John Mark Comer, pastor at Bridgetown Church in Portland, Oregon, said he definitely experienced a stigma surrounding mental illness in a church he used to attend. Therapy and antidepressants were off-limits.
"To see a therapist or talk to a doctor or go on antidepressants was literally preached against by the pastor of my church," Comer says. "He would give entire sermons or sections of sermons against antidepressants as sinful. ... I grew up in a church culture where something like therapy for a pastor, I mean, that was a dirty word—therapy was a sign of failure."
But those negative experiences didn't stop Comer from transparently sharing his heart before his church, in such a way that it's brought healing to a community that needs to know they're not alone, he says on the Charisma News podcast on the Charisma Podcast Network.
"When I shared out of my vulnerability and when I first started to teach and share—I was just scared to death, and I thought everybody would lose respect for me and abandon the church," Comer says. "And it's the exact opposite; actually, you gain trust, you gain kind of a relational equity in people's hearts. And it actually makes the way of Jesus and His invitations to live in the kingdom far more accessible."
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