What if churches and church leaders looked at ministry with people with serious mental illnesses not as burdens to be borne but as opportunities from God for ministry?
"Studies show that various forms of brain disease, including substance abuse, are common. At least 25 percent of people — and that includes people in churches — will deal with a diagnosable mental illness at some point in life," according to this article. We can keep trying to run from mental illness or we can face the fact that it is part of the fabric of human life, is a common challenge that we humans must deal with, and is an opportunity for ministry.
This article includes a story about a pastor and congregation who have decided to look mental illness squarely in the face as they engage in ministry, and it highlights a number of helpful resources.