SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page has named a 23-member volunteer advisory body of local church leaders and professionals in the mental health field to advise him on possible ways of better communicating with Southern Baptists about mental health ministry needs in their churches and communities as well as ministry resources to address those needs.
Kentucky pastor Tony Rose of LaGrange Baptist Church will chair the Mental Health Advisory Council.
In keeping with the advisory nature of other advisory groups named by Page, the mental health advisory group is designed to assist him and other SBC entity leaders by 1) reviewing current mental health ministries offered through SBC ministry entity, state convention, associational and local church initiatives; 2) assessing the best practices of such ministry initiatives; and 3) suggesting ways in which these ministry initiatives can or should be formalized through other means.
“The group’s goal is to consider ways to assist SBC entity leaders and local church leaders in their common task of reaching all people with the transformative Gospel of Jesus Christ,” according to SBC LIFE, journal of the Executive Committee.
SBC LIFE further noted: “The advisory group will neither launch nor execute official SBC ministries, although individual members may develop their own ministry affinity networks to further engage churches in ministries to individuals and families with mental health needs. Its role is to provide information, insight and counsel to EC staff concerning the special needs and concerns of persons and families experiencing mental health issues in the Southern Baptist network of churches.
“Since the advisory group is not an official committee of the Convention, no budgetary funds have been allocated for its meetings. It is comprised of a representative set of mental health providers, local church practitioners, and other ministry specialists who have agreed to serve as part of the advisory group and to meet at their own expense.
“The advisory group will issue a report to the EC president to assist him in framing these ideas into a presentation model for discussions about mental health needs with members of the SBC Great Commission Council and ministry leaders in state conventions, associations, and local churches, with a goal to leverage such discussions toward a more comprehensive mental health ministry strategy.”
The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, during its Feb. 17–18 meeting in Nashville, concurred with the spirit of a motion referred from the 2013 SBC annual meeting regarding mental health ministry. The EC voted to amend an annual ministry report form it solicits from the SBC’s entities to include questions asking appropriate entities what they are doing to assist Southern Baptist churches in equipping and ministering to people with mental health challenges.
The Executive Committee also voted to “continue to seek ways to work in cooperation with SBC entities and others to address the severe challenges imposed by mental illness.”
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SOURCE: Baptist Press