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ARC Shares Mental Health Tips for Church Planting

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Pastor Toby Slough of Cross Timbers Church in Texas has faced many challenges in his 30-plus years of launching a church and seeing it thrive. He was called to launch his church for many reasons, but one of his top priorities was raising awareness for mental health wellness. Now, his organization, Goby Ministries, partners with ARC (Association of Related Churches) to provide resources and support to other church planters. 

More than 30 years ago, Toby Slough was diagnosed with an anxiety panic disorder at a time when mental health was taboo and hardly ever spoken about. Struggling through that in the 1990s was challenging, to say the least, and it got so bad that he tried to take his life one day.

Today, there isn’t such a negative stigma around mental health wellness; fortunately, so many people feel more comfortable seeking help when they need it.

Toby Slough says Cross Timbers Church was built out of the recovery movement because he was in the middle of the learning process. Twenty years into the process, he wrote a book about all the lessons he’s learned while battling anxiety and panic.

Pastor Slough has learned many lessons as a partner of ARC (Association of Related Churches). Below are some mental health tips the ARC church leader has for those planting a church.

Connect God’s Power

Toby Slough says that at first, his definition of freedom was getting to a point where he would never have a panic attack and never feel anxious.

Through study, prayer, and counseling, though, he realized that freedom wasn’t the absence of those things but instead connecting to the power grid within yourself in the middle of those things.

Through his book and other means, the ARC church planter is now helping people connect God’s power to the very real issues that they’re dealing with in their lives. 

This is especially important if you have kids because the greatest gift you can give your child is creating a healthy version of yourself.

Fight What You Feel with What You Know

It can be challenging to get out from within yourself when you’re feeling anxiety, panic, and depression. Pastor Slough says that the isolation gets to you when you’re experiencing these things. The little voice inside you gets louder, telling you lies about yourself.

It may be easy for ARC church planters to feel this type of doubt, as they might feel uncomfortable about their new venture — all while balancing life’s many other challenges.

The way to get out of this is to fight what you feel with what you know. Toby Slough says a friend reminded him of the 40 “I AMs,” which are 40 statements in the Bible through which God says who you are.

Those 40 I AMs have become the foundation of Cross Timbers Church’s teachings.

Learn to Rest

All leaders who work with ARC (Association of Related Churches) need to recognize the importance of rest. Pastor Slough says that teaching people how to rest is a big part.

It’s not about ceasing from all activity but how to rest your soul. This can come in the form of doing something you love — whether it be reading, exercising, playing sports, or cooking.

Help people discover their rhythm, what feeds their soul, and they’ll be able to rest better and be recharged, ready to open up their lives to the word of God.

About ARC (Association of Related Churches)

ARC (Association of Related Churches) represents a collaborative network comprising independent congregations from various denominations, networks, and backgrounds. Its primary mission is to provide essential support and resources to church planters and pastors, enabling them to effectively share the teachings of Jesus. ARC’s operational approach revolves around empowering and equipping church leaders, fostering the widespread dissemination of the life-changing message of Jesus. Established in 2000, ARC has evolved into a worldwide entity and has played a pivotal role in facilitating the establishment of over 1,000 new churches.

Members of the editorial and news staff of the Daily Caller were not involved in the creation of this content.