Dec 08, 2017 by Alyssa Duvall

Pastor Bill Lenz Takes His Own Life After Years Of Suicide Prevention Ministry

On Monday, the many loved ones, colleagues, and ministry partners of Pastor Bill Lenz were shocked and devastated to discover that he had taken his own life. Lenz, 60, was the senior pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church (CTRCC) in Menasha, Wisconsin. What is all the more troubling to those close to Lenz is that his church founded a thriving suicide prevention ministry, run by Lenz' brother, Bob, called Life Promotions.

In a Facebook post announcing the tragedy, CTRCC shared that "Bill had been suffering from depression for the last three months. He was seeing a counselor and doctor and reaching out to friends for help in walking through this, but depression eventually claimed his life on Earth."

In a Tuesday interview with the Christian Post, CTRCC's executive pastor Curt Drexler revealed that Lenz had been dismissed for a sabbatical after experiencing several sudden panic attacks. "Over the last three months," Drexler said, "he had what he would have just called anxiety. He would have bouts where he would be close to panic attacks or he would have panic attacks. And it was just so mysterious for him because he had never dealt with anything related to that at all. It was troubling to him. 'Like where did this come from.'"

Drexler says that he and others are determined to remember Lenz as the "optimistic, faith-filled man" that he was, and shared some personal context as to why Lenz' history of suicide prevention ministry work makes his death all the more painful: "Christ the Rock was birthed out of a street ministry called Solid Rock and in those days our mission, we felt, and our calling was to simply share the Gospel with all who wanted to hear. But our audience often were individuals who were in trauma. They may have had any number of life-controlling issues — alcohol, drugs, certainly poverty, homelessness — but also suicide was one of those areas where we were deeply involved in."

"In those early days one of the first things we had was a suicide hotline for individuals who were feeling hopeless so that we could offer hope 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Drexler continued. "So that was in our legacy, it was in our roots and has always been true for us as a church, counseling here...Just as Christ accepts us we wanna accept them, and so this has been Bill's heart. He led the way for this and in his private conversations with individuals who had reached out to him and individuals he had reached out to, this is what he was known for. That is why it is maddening to know that he, in his darkest hour, lost track of that hope."

Lenz deeply touched the lives of many hurting people through his ministry, some of whom reached out on CTRCC's Facebook page to share their stories. Steven Worley wrote, "Bill led me to Christ in 2012. After my own suicide attempt and battle with addiction, Bill preached to me about the hope and forgiveness offered in Jesus. Without Bill, I might not be here either. You will be greatly missed. Although I never expressed how much I owed to you, I'm looking forward to telling you all about it one day when I join you in the presence of our beautiful savior."

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