Members of Inland Hills Church in Chino, California, are currently grappling with grief after their lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein, succumbed to self-inflicted injuries Saturday after a battle with depression and anxiety, his church said. He was 30.
“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,” the megachurch said in an announcement on Facebook late Sunday.
“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.
The news of Stoecklein’s death came shortly after the church revealed that he had tried to take his own life on Friday morning and was placed on life support.
“IHC Family and friends, please pray for our lead pastor, Andrew Stoecklein. He tried to take his own life Friday morning, and is now in the hospital on life support. We love and serve a God of miracles, and we ask you to press in and respond in prayer and in faith. #godsgotthis,”
the church noted highlighting the tagline from a campaign started while the late pastor’s father, Dave Stoecklein, battled leukemia.
David Stoecklein, who founded Inland Hills, died Oct. 9, 2015 at the age of 55. His son leaves behind his wife, Kayla, and three sons.
Kayla took to her Instagram page to share the news and encourage those battling with suicidal thoughts. She wrote:
“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”