Should Pastors Admit They Struggle with Depression?

"For starters, there’s oversharing. We’re hardly meant, as ambassadors of Christ, to talk about ourselves all the time. Also, not everyone in the church needs to know about everything you struggle with." - TGC

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Bert Perry's picture

I realize one can over-share, but a lot of the biggest blessings a man can have is when he lets others come alongside him in his struggle.  Are some churches predisposed to be quite judgmental about depression?  Sure.  For them, shouldn't we direct them to the examples of Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, and Elijah, running from Jezebel right after his biggest triumph, the execution of the prophets of Ba'al?  What about Job in his troubles, and for that matter, what about the Guy who sweated blood?  

Put gently, there is a tremendous amount of ministry to be done when we're willing to open up to each other about these hurts, and in a world where divorce ends ~40% of first marriages, and in a world where ~25% of people report a sexual assault in their life, you're going to have a number of people who don't simply "bounce back" from the offense.  Expecting that people will do so is really the province of Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz, no?

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim Welch's picture

Good article.  I just finished reading Spurgeon's advice on depression in "Lectures to My Students."  He talked freely about his own struggle with depression, gave several reasons (all are still applicable for us today) for depression in the life of a minister; and offered biblical relief.

Having battled depression in my own life, I find articles like this encouraging.  

Joeb's picture

Pastors should not share his depression with the whole church.  However there is no reason he can’t have a circle of close friends who can walk beside him and assist the Pastor with his depression which Bart has so wisely pointed out.  

I have struggled with depression myself to the point of considering to take my own life due to dealing with pain and not wanting to be a burden to my wife.  At the time I went to a Christian Counsler at a Counseling Center connected to Westminster Seminary.  When I shared the above with him he stood me up Johnny on the spot about being a burden to my wife.  The Counselor said who was I to take that ministry of my wife away from her.  If the Lord called her to minister to me during a season or a life time of physical problems what right did I have to take that away from her.  The Counselor  made a very good point and a Pastor struggling through depression should realize that God calls certain people be it his wife and close confidants to walk beside him.