It is Not The Members Fault

It is not the members’ fault that a pastor died by suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase the risk of suicide.


There is no one reason why a person dies by suicide. Now I am not saying that members should not treat their leaders well. However, I am saying that pastors do not die by suicide just because their members did not come to church that Sunday. For someone who is living with a severe and persistent mental illness, stress can be a trigger. If you are living with a persistent mental illness, you have to manage your stress. Pastors and leaders have to be honest, are they performing a job that they should not be performing? And why? Are they emotionally/psychologically whole? Have they dealt with their emotional issues, or are they using the pulpit to work through problems? Are they operating in pride or fear, which is why they can’t be honest with themselves and or the congregation?


Living with severe mental illness, just like living with any long term illness or condition will require changes. Change in how you maneuver life, changes in diet, in sleeping habits, etc. must be managed. If you are living with a persistent and severe mental illness, you will have to manage your stress and make lifestyle changes. Now what is stressful to you may not be stressful to me, which is why you have to be honest with you. You have to be honest about your challenges and take steps to protect your health. You have to know your warning signs, relapse signs, and set up strategies to manage your mental health. 


There is a lot of talk going around about how hard it is to be a Pastor. Pastoring is a stressful job, but so is being a police officer, firefighter, or teacher. But because being a police officer and or firefighter is a stressful job, individuals in those professions undergo mental fitness exams. Pastors do not have such a review that they must pass. So, unfortunately, we have many people who are operating in the role of a pastor or senior leader who should not be. We have many people who are serving in the role of a pastor or senior leader who have gone into the pulpit with unresolved emotional/psychological issues. Then you have Pastors with chronic mental health issues who need ongoing support but who are not getting it.


 The objectives of the enemy is to kill, steal, and destroy. He can accomplish those objectives when we are not honest with ourselves about ourselves. You don’t have to battle your emotions; you can cast them on the Lord and yield to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides. But you can’t do that if you are not honest and if you feel that you always have to have all of the answers. Pride, unresolved feelings of rejection and low self-esteem, will have us operating in areas like pastoring and other helping professions with a dishonest spirit. It is dishonest when we are not able to open up with what is going on with us and seek the help that we need.  AL (IGBATT Copyright 2019)