by Dustin Boles, a pastor at Mosaic Church in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
I am a happy guy. No, seriously. I am a very happy guy. I am blessed. I love Jesus. I believe the gospel. My marriage is good and my church is good. So, why are there times when I feel despair, self-hatred, hopelessness, and lethargy on a level that seems crippling? That is the question in ministry that is most asked internally and the least verbalized to others. It is embarrassing to admit that we feel this way. It seems ungrateful to feel this way when God has done so much for us. Can a real Christian even feel this way?
Depression in ministry is not the exception but the rule. We all feel it, maybe to different depths and for different durations but we all feel it. The Bible gives us hope, not that we will never face it but that its heroes faced it too and overcame. The truth is that many of the heroes of church history faced it as well and overcame. The Dark Night of the Soul need not become a nightmare! If Jesus “bore our sorrows” on the cross that must have ramifications for us.
My session at the upcoming Acts 29 Conference | North America will take an honest look at depression as it relates to ministry and will focus on Elijah’s battle with it as he defeated the prophets of Baal one day only to find himself in the grips of depression the very next. The session is not designed to diagnose or treat clinical depression, but will help you understand it in the context of the gospel and how seeking medical, psychiatric, or psychological help are not against scripture and can be of great use.
The session will not be my testimony, but I will be extremely vulnerable, honest, and practical. Cliché’s will be avoided and Jesus’ cross will be exalted, but not be used as a quick fix or magic charm.
I hope to see you there!
Dustin will be leading one of the breakout sessions on Spiritual Vitality and Fighting Depression at the upcoming Acts 29 Conference | North America, which will be held in Dallas, TX on November 6-8, 2014.
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