Mental Health & Discipleship Workshop
Last May, Junction Covenant Church in South Slocan, BC held a day-long workshop about anxiety, depression and life with Jesus, which was supported by a discipleship grant from Trellis. In late 2016 a highly respected counsellor led an evening session with the church youth group on these topics. That conversation was very well received and revealed to church leaders the need for more attention to integrating mental health and following Jesus.
Pastor Jesse Lerch says the church felt a “need to provide practical, relevant help that can equip people to move from a life filled with anxiety and depression to a life of more freedom… that Christ provided for us.” Jesus invites us in Matt. 6:34 to “not be anxious about tomorrow,” Paul tells us in Phil. 4:6-8, “Don’t worry about anything,” and Jesus promised his followers would be filled with his joy (John 15:11). “These verses seem to be so far out of reach for some,” the church wrote in their grant application. “We want to teach people practical tools and spiritual principles that will give people hope for the future.”
Local psychologist and church member Abby Napora led the weekend teaching. Lerch says people became better informed about these mental health realities and were given “skills to equip themselves in dealing with these issues. We also have created a culture of safety for people… [to feel] the freedom to ask for help and support.”
Forty-five people participated in the workshop, including several from Nelson Covenant and Balfour Covenant. The strongest part of the workshop, said Lerch, was having Napora “share her gifts of understanding and discernment on anxiety and depression in such a way that all walked away feeling enabled to grow themselves as well as to help others.”