Transform Ideas Expands to St. Cloud and Rochester, with Mental Health Forum

Transform Ideas Expands to St. Cloud and Rochester

Transform Minnesota is thrilled to expand the reach of Transform Ideas across the state by bringing our thoughtful and engaging public forum to St. Cloud and Rochester.

We are thrilled to be offering Transform Ideas all across the state…

On September 25, Calvary Community Church hosted the first Transform Ideas forum in St. Cloud, the topic was mental health and the church. And we are excited to announce, on November 29th, we are bringing Transform Ideas: Awakening the Church to Mental Health to Rochester. The public forum will be held at Rochester Covenant Church from 7-9pm.

“We are thrilled to be offering Transform Ideas all across the state. The goal of Transform Ideas is to present distinct, local voices to share ideas that can inspire, inform and engage Christians as thoughtful citizens of the Kingdom of God, serving the common good,” said Carl Nelson, president of Transform Minnesota.

We’ve never been to a forum like this where the church is addressing mental health.
“It was helpful to have Transform Ideas closer to us in St. Cloud, it was nice not to have to travel to the Cities to attend. We’ve never been to a forum like this where the church is addressing mental health. It’s a good time to be sharing how to handle it, and how to deal with mental health,” said an attendee from Becker Baptist Church, in Becker, MN.

Mental Health Topic Resonates with St. Cloud Crowd

Nearly 300 people from the St. Cloud area attended Transform Ideas St. Cloud, which offered a variety of perspectives; from the clinical to the personal and the spiritual.

A clinical social worker from Nystrom and Associates shared a powerful list of Dos and Don’ts for the Church in addressing mental health; and urged Christians to stop judging or condemning people with mental illness.

“We need to approach people with God’s heart. People with mental illness want the same things that the rest of us want; they want to belong, they want to be in a community, they want to have meaning and purpose, they want to connect and serve. God is calling the Church to love them, and minister to them,” said Sarah Gross, MSW, LICSW, Nystrom and Associates.

…we should respond to those with mental illness like Jesus did.
Gross shared how the Church should not try to treat or demonize people’s mental illness, but instead should refer people to trained therapists. And as the body of Christ, we should respond to those with mental illness like Jesus did.

“Jesus responded with compassion, he touched them. You don’t have to be an oncologist to care for those with cancer, the same is true for mental illness. We need all God’s ways of healing: loving and touching people, we need medical intervention, lifestyle changes, prayer, and community,” said Gross.

“The Church is uniquely equipped to minister hope and healing to those with mental illness, because we are directly tapped into the wonderful counselor, the great physician,” said Gross.

Brandon Jensen a Marriage and Family Therapist with The Center for Family Counseling in St. Cloud shared about mental health struggles of adolescents in the local community.

Pastor Shares Moving Personal Testimony

Pastor Ned Eerdmans of CrossRoads Church in Fergus Falls told his personal testimony of battling severe anxiety that crippled him, his marriage and his identity.

“I was experiencing something I didn’t understand.  I didn’t understand the thoughts that made me question everything.  I began to fall into a dark state of anxiety, erratic behavior and profound sleeplessness.  I began to question my life, my career, my marriage, and even my faith.  I got to the point that this toxic cocktail of competing and intense feelings were too much for me to handle.   I considered how I could erase myself from family photos fearing what may come next,” said Pastor Ned Eerdmans.

I am under no illusion.  My illness is not cured.  It is managed. 
With strength and vulnerability, Pastor Ned shared how he found help and hope in his diagnosis through medical treatment, honesty and prayer.

“I am under no illusion.  My illness is not cured.  It is managed.  God has shown grace and strength each day and I am eternally thankful.  I am also thankful to share my story.  I believe that a healthy understanding of mental illness among our churches and denominational leaders will not only be enlightening, but also it will eventually save lives.  A diagnosis of mental illness followed by appropriate treatment is not the end of everything.  It may be only the beginning.”

Read more of Pastor Ned Eerdmans’ story

St. Cloud Area Churches Welcome Transform Ideas

“We came as a group of church workers and we’re usually the ones people come to for help, not the ones asking for help.

listening to someone in that role as a pastor being willing to open up and be vulnerable was really encouraging
So hearing Ned share his story and listening to someone in that role as a pastor being willing to open up and be vulnerable was really encouraging,” said an attendee from Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson.

“I’ve had depression in the past and to be able to listen to all 3 members of the panel; with a pastor, and two mental health workers was really helpful to know that there are a lot of people who suffer and the different ways to approach getting help was really beneficial to me,” said another attendee from Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson.

 

 

More Resources:

Why We Need to Tackle Mental Health in the Church

Christian Counselors Referral List

Dos and Don’ts for Churches Addressing Mental Illness

Transform Ideas Minneapolis – April, 19, 2018

Awakening the Church to Mental Health

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