“Steve’s story authentically connected with many in our church. His courage helped us as pastors realize how many in our own churches are aching as they struggle with mental health issues. Steve wanted to do more than connect. He challenged us to become a safe church, through asking better questions and working towards tangible, healthy solutions for our congregation and individuals in the communities around us. Steve understands the pain and struggle personally, which makes him well equipped in training and guiding the church and individuals through their journeys of healing and hope.”
-Pastor Dan Fietje, Cambridge Community Church
"I’ve got family who struggle with anxiety and depression, and my natural instinct is to try to say or do the right thing to help them “snap out of it”. You taught that I don’t have to be their therapist (hopefully they already have one), I just have to listen.
I [also] learned to put caring into action. In the weeks since, I’ve had several instances where I think “I wonder how he/she is doing” and something is now driving me to go beyond the thought and actually reach out...I can only attribute it to your teaching because it usually stopped at a thought before.
Thank you for all that you do and please keep doing it. I will share and shout your praises to all those who will listen. Thank you for reiterating what my father always told me; you were given two ears and one mouth, you’re supposed to listen at least twice as much as you talk. Keep up the great work."
-Mike Koolen, Workshop Attendee, Emmanuel Bible College
For ten years, I served the local church. During that time, I was secretly suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I was scared for anyone to know the extent of my despair.
After nearly dying by suicide at the age of 29, I started writing about faith and mental health, while also authoring books and articles featured by Relevant, Christian Courier, HuffPost, The Mighty, and USA Today.
In 2018, I started coaching pastors across the country. Through these coaching relationships, a theme became clear: Pastors feel personally exhausted and ill-prepared to address mental health. Since that time, I have been able to continue serving pastors, while developing a process that could help many congregations become more mentally well.
My process to help churches become unstuck in the arena of mental wellness is rooted in the belief that God cares equally about a church's spiritual and mental health. It is through that lens that I work to help churches find health and make an impact in their community.
If your church is ready to become more effective at serving the mental health population with compassion and practical tools, let's work together.
Most pastors I know are exhausted. Church work can feel draining. Chronic physical and spiritual fatigue can be deadly (no, really). But congregational health begins with pastoral health, so in addition to designing a plan for your church, we'll also create a self-care plan for your staff. I will be listening to the Holy Spirit and relying on God to provide the strength and wisdom we need to make this partnership a success.
Each church is different. There is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to church. Your church is unique; I want to celebrate that! Then, I will use my experience and expertise to help you flourish in the area of mental wellness.
I'm going to ask questions. If you're visiting my site, you already know your church needs help. It's my job to listen to your church's story, empower your leadership team, identify mental health resources in your community, and prepare you to better serve the mental health needs of your congregation.
God is in the serving business, and so am I. I will show up to each conversation with my sleeves rolled up, ready to get to work.
My Church Mental Wellness Process will help you evaluate your church's approach to mental health, create a self-care plan for your pastoral team, design an actionable vision, configure your mental health ministry team, and establish a system that works.
“We invited Steve to come to our church to share about messy grace, and what it meant for the church to become a safe place. His testimony and conversation about mental health - and how the church needs to become more like a psych ward - has helped us carry on this topic and dive deeper into issues like depression, suicide, self harm, in a depth that we hadn't gone to before. It opened the doors for us to bring these issues into the light. And now we can finally start to work towards healing together, as a community. Thanks Steve!"
-Pastor Lucas Jervis, Avenue Road Baptist Church
Copyright 2019. Steve Austin Creative Services, LLC