California church leader, writer and mental health counselor, Jarrid Wilson, has died by suicide on Monday at the age of 30.
Wilson was a passionate preacher and a megachurch pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.
Along with his wife, Juli, Wilson co-founded a nonprofit mental health organization called Anthem of Hope.
The author of “Jesus Swagger: Break Free from Poser Christianity” was quite vocal about his depression. He often used to post his mental health struggles on his social media accounts.
Paul Eaton, the Administrative Pastor of Harvest, said in a statement, “At a time like this, there are just no words. Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”
“At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day,” continued Eaton.
On September 9, Wilson tweeted:
Loving Jesus doesn’t always
cure suicidal thoughts.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.
But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.
He ALWAYS does that.
On the same day, he also tweeted, “Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family.”
The news of Wilson’s death by suicide came on the World Suicide Prevention Day, which is observed every year on September 10. His death follows several suicides among church leaders who often preached about mental health issues, including Andrew Stoecklien, who was a 30-year-old pastor.
Wilson wrote books such as “Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World,” “30 Words: A Devotional for the Rest of Us,” and “Wondrous Pursuit: Daily Encounters with an Almighty God.”
Pastor Eaton explained that Wilson wanted to help people who struggle with depression and had suicidal thoughts. Eaton said, “Tragically, Jarrid took his own life. Over the years, I have found that people speak out about what they struggle with the most.”
Wilson’s Anthem of Hope breaks down the stigma attached to mental health issues and creates resources through the church to people who deal with anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.
Challenging the idea that people who commit suicide are condemned to hell, Wilson said, “Those who say suicide automatically leads to hell obviously don’t understand the totality of mental health issues in today’s world, let alone understand the basic theology behind compassion and God’s all-consuming grace.”
He added, “We must do better at educating people on things they have a hard time wrapping their heads around. And mental health is definitely [a] topic Christians around the world must yearn to better understand.” Pastor Justin Herman, who knew Wilson, said, “I know the guy loved Jesus and I know that he loved what he was doing, loved his family. Wilson was not just going with the program of life. He was counter to culture and shaped culture in a lot of ways.”