Hiding in the Pews is a prophetic call—a clear, compassionate, and practical guide—for the Church to become like a psych ward: a safe place where believers and leaders with mental illness are empowered to cultivate vulnerability in safe community.
Steve Austin was a pastor when he nearly died by suicide. Years of performance-based Christianity taught Austin to sweep the pain of childhood sexual abuse, plus the shame of PTSD, anxiety, and depression under the rug.
When it came to his suffering, Austin believed it was best not to let anyone know about his secrets - especially church folks. As a result, fear, shame, and guilt were Austin’s constant companions.
Thankfully, a suicide attempt was not the end of his story.
When Austin realized his life wasn’t over, he set about figuring out how to embrace vulnerability by asking for professional help and sharing the uncomfortable truth about his story.
In short: he gave himself permission to be human for the very first time.
Since going public, Austin has learned that countless others are desperate to live an authentic life, too. These days, he helps hurting people find an integrated approach to wholeness, including mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
Since 2012, Austin has written several books, including: Catching Your Breath, Hiding in the Pews and Slow Miracles. His work has been featured in USA Today, Huffington Post, The Mighty, and other outlets. He has become a leading voice at the intersection of faith and mental health.
Today, Austin consults church leaders from around the U.S. on how to make their faith communities a safe place for those who are suffering. He also hosts the Catching Your Breath podcast, blogs regularly at catchingyourbreath.com, and is a sought-after speaker at international conferences.