Ministry is complex under normal circumstances, but in the middle of a pandemic, what once was overly-busy ministry is now a response to people in crisis. In reaction to this pandemic, researchers are suggesting expanding access to social supports, treatments, and harm reduction services as the mental health impacts of COVID will outlast the physical impacts. With World Mental Health Day around the corner on October 10, pastors can access tools, courses, and even conferences to better equip themselves in serving their congregations.

On October 10, practitioners and industry leaders are coming together virtually to support the mental health issue facing ministry leaders, churches, and communities at the Church Mental Health Summit.

A CDC study analyzed 5,412 survey respondents between June 24 and 30th and 30.9% said they had symptoms of anxiety or depression. Roughly 26.3% reported trauma and stress-related disorder because of the pandemic and another 13.3% of respondents said they have turned to substance use to cope with stress from the pandemic. What this means is that people within your church are hurting. Our communities are hurting. And let’s be honest, we as leaders, are too.

But what are churches to do when all resources (money, energy, and volunteers) are exhausted and already stretched to the max? Are our churches ready, willing, and able to offer hope and strength to our communities inside and outside the building? Whatever we do to meet the need in our homes, churches, and communities needs to be easy, accessible, and simple.

Here are three resources for you to begin developing the capacity to reach those who are struggling:

#1 – Hope Made Strong

Hope Made Strong offers an online course called Finding Hope in Helping that builds resilience in ministry leaders to overcome and prevent burnout and compassion fatigue. They also provide foundational support training for ministry teams offering practical skills for supporting others called The Caregiver Toolbox. (You can use code CTT20 for 20% off courses.)

#2 – Key Ministry

This is an organization that is positioned to serve churches seeking to become more intentional and effective in ministry with children, teens, and adults impacted by mental illness, trauma, and developmental disabilities. They have a ton of resources that are specifically for churches and give you a step-by-step implementation plan.

#3 – Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries

This ministry offers an incredible small-group curriculum. This is a free eight-week study that is fully digital and requires no previous training, but just a willingness to learn more about faith and mental health.

#4 – Church Mental Health Summit

In anticipation of the increased need in our communities, Hope Made Strong is producing a free virtual Church Mental Health Summit on October 10th (World Mental Health Day). This virtual summit gathers practitioners and industry leaders from across North America to equip you to support mental health issues facing ministry leaders, churches, and communities.

Speakers will be addressing four tracks:

  1. Global Health: Addressing cultural impacts and those who serve in missions around the world.

  2. Community Health: Equipping churches to support those struggling with mental health in their community.

  3. Church Health: Building a church culture that supports and serves mental health through programs.

  4. Leadership Health: Strengthening leaders’ mental health and addressing issues around compassion fatigue and ministry burnout.

The church is uniquely positioned to be an influencer and is the intended vehicle for God to share His love and hope of Jesus.

At the Church Mental Health Summit, practitioners and industry leaders from across North America are coming together to equip you to support the mental health issues facing ministry leaders, churches, and communities.

Now is our opportunity to build resilient leaders and equip our teams to meet the growing need for mental health in our communities. You can register here for the event.

For more COVID related resources, check out these articles:

Fall Event Planning Amidst COVID-19

How COVID-19 Will Change Churches Long-Term

COVID-19 Church Playbook

3 Ways to Encourage Online Giving During COVID-19 and Beyond

9 Ways to Worship Corporately Without Singing Out Loud