Pastor Andrew Stoecklein of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, was rushed to the hospital after he tried to kill himself on Friday, August 25, 2018.
The next morning, his church issued a statement asking for prayers for their lead pastor who had been placed on life support. The church also held a prayer vigil in his honor later that day.
Sadly, Stoecklein passed away that same day according to his wife, Kayla, who shared the sad news on Instagram.
The church also shared an update: "Inland Hills Church grieves with heavy hearts as our Lead Pastor Andrew Stoecklein was welcomed into Heaven on Saturday night after battling depression and anxiety. It's not the outcome we hoped and prayed for, and today we grieve as a church family. In his time leading Inland Hills, Andrew reached so many with his warm wit, passionate heart for God, and teaching that always, always pointed others to Jesus. The loving husband, father, son, and friend that he was will continue to inspire us in leading others into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ."
The Inland Hills Church concluded by encouraging anyone battling with suicidal thoughts get help.
"And in this tragedy, we encourage anyone who is hurting emotionally to ask for help. If you or anyone else is struggling, the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800–273-Talk (8255) is a potentially life-saving resource. May we be a beacon of hope for the community, to rescue the hurting and honor the God that Andrew served so well. Andrew, we love you. And we always will. #godsgotthis #inlandhills," the post read.
He leaves behind his wife, three young sons and his church.
Depression in church
Before attempting suicide, Stoecklein had battled with anxiety and depression for a long time. He talked about it in his August 2018 Sermon Series titled: "Hot Mess!"
His wife, Kayla, also opened up about his struggles in the video below. On August 13, 2018, she talked the importance of the four-month sabbatical he recently took. "He didn't want to stop. He would have kept on going and going and going and it probably would have cost him his life," she said.
Unfortunately, Stoecklein is not the only religious leader dealing with suicidal thoughts or depression. There are a lot of our pastors, priests and clerics who are suffering from these conditions. This is why it is so important that the church stops being so critical and become more prayerful/helpful instead. Remember, religious leaders are just like us, they are issues too.