Mental health recovery and the role of the church…Joe Padilla

Joe PadillaJoe Padilla is the CEO and co-founder of Mental Health Grace Alliance. Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience in his Inclusion Fusion presentation…

I am excited to be one of the presenters for this year’s Inclusion Infusion event. It has been an honor getting to know Dr. Steve Grcevich and refer many to Key Ministry. I believe with events like this we can start seeing greater equipping for the Church and even impact our culture.

We are who are strong are encouraged through scripture, “to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves … and to please our neighbor for his good and building up” (Romans 15.1-2). How does this work when we are looking at those who are dealing with mental health difficulties and disorders … Mental Illness? As the Body of Christ, the Church, do we know how to have effective support not only for loving support, but for mental health recovery?

This is what I will cover in my presentation. A simple and helpful way to understand what is really happening in the Church and a simple overview how to look at simple and effective support within the Church.

Now, introducing this into your church is a process and many times it’s usually a family member who is asking more from the church. This is a common question we always get from families. Some churches are ready for everything they can, others are very cautious. Here is a short snippet from my original blog, “How to Help Your Church Understand Mental Illness” to help you begin a dialogue within your church leaders.

MINISTRY vs. SUPPORT … If you approach your pastor by saying you want to “start a ministry for mental illness,” they immediately start thinking: money, people (leaders), building space, and then they are naturally flooded with “stigma” concerns regarding liability (remember they do not have a full understanding … yet).

We need to take a different approach that doesn’t overwhelm the pastor. Instead, let’s invite them into a new process of understanding and the implementation of practical support that will not overwhelm church resources.

1) Be Patient and Invite Understanding

Don’t assume that one meeting with your pastor will change everything immediately. Expect to have several meetings to develop a process of understanding. BOTTOM LINE… Don’t be PUSHY or DEMANDING! Be humble, and SUBMIT this whole idea and process to the leadership. By submitting your thoughts and ideas to your pastor, you invite leadership to take ownership. Keep your focus on God, and allow Him to give everyone the wisdom or insight needed to move forward.

2) Focus on a Process that Blesses the Church

Don’t push for a ministry; it is more about having a system of support in place. Invite the pastoral staff to look into strategic steps and a process to build a healthy church response when mental health difficulties are encountered. Remember, the pastor has to lead the church and elders into accepting this too – so your pastor is usually thinking of the whole body, not just a few members.

3) Story vs. Business

Don’t overwhelm the pastor or leaders with your personal story and then assume the need for a ministry. Help them connect to your story, but then look at the “business” steps. Share your story and then show a good process. Pastors like to see a practical plan, not just a great idea with no practical process in place.

4) Be Willing to Lead

Don’t assume the church will hire someone for this … a good pastor is always looking for a catalyst leader to help serve, lead, and build within their church. You will need to decide what level you will want to help with this.

Go to our blog for the rest of the details and make sure to sign-up for Inclusion Fusion 2014 November 12-13 to hear other great topics that will aid you and your church to be a powerful part of transforming lives!

1414687227656Joe Padilla is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mental Health Grace Alliance, providing mental health recovery support programs for those living with mental illness and their families. Before starting the Grace Alliance, Joe served 13 years with Antioch Ministries International in church planting leadership, director of social development projects and business in Asia and Africa, and his U.S. roles ministry director for training, strategy, and pastoral oversight for international teams. Joe lives with his wife, Jessica, and their five daughters in Waco, Texas.


Padilla Video ShotJoin keynote speaker Joni Eareckson Tada, Chuck Swindoll, Emily Colson, Barb Newman and 20+ leaders representing the scope of the disability ministry movement this coming November 12-13 for Inclusion Fusion 2014, Key Ministry’s FREE, worldwide disability ministry web summit. Engage in interactive chat with many of our speakers and watch each presentation at the time of day that works best for you in the environment in which you’re most comfortable. Click here to view our entire speaker lineup and register for Inclusion Fusion 2014.

About Dr. G

Dr. Stephen Grcevich serves as President and Founder of Key Ministry, a non-profit organization providing free training, consultation, resources and support to help churches serve families of children with disabilities. Dr. Grcevich is a graduate of Northeastern Ohio Medical University (NEOMED), trained in General Psychiatry at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland/Case Western Reserve University. He is a faculty member in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at two medical schools, leads a group practice in suburban Cleveland (Family Center by the Falls), and continues to be involved in research evaluating the safety and effectiveness of medications prescribed to children for ADHD, anxiety and depression. He is a past recipient of the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Dr. Grcevich was recently recognized by Sharecare as one of the top ten online influencers in children’s mental health. His blog for Key Ministry, was ranked fourth among the top 100 children's ministry blogs in 2015 by Ministry to Children.
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2 Responses to Mental health recovery and the role of the church…Joe Padilla

  1. Ann Holmes says:

    Great appetizer for Inclusion Fusion, Joe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, but also want to note: it’s often us and/or our family hurting that creates the need for such a ministry. And we’re not the ones strong enough or equipped to start a ministry in our church (if we are well enough to attend). Advocates are a priceless gift. So is something to help build that “business” piece, so we’re not trying to make it from scratch. Have you heard of the G.L.U.E. process? (developed by CLC Network). It is exactly that way to talk to your pastor & leaders with a plan for the person you care about, and for the church body as a whole. Thank you for speaking out about this!


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