A year-and-a-half ago, David Murray and his film-making team drove from Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan to our home in Plymouth, Wisconsin. The purpose of their trip was to spend two days with my family and me, and interview me on the subject of depression, specifically how a pastor and biblical counselor fights his ongoing battle with anxiety and depressive tendencies. The interview was skillfully developed into a mini-documentary (1 of 4), which David has now made available to the Christian public at no charge through his HeadHeartHand blog and film ministry.
Watch the video here, first. Then return here for three suggestions as to how you can benefit from the interview and use it to strengthen your own counseling-one-another ministries.
Okay, now that you have watched the film. Here are three suggested uses:
FOR YOURSELF: Personal Study, Reflection, and Self-Evaluation
Use the three-page study guide composed and provided by Dr. Murray. Spend time in your own personal meditation of the Psalms that were mentioned in the film. Begin journaling your thoughts and how God uses His Word to minister to your heart and renew your mind. Begin learning to pray as the psalmists prayed in their times of depression. Pray these psalms back to God.
FOR YOUR PASTOR(S): Prayer and Encouragement
The statistics concerning depression among pastors are nothing short of staggering. After viewing the video, compose a list of the ways you can pray for your pastor(s) more effectively. If you don’t know where to start then check out this great resource from Life Action Ministries (and ask your elders if you may purchase enough for your entire church).
Consider giving your financial resources to send your pastor to this important, upcoming conference, Restoration: Redeeming Ministry.
Read the following articles from the Association of Biblical Counselors.
- Depression and the Ministry: The Need for Wise Disclosure
- Depression and the Ministry: Biblical Soul Care
Also (I know I’ve already given you enough to do!), don’t forget your pastor’s wife and look for gracious ways to minister to her. Here’s a recent post that my friend Brian Croft permitted me to publish from his recent book on the pastor’s family.
FOR YOUR SMALL GROUP: Watch Film and Discuss Study Questions
Use the film in your small group and spend time in discussion. Use the study guide as a starting point. I suggest you spend a few meetings on the topic, meditating on the Scriptures mentioned, together.
Allow me to also recommend John Piper’s outstanding counsel in a short sermon entitled, Battling the Unbelief of Despondency.
As I already stated, I realize I have given you many suggestions. However, if you take them, you will find your own heart and soul enriched and your ministry of encouragement to others greatly strengthened. Who benefits from that? Everyone in your church!