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Mental Wellness and the Church

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2


We, at Mount Olive, are taking a vested interest in pursuing a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Savior and desire to reach out to those who suffer from mental illness. The first step in outreach was to educate the church, the community, and assess the need within our sphere of influence. We launched this effort on May 16, 2015 by inviting Pastor Todd Peperkorn of Holy Cross Lutheran, Rocklin to come speak about his own journey of suffering from severe depression. We had approximately 40 people attend from the surrounding communities and church. This event brought to light what we already suspected...that people have been wounded by people within the church by careless words; family members of those suffering from a mental illness need support; and individuals suffering from clinical depression or another mental illness feel alone and misunderstood. We want to change this! We want to reach those who are suffering to know they are not alone and that Christ loves them and we love them!

How are we going about doing this? First, we are attempting to educate the Church about how She can help in a God-pleasing, non-co-dependent way, non-judgemental way through offering hope, friendship, and practical support. Our hope and prayer is that this will result in God using our lives to bless people. The first step is always education! So, below is a list of resources provided by Pastor Todd along with a couple additional suggested readings. 


In the future, we hope to initiate a structured support group that is Christ-centered, while providing an open forum to respectfully and compassionatly discuss the challenges that families and individuals affected by mental illness face on a daily basis. If you sense God is calling you to share in this ministry opportunity or you want to be a participant/recipient, then you may contact Robin Hochgrebe at






On Depression

Greene-McCreight, Kathryn. Darkness is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2006.


Hart, Archibald D. Unmasking Male Depression. Thomas Nelson, 2001.


Karp, David A. Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness. Oxford University Press, USA, 1997.


Peperkorn, Todd A. I Trust When Dark My Road: A Lutheran View of Depression. St. Louis: LCMS World Relief and Human Care, 2009.


Rogers, Matt. Losing God: Clinging to Faith Through Doubt and Depression. IVP Books, 2008.


Solomon, Andrew. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. Scribner, 2002.


Stryker, William. Visible Darkness: A Memoir of Madness. New York: Random House, 1990.


For the Families of Loved Ones

Karp, David A. The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness. New York: Oxford University Press, USA, 2002.


Strauss, Cluadia J. Talking to Depression: Simple Ways to Connect When Someone in Your Life is Depressed. New York: New American Library, USA, 2004.


On the Theology of the Cross

Floysvik, Ingvar. When God Becomes My Enemy: The Theology of the Complaint Psalms. Concordia College, 1997.


Forde, Gerhard O., and Martin Luther. On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518 (Theology). Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997.


Lewis, C.S. A Grief Observed. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1961, 2001.


Schulz, Gregory. The Problem of Suffering: A Father’s Thoughts on the Suffering, Dead, and Life of His Children. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1996.


On Pastoral Care

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Spiritual Care. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1985.


Eyer, Richard C. Pastoral Care Under the Cross: God in the Midst of Suffering. Concordia Publishing House, 1995.


Eyer, Richard C. They Will See His Face: Worship and Healing. Concordia Publishing House, 2002.


Kleinig, John W. Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today. Concordia Publishing House, 2008.


On Pastoral Burnout

Hoge, Dean R., and Jacqueline E. Wenger. Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Church Ministry (Pulpit and Pew Series). Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2005.


Preus, Robert D. “Clergy Mental Health and the Doctrine of Justification.” Concordia Theological Quarterly 48, no. 2 & 3 (1984): 113-23.


Prayer and Devotional Works

Bansemer, Richard. Forced to Pray: God's Chosen Under Pressure. New York: American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, 2008.


Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 1974.


Burke, William. Protect Us From All Anxiety: Meditations for the Depressed. Chicago: ACTA Publications, 1998.


Deffner, Donald L. Prayers for People Under Pressure. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1992.


Gerhard, Johann. Meditations on Divine Mercy: A Classic Treasury of Devotional Prayers. Concordia Publishing House, 2003.


Kinnamon, Scot, ed. Treasury of Daily Prayer. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2008.


Lewis, C.S. Reflections on the Psalms (Harvest Book). Harvest Books, 1964.


Luther, Martin. Reading the Psalms with Luther. Concordia Publishing House, 2007.


Lutheran Book of Prayer. Rev. ed. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2005.


Lutheran Service Book. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2006.


Reardon, Patrick Henry. Christ in the Psalms. Conciliar Press, 2000.


Steinmann, Andrew E. Is God Listening: Making Prayer A Part of Your Life. Concordia Publishing House, 2004.

Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn

Holy Cross Lutheran Church

Rocklin, California May 16, 2015 

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