Believe it or not, suicide is getting common when it comes to death among pastors in the United States; It is the sad story of Andrew Stoecklein, 30, a young pastor who died last Saturday after attempting to kill himself Friday night.
Stoecklein was the senior pastor at Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, and had been open about his battle with depression and anxiety. His wife, Kayla, took to Instagram Monday to pay tribute to the father of three.
Kayla asked for prayer for her and the boys, noting that she is “completely heartbroken, lost, and empty.”
“Never in a million years would I have imagined this would be the end of his story,” she added. “If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions, please tell someone. Please make sure you’re not alone, and please call a friend or family member before you make that irreversible decision. You are loved and valued more than you know!”
In a recent talk, delivered on August 12, Stoecklein appeared alongside his wife to inform the church about some of the personal issues he had been facing over the past several months. He also took the opportunity to address the absolutely devastating mental health crisis that is plaguing our nation.
Pastor Andrew’s suicide is bringing attention to all the pressure on men and women in ministry.
CBN News had a chance to speak with Fernando Garzon, a clinical psychologist, and professor with Regent University, to talk about the tragic situation and the realities facing pastors.
“Pastors have a real challenge in a sense that they give so much to so many people and many times the standard of behavior and conduct for pastors is so much higher that they feel isolated,” Garzon said.
Taking into account this statement came out the following questions “Who does a pastor go to when they want to talk about different situations? Who does a pastor share his heart with?”
“It is really the loneliness, the isolation that can happen in the ministry is something important for all churches to be aware of.” Professor Garzon continued.
Professor Garzon suggested that churches and the community can be helpful to pastors by giving them a place and opportunity to “fill up” and receive encouragement.