2013 mental health motion addressed by Exec. Comm.

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee has concurred with the spirit of a motion referred from the 2013 SBC annual meeting regarding mental health ministry.

In its Feb. 17-18 meeting in Nashville, the Executive Committee voted to amend an annual ministry report form it solicits from the SBC’s entities to include questions asking appropriate entities what they are doing to assist Southern Baptist churches in equipping and ministering to people with mental health challenges.

The Executive Committee also voted to “continue to seek ways to work in cooperation with SBC entities and others to address the severe challenges imposed by mental illness.”

SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page will name a volunteer advisory body of professionals in the mental health field to advise him on possible ways of better informing Southern Baptists about available mental health service providers and resources, the committee noted.

The committee was responding to a motion by Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, at last year’s annual meeting in Houston.

The original motion Floyd introduced asked messengers to request that the Executive Committee and SBC entities “work in cooperation to assist our churches in the challenge of ministry to those suffering from mental health issues, and that each entity in their written annual ministry report inform the messengers what they have done, are doing, and will do annually to assist our churches in equipping and ministering to the people in our churches and communities who suffer with mental health challenges.”

Separate from the motion, messengers to the 2013 SBC annual meeting approved a resolution on “Mental Health Concerns and the Heart of God.” The resolution calls for the SBC to support “the wise use of medical intervention for mental health concerns when appropriate” and to “support research and treatment of mental health concerns when undertaken in a manner consistent with a biblical worldview.”

The resolution affirms that “those in Christ cannot be separated from the eternal love of God that is in Christ Jesus” and asks Southern Baptists and their churches “to look for and create opportunities to love and minister to, and develop methods and resources to care for, those who struggle with mental health concerns and their families.”