It comes with great sadness to inform our readers of some tragic news that has come in. A mega-church pastor has taken his own life Saturday, August 25. He leaves behind a wife and three sons.
At this time, we are asking our readers to pray for the family and all the members of the church. This is a difficult time for hundreds of people, and we just ask that you keep the church family in your thoughts and prayers.
Members and regular churchgoers of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California are left in shock and brokenhearted after their lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein, decided to take his own life on Saturday. He died from self-inflicted injuries.
Stoecklein had been battling high levels of depression and anxiety and decided he couldn't handle it anymore. Stoecklein was 30 years old.
"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," Inland Hills Church wrote in a statement on Facebook late Sunday.
"It's not the outcome we hoped and prayed for, and today we grieve as a church family," the church added.
Father Died Young
According to the "Christian Post," Stoecklein lost his father, Dave Stoecklein, who was a pastor, to leukemia on October 9, 2015. He was only 55 years old. While it's unclear as to how long Stoecklein had been battling depression, he did write in a blog post on the first anniversary of his father's death. He shared that life was a lot harder without his father, who he called his hero, in it.
"Life without you is harder than I imagined it would be. I miss you every day, more and more. I sit in your office and meet with people. I thumb through your library as I prepare the messages each week. I stand on your stage to communicate the grace and truth of Jesus. Your example of how to be a husband, father, pastor, leader, and follower of Jesus is literally all around me. And for that I am so grateful," the brokenhearted son wrote.
When the second anniversary of his father's death came around, Stoecklein landed in the hospital to undergo two surgeries to remove a mass in his chest. There were no reports as to what caused the mass or if it was related to stress, depression, or another form of injury.
"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 announcement continued.
In the statement released by the church, they encouraged anyone who is hurting to seek help.
"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."
Please keep the Stoecklein family in your prayers!