Sunday services at Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, will be dedicated to a time of worship and reflection in the wake of the recent suicide of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein, the church has announced.
“In lieu of our regular Sunday services, be with us for Open House Sunday anytime between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., as we process and respond in the wake of Pastor Andrew’s passing last weekend. May our church family declare God’s goodness at all times, in every season. #godsgotthis#inlandhills,” the church noted in a statement on Facebook Thursday.
Stoecklein, 30, waged a very transparent battle with depression and anxiety before attempting suicide at the church last Friday. He was pronounced dead at a hospital several hours later on Saturday.
Since his tragic death, Stoecklein’s suicide has triggered a strong show of support from prominent Christian leaders and others, many of whom did not know him. Stoecklein’s death has also sparked a discussion about pastors and mental health which many say is well needed.
This is Pastor Andrew Stoecklein of @InlandHills who lost his battle with depression/anxiety on Saturday but was trying to preach himself through it. Please pray for his family & church. If u r suicidal call 1-800-237-8255! #InlandHills #DepressionIsReal pic.twitter.com/r8tfmfPWzo
— E. Dewey Smith (@edeweysmith) August 27, 2018
“My heart is heavy although I did not know Pastor Andrew personally, he is still my brother. Reading through what his wife, friends and congregation wrote about him, he was a man of great leadership and passion for Jesus,” Miles McPherson, lead pastor of Rock Church in San Diego, California, wrote in a statement Monday.
“Often times it can be discouraging when we hear someone of leadership committing suicide. We tend to believe they’re invincible, have it all together and don’t go through struggles that most face but time and time again we see that suicidal thoughts don’t discriminate. Whether you’re rich, poor, married, single, Christian, not Christian, young, old,” McPherson continued. “Rather than being discouraged by this loss, let’s commit to praying for those in leadership to us. Pray for your pastor today, pray for your boss, your leaders, your parents/guardians. To whom much is given, much is required and the burden can be very heavy.”
Pastors are human & susceptible to mental illness. Some, like dear Pastor Andrew Stoeklein, bravely share their struggle. Others keep it hidden. Just b/c a pastor talks about their own mental health doesn’t mean they aren’t still at risk. Pray 4 ur pastor https://t.co/1eJ7aA5qbk
— Kay Warren (@KayWarren1) August 31, 2018
Saddleback Church co-founder and best-selling author Kay Warren whose son, Matthew, died by suicide at age 27 in 2013, reminded her supporters in a post on Twitter Thursday that pastors are not immune to mental illness. “Pastors are human & susceptible to mental illness. Some, like dear Pastor Andrew Stoecklein, bravely share their struggle. Others keep it hidden. Just b/c a pastor talks about their own mental health doesn’t mean they aren’t still at risk. Pray 4 ur pastor,” she said.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair