Recently found on PostSecret:
I shouldn’t have to choose between my calling and my life. I’m afraid the church won’t ordain me if I go to rehab for my depression but I’m afraid I’ll take my life if I don’t…Those two sentences were all that was written on the postcard. While the comment obviously came from another religious tradition, not Southern Baptist, it expresses something that is true for myself and other SBC clergy: Serious depression, if made public, is probably a ministry killer.
Occasionally, LifeWay or Baptist Press will carry an article by or about a pastor who has experienced serious depression. I can recall just one fellow pastor who mentioned from the pulpit (he was preaching a revival in my church) his bout with depression. We get a prominent SBC pastor every now and then who will talk about depression.
Mostly, though, your average SBC pastor understands that unless he has a ministry death wish, he better keep his mouth shut.
It is really sad that we can get sympathy and prayers from our congregations and colleagues if we suffer with heart disease or cancer but get polite sympathy followed by unspoken contempt if we admit that we have depression serious enough to require medical treatment. Being hospitalized for depression labels the minister as damaged goods. It's not fair but it is the reality on the ground.
Part of the problem, and I'm offering pure conjecture here, is that even we ministers think that depression is evidence of a spiritual problem and if a minister or layperson is seriously depressed then he must be deficient in his walk with the Lord. We may not state it so plainly but probably give that impression in our preaching and teaching.
If I preach on a passage where depression is part of the text, Jonah is probably the most familiar, I always include an admonition to get medical attention, just like for heart disease.
But for SBC clergy, no, you shouldn't have to choose between your calling and your life but if you must, choose life.