Pastor Rick Warren, author of best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life, is working on a new ministry a year after his son’s death.
Matthew Warren, Pastor Warren’s 27-year-old son, committed suicide by shooting himself last year. He had been struggling with suicidal thoughts and depression for several years.
Warren said that he was not going to waste the pain he felt over the death of his son. He believes that most of the time, a great ministry results from the deepest pain. Warren wrote on his journal to cope with his son’s death, and one of the things he wrote was “in God’s garden of grace even broken trees bear fruit.”
After his son’s death, Warren and his wife Kay received thousands of letters and messages from people sharing their own experiences and struggles with various kinds of mental illness. The pastor, founder of Saddleback Church, will work on the ministry together with the National Alliance of Mental Illness and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange to spread awareness on the subject.
About 12 years ago, Warren and his wife also began ministering about HIV and AIDS. Warren says that he thought that was the biggest taboo topic, but now he thinks that mental illness is one of the issues that people must be aware of.
The conference will open talks on a wide range of mental illnesses including anxiety, bipolar disorder, addiction, and eating disorders, among others. There will also be 20 interactive workshops throughout the conference that are available to all attendees. The conference’s main goal is to provide churches the resources they need in order to aid churchgoers or their relatives and friends who are dealing with a mental illness.
The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church will be held on March 28 at Saddleback.
Your greatest ministry could come out of your greatest pain. pic.twitter.com/FerZRutDZH
— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) February 25, 2014
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