin is at the root. Still others dismiss these explanations and believe everyone exhibiting such symptoms should automatically seek help from mental health professionals.

Archibald Hart helps us make sense of the roles personal sin and supernatural oppression play in mental and emotional health. This study will provide an exploration of common-sense and biblical perspective on the remedy for such struggles.

Session Three

Mental Illness and the Church
We are responsible to do more to love hurting people.
Matthew 5:43-48; 25:31-40; 1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 6:1-10; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 2:1-11; James 1:2-8

Serious mental and emotional illness affects more than just the people afflicted. It causes serious suffering for families, friends, and other loved ones. It rocks churches and other communities, who usually aren't sure how to respond to the tremendous needs of these hurting people. In such situations, the typical response is no response—ignoring the problem, and often the people affected, in hope that it will work itself out or someone else will take care of it.

Amy Simpson tells a personal story that reminds us how families are affected by mental illness and often left in the cold by the churches they go to for help. This study will help Christians consider how we can respond more compassionately and, in simple ways, represent Christ's love to people with serious mental and emotional needs.

Session Four

Hope in the Darkness of Depression
Even when all seems lost, we always have light in Jesus.
Isaiah 53:4-5; Luke 13:1-5; John 9:1-12; Romans 8:22-28, 35-39; 2 Corinthians 5:1-5; Hebrews 4:14-16; Revelation 21:1-4

For a person with mental illness, suffering is dramatically compounded when God seems far away. No matter how close God may feel in times of emotional wholeness, when the darkness of depression or delusion sets in, he can seem impossible to find. Kathryn Greene-McCreight, who suffers from bipolar disorder, tells us, "When I am depressed, every thought, every breath, every conscious moment hurts."

"And yet the Christian faith has a word of real hope, especially for those who suffer mentally," she tells us. In the very worst of times, clinging to the truth about Christ can make all the difference. This study reminds us of the hope we have in Christ, for now and for the future.

Total number of pages56 pages

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