Hiding in the Pews
Shining Light on Mental Illness in the Church
Publication Date: July 6, 2021 via Fortress Press
Licensed therapist, author of Try Softer
“With courage, candor, and grace, Steve Austin has given us a needed perspective on how church leaders can deeply care for the hurting and vulnerable in their pews.”
songwriter, worship pastor, Leadworship.com
"His strong arguments from scripture and from his personal experience compel us to look deeper and more empathetically at ourselves and others who suffer in the context of the church experience. An important read."
Therapist, author of This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers
"We don’t need one more book about fighting our fears with faith. We need the kindness
of wounded healers willing to show us their scars. By showing us his scars, Austin kindly and accessibly invites us into a better story, one where our weakness is welcome and our hurt is held."
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.
PASTOR, THE SANCTUARY, JUPITER, FL.
AUTHOR OF JESUS + NOTHING = EVERYTHING
"Along with Steve, I believe that the only churches that will thrive in any meaningful way will not be castles of purity where only the morally fit feel comfortable. Rather, they will be basements of grace where all are embraced and forgiven—places where sin doesn’t shock and grace
Thank you, Steve, for speaking on behalf of this ragamuffin and for your desire to see the
Christian community become a sanctuary for sinners once again.”
MARC ALAN SCHELSKE
pastor, Bridge City Community Church, Portland,OR.
author of The Wisdom of Your Heart: Discovering the God-Given Purpose and Power of Your Emotions
"With stories, scripture, and a compassionate pastor’s heart, he challenges the church and its leaders to tell the whole truth. The path to life requires walking through healing, and healing requires truth. If we want people to meet Jesus in our churches, then our churches need to be places where each person’s whole painful truth is welcomed.”
therapist and suicide prevention instructor, host of CXMH podcast
“Steve writes with the tenderness of someone who’s been there and the passion of someone who wants to see churches grow in their responses to mental health. Church leaders of all kinds will find Hiding in the Pews both challenging and inspiring, a resource they can come back to often.”
From the Foreword:
"Steve is an advocate for our big-tent God—a God who is willing to embrace you at the height of mania or the depth of depression, a God who will quiet the fears of anxiety and instability, a God who will shift the weeping of depression to the joy of a new morning. Steve Austin has come to know that God and shows us that this God is worth getting to know. "
The Rev. Robert W. Lee
read the foreword, intro, and Chapter One of Hiding in the Pews absolutely free!
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.