After 5+ years riding Delight in Disorder, I’m now writing a new book with a working title: “Mental Health Ministry: Cultivating Compassion for those with Mental Illness” What do you think?
After a few twists and turns, it is taking shape nicely. It is part-memoir, part-essay. I tell the story of my life in ministry and those who have ministered to me.
As I put it in the Introduction:
This book is about mental health ministry. It’s not a “how-to” book. I can not tell you what will work in your ministry setting. Instead of answering the question, “How do we do mental health ministry?” I want to challenge you to ask, “Why are we not doing it?” Statistics are essential, but unless they are enfleshed with stories, they won’t lead to change. Evidence-based programs may produce proposals for getting grants, but if faith communities are going to carry out our God-given mission we need to get to know persons with mental illness, to invite and involve them in kingdom work.
Where my target readers with Delight in Disorder were persons impacted by mental health struggles seeking spiritual connectedness, my target for this book is faith leaders who are called to compassionate care for those with mental illness. By telling my own story, I can convey what has worked and not worked for me, both as someone with a serious mental illness (SMI) and a Faith & Mental Health Advocate.
This week has been productive. I now have a draft of 8 chapters (6,273 words). I’ve come to the point in my narrative where I have my first significant manic episode. March of 1995. I will go on to reflect on the dozen years of pastoral ministry that followed and the now dozen years of intentional mental health ministry.
I’m very excited about this project. In so many ways, I think this is just the book I need to write and that needs to be written. Delight was personal therapy that carried me through five very difficult years. It was a prayer to God, an offering of my wounded soul to the One who alone heals.
This book will be just as personal, but it will also be a passionate appeal to faith communities to do what they are called to do. My goal is not to berate, but to inspire. I want to tell the story of how the Holy Spirit has worked through believers who have a heart for ministry among those often considered the least.
My hope is that God will use this book to build bridges between faith and mental illness. Persons with mental illness often mistrust church folk. People in the pews want to reach out, but don’t know where to start. If I am successful in writing the book that needs to be written, ministries will emerge where faith leaders and persons with mental illness will openly give glory to God together, breaking down walls of stigma and offering hope for those who often see none.
My goal is ambitious. I would like to have a release date of Pentecost, 2020. May 31. I believe I can have a quality draft in time, but publishing a successful a successful electronic and print book requires so much more. Especially since I’m doing it on a shoestring budget.
To pull this off, I could use your help. At this time, I need:
- Savvy social media folks who can help me generate enthusiasm. A graphic designer would be a big plus.
- A marketing manager who could help me develop a pre-sale campaign.
If you or someone you know would be willing and eager to help in one of these ways, I’d love to hear from you.
From the Introduction:
When people asked Jesus what they must do to be saved, he shifted their focus from personal piety to community delight. He didn’t give them a prescription for holy living. He told them stories.
The kingdom of God is like… a woman finding a precious pearl… a father throwing a lavish party for his lost son… an outsider lifting a wounded man out of the ditch and providing for his care.
“Rabbi Jesus, how shall we do mental health ministry?”
“Let me tell you a story.”