John M. Crowe, M.Div., D.Min.
Member of NC NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)
Member of the Pitt County Mental Health Association
Recipient of the 2002 President's Award from the Mental Health Association of NC.
A Healthy Church in Action offering intentional hospitality to individuals with mental illness and their families.
Reflect upon this
"Our reaction to those who have dropped exhausted on the road of life is the ultimate test of our personal understanding of God's grace." Malcolm Smith.
A. The Basics
This is a network composed of members and friends of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). It was established for the purposes of (1) facilitating the development within the Faith Community of a non-threatening supportive environment for those with serious mental illness and their families, (2) pointing out the value of one’s spirituality in the recovery process from mental illness and the need for spiritual strength for those who are caretakers, (3) educating clergy and congregations concerning the biologic basis and characteristics of mental illness, and (4) encouraging advocacy of the Faith Community to bring about hope and help for all who are affected by mental illness.
This is the first empirical study of how a person's relationship with the church is impacted when a family member is diagnosed with a mental illness.
14. The Church's Ministry to Families of the Mentally Ill by John M. Crowe
18. John Wesley and Psychology This link is to a PDF file of this article.
As a significant figure in Christian history, John Wesley has import for modern Christian psychology in at least four ways: (1) his contention that the findings of science could be used by Christians for the glory of God and the alleviation of human suffering; (2) his personal example of how difficult it is to put faith into practice in daily living; (3) his teachings about the grace of God and the possibility of Christian perfection; and (4) his concern for social justice and the welfare of the poor. This essay discusses these issues and demonstrates how a study of Wesley can influence modern Christian psychology.
19. Luther and Depression by Tony Headley
This article is about someone who has been there, done that, and has the t-shirt. The Protestant Reformation Leader and writer of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, Martin Luther felt free to share his own struggles with mental illness, i.e. depression. Research of Luther's sermons, teaching material for young pastors displays a very compassionate person of pastoral care with insightful and detailed observations, and a proclamation of real grace for real life. Both his compassion for Christians with mental illnesses and his keen observation of them were way ahead of his time.
21. Wesley and Depression by Tony Headley
This article is about a person whom the denominational family tree of Methodists and holiness churches view as the herald of sanctification--holiness of heart and life. For century after century the idea prevailed among Christians that filthiness was akin to holiness. This only helped the spread of diseases like the "Black Plague." On one occasion Mr. Wesley said "Cleanliness is next to godliness." His concern for personal hygiene rose out of his understanding of sanctification, his view of pastoral care, and his concern for people's mental and physical health.
Wesley was as concerned for the health of people’s bodies and minds as he was for their souls. He read medicine with the same avidity he showed for theology. He also found health education lacking and supplied it. Early in his ministry Wesley established a visitation program for the sick and dispensed medicine to the poor in London and Bristol. Also, he advocated for better health care.
B. Becoming a caring community of faith offering radical hospitality to individuals with mental illness and their families.
1. 1 in 4 Households in Your Church is Afraid to Tell You This Secret. by Carlene Hill Byron - first published by Vision New England's Ministries with the Disabled, Acton, Massachusetts
(Adapted from criteria established by the Presbyterian Serious Mental Illness Network)
5. A Church's ministry to a mental health consumer and family by John M. Crowe
7. "The Overlooked and the Forgotten” by John M. Crowe
In The Message Bible, Matthew 25:40 & 45 Peterson paraphrases “the least of these"— to the “overlooked and ignored” Who are the overlooked of our day? Who are the ignored of our day? Those with a mental illness and their families.
10. Saddleback Church has created a Church-Initiated Mental Health Strategy that can be built over time, adapted, and implemented into all areas of ministries in any church.
Start small and gradually expand. It is helpful to look at building a mental health ministry through the stages of crawl, walk, and run. Crawl steps do not require money, training, resources or paid staff. They are beginning steps for easing into creating a mental health ministry. All church communities can implement crawl steps.
C. What individual members can do to advocate within their own faith based communities.
1. Church Based Advocacy by John M. Crowe
In 2002, a mental health consumer’s husband becomes an advocate in his church after graduating from a Family-to-Family Course.
2. Fighting the Stigma of Mental Illness by John M. Crowe
D. Mental Health and Clergy
2. Mental Health Needs of Clergy by John M. Crowe
3. “The Face of Depression” by Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder
Read more about this in chapter 6 of my book, Church Health For The Twenty-First Century A Biblical Approach