United Methodist Leader Breaks Silence on Mental Health in the Church

September 9, 2019 by Staff of The Upper Room


Nashville, TN: Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries, advocates transparent discussion about mental health in the church in his new book Soul Reset: Breakdown, Breakthrough, and the Journey to Wholeness. Soul Reset was released by Upper Room Books on September 1, 2019.

In Soul Reset, Dotson reveals his deep struggles with depression and burnout and comments that the church has not always been a friendly place to discuss the realities of mental health. Dotson writes, “In the church, we sometimes tend to super-spiritualize things to a point where we create a taboo around mental illness. This prevents many of us from publicly sharing where we are because of the stigma associated with depression and antidepressants.”

This taboo mindset led Dotson to ignore his own pain until his depression led to him to have a breakdown in the middle of conducting a funeral, where he had to be rushed to the hospital. This event led Dotson to realize that he needed a soul reset—a holistic healing of mind, body, and spirit. Dotson warns church and lay leaders, “Until we create churches that allow for more authenticity and transparency—where it’s okay to not be okay—we’ll continue to hear about burnout, stress, depression, anxiety, suicides, exhaustion, and breakdowns.” 

Dotson uses his personal experiences of breakdown and breakthrough, along with familiar biblical examples, to lead others through a soul reset in his new 6-week study. Soul Reset can be used as a churchwide study and includes companion resources such as: downloadable video sessions; a DVD; age-level discussion guides for children, youth, and adults; sermon starters, and an eCourse. Learn more about Soul Reset and the companion resources at SoulReset.org.

About the Author: A recognized visionary leader in church revitalization, the Rev. Junius B. Dotson is the General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church. Prior to his present position, Rev. Dotson served as pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he was instrumental in transforming the church into a 3,500-member multi-campus congregation.

About The Upper Room: The Upper Room is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. From its beginnings as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service. To learn more, visit UpperRoom.org


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