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Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast with Kayla Stoecklein

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” -Brad Metzler

I did not want to listen to this episode. I started listening to this podcast after hearing @careynieuwhof speak at FutureFWD and it’s usually really encouraging but I knew this episode specifically that speaks about anxiety, depression, and suicide would be a rough one to hear and it was. It IS. @kaylasteck is the wife of a pastor that we lost to suicide and hearing about how this all went down was gut-wrenching. 

The thing that hit me hard was when Kayla was describing this sermon that Andrew was about to give in the above quote and the sense was that “it had to go on.” I watch a lot of sermons and I wonder how many times I’ve seen a sermon (or even sketched a sermon) where the pastor was going through some personal turmoil that no one even knew about. I’m sure there are fights that haven’t been resolved but how many times do we see a pastor preaching about the light but going through unspeakable darkness?

When I go to church, or even when I listen online I’m not there for a performance. If my pastor came out one Sunday morning and said “I planned to preach today but I have a real problem that needs to be solved. Please worship amongst yourselves, use this time for prayer and go home early” I would totally be ok with that. I hate to hear the pressure that pastors are under and the idea that they have to face it alone. I don’t know how we change the narrative but I know we don’t change anything by pretending it’s not a problem.