A Conversation for Those Standing at the Intersection of Faith and Mental Health


Cultural Critics and Ministry Contractors

A frequent question asked by faith leaders wanting to support those with mental illness is, “How do I build a mental health ministry?” This isn’t a bad question. It comes from a place of a sincere desire to help. However, when hearing it, the oft-repeated phrase from management guru Peter Drucker comes to mind, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. There are many fine strategies for building mental health ministries that include support groups, educational curriculum, and partnerships with local organizations. All of them, though, will have limited success unless a culture of open dialogue pervades all aspects of congregational life. Without this cultural foundation, support groups will be stigmatized as the place for “those people”, while our existing small groups remain unsupportive of people with lived experience. None of this means peer support, education or community partnerships shouldn’t be pursued. It just means we need to get the order straight. We must become cultural critics before ministry contractors. While ministry contractors focus on building new programs, cultural critics attend to the conversations happening and not happening in existing programs. Once our congregation’s culture has been addressed through storytelling and dialogue, a pathway has now opened for contractors to build.

David Eckert, Director of Intersect

Recommended Resources
Below are resources for the purpose of wellness, education, and service.

Blueprint 1543 / Better Together: How to bring church and social services together (feat: Dave Eckert)

Emma Baker, BP intern from George Fox University interviews Dave Eckert, ordained minister and trained social worker, doing dynamic work at the intersection of these worlds.


Civil Conversations Workshop: Stepping Into Good Conflict

In our society, we navigate challenging conversations and encounter conflict regularly. How do we do so civilly? How can you have your voice and ideas be heard? How can you listen more to understand others?

In this workshop, we will learn and engage in the civil conversation model by participating in a facilitated civil conversation together centered on the theme of conflict.

This model was developed by Interfaith Philadelphia in partnership with On Being by Krista Tippett and is designed to support conversations on deeply held beliefs such as religion, faith, and world views.

Through this model we can, “convene meaningful conversations designed to bring us more understanding of each other in the midst of times and voices that would have us turning away from one another.”

When: October 25th, 9:00am - 11:00am

Where: 2506 N. Broad Street, Colmar, PA 18915


Multi-Faith Coalition

Watch our new video introducing the Multi-Faith Coalition, its mission, and its team. The Montgomery County Multi-Faith Coalition is a convener of people from faith communities and service partners to promote collaboration, dialogue, and sharing resources & knowledge for the common good.


Hope4Tomorrow Community QPR Training

Join Ty Williams as he equips attendees to navigate the three steps to help save a life from suicide.

When: October 16th, 12:00pm - 2:00pm

Where: Online via Zoom

Looking for a way to help those in your community?

Shave Love, Give Warmth

Brooke Glenn Behavioral Hospital has teamed up with Access Services Street Outreach Program to collect items needed to keep unhoused people warm and safe this winter.  Drop-off boxes will be available for the month of October at Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, Abington and Lansdale Police Stations, Mission First in Pottstown, Bryn Mawr Hospital and Upper Perkiomen Community Church (office open Tuesdays and Thursdays), or there’s an option to shop online and have the items sent directly to our office to be disseminated as needed.  Information can be found on the Access Services and Community Needs Facebook pages. 

Intersect: Community Needs Facebook Group

This Facebook group functions as a care portal for faith communities who are looking to meet local needs in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. We will post needs specific to the individuals supported by Access Services. These may include needs for relational support, material resources, and/or monetary donations. We encourage you to share this page with your family and friends. While we started this page to provide concrete service opportunities to local faith communities, we encourage any community members who are interested in giving back to join!

Questions to Ponder

  1. Do you tend to be more of a cultural critic or ministry contractor in your faith community?  Which of these roles is more required of you at the current moment?
  2. How would you assess the culture of your faith community as it relates to open dialogue and storytelling about mental health?
  3. Are there any new mental health ministry programs that would be helpful to your faith community at the present moment?

Do you have something to contribute or a question to ask?

Intersect is brought to you by:


Access Services
500 W Office Center Drive, Suite 100  | Fort Washington, Pennsylvania 19034
215-540-2150, x1286    deckert@accessservices.org

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