Young Pastor’s Life Ended Too Soon

When in a leadership position there are many people that depend on you, but not many that you can confide in.

The stress can accumulate to unsettling levels, leaving you struggling to balance roles and responsibilities thrust upon you.

For one young man, the load of having family, being a friend, and a leader reached a breaking point no one saw coming.

Fox News reported:

“A widow has posted a touching tribute on social media this week, just days after her husband, a Southern California pastor, reportedly took his own life — a tragedy that has shaken his church community.”

Megachurch Pastor Andrew Stoecklein led Inland Hills Church in Chino, California. A congregation his father had begun before passing away in 2015.

A couple of weeks ago, Friday, Stoecklein attempted suicide in the church, but someone who saw him called for help before the gruesome deed was done, according to Christian Post.

The thwarted attempt on his own life did not dissuade the troubled pastor, and the following day a loving husband and father of three did the unthinkable.

Stoecklein’s wife, Kayla, left a beautiful tribute post that gave a good depiction of the type of man that will be missed by many.

She posted how “He truly made me better, made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, and he loved me so deeply.”

Adding how the busy pastor had been suffering from anxiety and depression, but that she didn’t see it ending in his untimely death.

Last night, the love of my life, the father of my children and the pastor of our incredible church took his last breath and went to be with Jesus. It wasn’t the miracle I was hoping for but he is now in heaven with his dad, free of pain, free of depression and anxiety. • He was an amazing husband, he truly made me better, made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world, and he loved me so deeply. We fit so well together, we were one. He was an amazing daddy, his three boys are going to miss him so much. He had such a unique and special relationship with each of them. He was an incredibly gifted teacher, communicator, and pastor. He was special, one of a kind and will be missed by thousands of people all around the world. • Please pray for me and the boys. I don’t know how I am going to face this, I am completely heartbroken, lost, and empty. Never in a million years would I have imagined this would be the end of his story. • If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions, please tell someone. Please make sure you’re not alone, and please call a friend or family member before you make that irreversible decision. You are loved and valued more than you know! #godsgotthis

A post shared by Kayla Stoecklein (@kaylasteck) on

It is unknown what exactly triggered Pastor Andrew to take his own life, but it is suspected that those in the church know more than is being revealed.

A church official going by the name Pastor Chris told Christian Post that the situation surrounding the suicide cannot be “immediately discussed.”

Crime Prevention supervisor, Tamrin Olden, of the Chino Police Department, also, would not disclose any details surrounding the Pastor’s case.

Olden was able to reveal to Christian Post information not in the police report, however.

She explained how the whole department is taking the death of 30-year-old Andrew Stoecklein very hard, because of their personal involvement with him and his church.

Many officers were members of Inland Hills Church, and the department collaborated with the Pastor on “faith-based initiatives.”

While some outside of the Church were shocked to hear of the successful and loving family man’s actions, those inside church leadership had known Stoecklein was struggling with his mental health.

When the death occurred, it had only been 2 weeks since he had left for a four month sabbatical to take care of his anxiety and depression.

On August 12th, the vibrant pastor told the congregation that he had been “falling apart for several months”, according to Christian Post.

When his father died in 2015, he carried the heavy responsibility of taking over as lead pastor to a fellowship that had multiple services every Sunday, in addition to weekly functions and supportive roles to members.

Then, a few months ago the Pastor had to move his family to a safer area after stalkers would not leave them alone, according to the Christian Post.

On top of these giant stressors, Stoecklein developed health complications himself that led to the removal of multiple masses in his chest.

The load seemed unbearable to the struggling Pastor, and after several panic attacks and a short stent at a hospital for mental health issues Stoecklein gave in to the fight.

While this action is deeply saddening, bringing his family unimaginable pain, it is not completely uncommon for individuals in a pastoral position to feel crushed by the weight of responsibilities and expectations.

CBN News reports on a clinical psychologist’s, Fernando Garzon, insights into the pressures of pastoral roles:

Pastors have a real challenge in a sense that they give so much to so many people,” he said, “and many times the standard of behavior and conduct for pastors is so much higher that they feel isolated.”

Many people take on too many roles in their life causing overwhelming stress, such as mother, leader, friend, employee, and more.

Feelings of suicidal thoughts should never be taken lightly. If you are experiencing panic attacks, feelings of hopelessness, or considering taking your own life, take action now.

Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or talk with a trusted friend or family member immediately.

You are valued, loved, and made with purpose.

Please let us know in the comments section what you think about the pastor’s death, and how we can prevent future incidents like these.

 

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