During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Leader Calls on Church to be at Forefront of Healing
Once-Suicidal Evangelist Jay Lowder Shares Personal Story, Challenges Faith Groups to Dig into Difficult Issue
WICHITA FALLS, Texas, August 24, 2016 – During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, international speaker and ministry leader Jay Lowder, founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries and author of “Midnight in Aisle 7,” is challenging faith leaders to create an environment of openness and honesty for individuals suffering from depression and considering suicide.
“Depression, anxiety, and suicide are not topics that we, as a society, feel comfortable addressing, and the Church has been even less willing to do so,” said Lowder. “But no one is immune when it comes to thoughts of hopelessness, even those sitting in the pews of a church each week.”
At the age of 21, Lowder found himself living the life of an alcoholic who was skeptical of God, the Church, and his Christian upbringing. Unable to cope with the difficulties life had thrown at him, Lowder held a .22-caliber pistol to his temple prepared to end his own life. Thankfully, Lowder was saved by an unexpected, yet timely visit from his roommate.
What followed this encounter was a search for truth. He attended a youth rally in which he heard a gospel message from a pastor who had also once considered suicide, and it was then Lowder began to realize how his pain could be used for good.
“My biggest tragedy became my biggest triumph,” said Lowder, who has been in full-time ministry since 1989. “Everything meant to destroy me became the platform to help other people escape the same danger zone in which I walked.”
As a Christian evangelist who today travels the world sharing his story, Lowder recognizes the Church still has a lot to learn about how to minister to the suffering by creating environments for open and accepting discussions.
As Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is observed in September, Lowder encourages church leaders to be on the forefront of honesty and openness, starting discussion groups, workshops and other forms of interaction for individuals in their church and communities.
“Now is the perfect time for leaders to facilitate transparency and engagement through sermons, Bible studies and training,” Lowder said. “We have been silent too long. We can’t be scared to admit that suicide and depression are real issues. We must welcome those conversations within our schools, churches and communities.”
Jay Lowder is founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries, an organization that exists to bring hope to individuals while inspiring others to do the same. In addition to speaking at churches, schools and community events, Lowder has appeared on various national radio and TV shows, and is a regular contributor to TheBlaze.com, where he pens editorial pieces related to cultural issues, including suicide. For additional information, visit http://www.jaylowder.com.