Partly inspired by the recent suicide of pastor Jarrid Wilson, a mental health advocate, Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center is set to host a one-day evangelical summit to address issues of leadership, burnout, and mental health.
The college, located in Wheaton, Illinois, will include a discussion billed as “Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry,” under the banner of its GC2 (Great Commission/Great Commandment) Summit on Dec. 6, in partnership with the Wheaton College School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy.
Wilson, 30, was a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, and founder of Anthem of Hope, a faith-centered organization dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide, when he took his life on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day last month.
“Jarrid was a friend and helped so many in their darkest hours,” said Derwin Gray, founding pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, South Carolina, and one of the featured speakers at the summit, noted in a release from Wheaton. “We need to have this vital conversation that Jarrid started and his wife Juli continues in his honor.”
Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, whose son, Matthew, died by suicide at the age of 27, after a long and private struggle with mental illness, is also expected to speak at the summit.
“This is a global problem, also impacting pastors and leaders inside the church,” Warren stressed in a statement. “We must face it head on as the body of Christ. The biggest thing we can do is to remove the stigma behind mental illness and let pastors and leaders get help. We have to assure our leaders that it’s not a sin to be sick. Your chemistry is not your character, and your illness is not your identity.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair