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The Church and Mental Wellbeing

It is less than a week to go until our online ‘How Can The Church in Nottinghamshire Support Mental Wellbeing?' event. It is so encouraging that over 50 people, from different churches and organisations and boroughs, have already registered. It truly could be a pebble in the water event, with the ripple effect impacting thousands of people for years to come.

God Equips Those He Calls

So often, we wait for someone more qualified than us to do the work- especially around supporting those who are grieving, or who have mental ill health. And yes, when we are walking with vulnerable people, we need to make sure that we do no further harm than has already been done. And we need to be very boundaried in knowing what our limitations are, and who we can signpost to if someone needs professional support.

But, the early church was led by a group of fishermen, empowered by God. As the saying goes, ‘God does not call the equipped, he equips the called’. I often think about the other church saying- of '20% of The Church doing 80% of the work'. Is it true? If so, is it inherently a matter of idleness or capacity? Or do we buy into the lie that we are inadequate to do this work, therefore we do not offer? In chapter 6 of John’s gospel, God multiplied a young boy’s lunch, to feed 5000 men plus women and children. Do we allow fear to rob us of being used in mighty ways for God’s kingdom? What if that boy had been too afraid to offered the meagre rations that he had, thinking them insignificant?

Who is in Your Boat?

I also often ponder the story told in chapter 21 of John’s gospel whereby, following Jesus’ instructions to fish on the other side of the boat, they landed such a huge catch that the disciples had to call to the other boat to come and help. Who is in your boat? Who are you partnering with in this work? The disciples went out in twos- this work was never meant to be done in isolation. Could your church partner with Renew Wellbeing? Or Kintsugi? Or another local church, to support those in your communities with mental wellbeing? Now, more than ever, we need to spur each other on to love and good deeds. We need to hold each others’ arms up. We need to walk alongside those who are hurting- both within our congregations and in our communities.

Finally, we need to look at what we have- Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). It can be easy to get into a mindset of lack, not a mindset of abundance. If we begin and end each day with gratitude and a dependence on God, we begin to renew our mind to a Kingdom worldview- one of an open heaven.

Perhaps we need to stop thinking that if we cannot 'fix' something then we shouldn’t try, and start offering our heart and our hands. Look up, look around. Who can you encourage? Who is carrying a burden that is too great for them? How can we partner with others, how can we partner with God? Instead of inviting God into the work we are doing, how about we ask God to open our eyes to what He is doing, and how we can get involved.

Events to Equip Churches

If, reading these musings, something has stirred in your heart, please pray on it. Have a look at some of the different ways that TNT can help equip churches to walk with their communities.

If it is mental wellbeing that is stirring you, please do consider joining us on Thursday 25th November (7pm-8.30pm), as we host an online event for churches/ Christians in Nottinghamshire to consider how we might respond to the growing need around mental ill health, and support people in our communities, including children, young people and students, on their journey back to emotional and mental wellbeing. We will be joined by local and national ambassadors of Renew Wellbeing, Kintsugi Hope and Sanctuary, as well as Arnold Methodist Church, who have a mental health ministry. The evening will include time in small groups to consider what the role of The Church could be in terms of mental health support and what works well. To sign up, please go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-can-the-church-in-nottinghamshire-support-mental-wellbeing-tickets-175417898657

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