Another Pastor Commits Suicide

Pastor of Community Bible Church committed suicide in his homeA North Carolina pastor, Robert McKeehan, was found hanging inside his home in what is the latest tragedy surrounding church leaders. Currently there are no solid clues as to why this 42-year-old pastor would take his own life. He left a wife, two children and his Community Bible Church family in a state of confusion and grief.

High Point Police Department reported McKeehan was found hanging by his neck and unresponsive. The report stated after multiple attempts by paramedics to revive the pastor, he was pronounced dead at 8:43 p.m. from the apparent self-manipulated hanging.

Chairman of the church’s elder board, Richard Curtis, said of course the church is sad and there is a lot of numbness and grief; Community Bible Church will be poorer for the loss. The congregation struggled with the news of losing their leader during an emotional Sunday service which left many questioning why McKeehan would do such a thing. Curtis went on to say they are trying to help people understand that even though this is not the path they would have chosen for their leader they know God is sovereign and they are still going to praise and worship him.

Curtis realizes the reason McKeehan took his own life will always be one of those secret things. Although he cannot explain it, he says he does know that God has given them the promise of Romans 8:28 which reads, “God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him.” The chairman said this has been proven in times past and there is no doubt that God will once again prove this to be true as the church moves past the question of why.

The reality, explained Curtis, is they will never understand exactly why that occurred. He said pastors are just like those they lead; they are human and subject to the same struggles, trials and emotions. Their call to lead or pastor people does not exempt them from the pain everyday life.

According to many counselors, the Christian culture is the perfect breeding place for depression. Within these confounds most pastors are either unwilling or unable to get the help they need and feel forced to suffer in silence. Frustration without the proper outlet can lead to feelings of failure and despair. It is these times of personal crisis that suicides are born due to the lack of support that pastors need.

The job of a pastor is extremely stressful and can be a high-profiled job. When the stress is not managed properly it becomes easier to understand how this can send a person down the road to depression. Too often the bar is set so high for these clergy men and women, they tend to get frustrated and feel as if they cannot and will not ever be able to live up to the standards associated with leading others in ministry.

An article from 2010 in the New York Times states 57 percent of pastors said they would be happy to take another job if they were qualified; 45 percent said they have been depressed to the point of needing time off but could not afford to take off or could not express the need for it; 33 percent said within the first five years they felt a sense of burnout and 25 percent have reported they did not know where to go for help when they were dealing with personal conflicts.

McKeehan’s wife, Elizabeth, posted a request for prayers on his public Facebook page. She wrote their hearts were sad for their earthly loss while joyful for heaven’s gain. She continued by informing his “Facebook friends” that Robert McKeehan had finished his race and entered into God’s presence on Friday night. In her conclusion Elizabeth said she and their children, John and Scarlett, along with their families desire prayers for peace and comfort in the days, weeks and months ahead.” This post attracted more than 200 messages of support from church members, friends and acquaintances, all in shock.

Robert McKeehan from High Point, North Carolina was found hanging inside his home in what is the latest tragedy surrounding church leaders. This 42-year-old pastor leaves a wife, two children, family, friends and his Community Bible Church family in a state of confusion and grief. Pastor McKeehan’s celebration of life service was held on Wednesday, April 16 at First Wesleyan Church located at Providence Place in High Point.

By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


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21 Responses to "Another Pastor Commits Suicide"

  1. Maks Kashung   September 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    This really is a sad thing. My condolences to the wife and children. May God heal their pain, and give them strength to go on. Only God will be able to tell us exactly why the Pastor took his own life.
    I remember these lines by Dr. Grover Tyner (The Then President of Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary, Philippines) in 1980, who in his presidential report, wrote ” “Every member of the seminary is here because they have sensed a personal call of God. Not any of us is looking for glory or wealth; we are not thrill-seekers or power-hungry. There is no one of this faculty who could not be more profitably engaged, if worldly rewards were our goals. Too often; however, we labor under undue and often unkind frustrations because we not have a body of selected supporter whom we feel guide us, stand with us in our struggles, defend us when we are not present, believe the best of us when others speak the worst, and who it appears even work against us.”
    I just completed my three years of ministry as a full time staff at my church, and within this short period I have realized that Pastors/Ministers/Any full time church staffs can go through a lot of stress, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, depression, etc…And one of the main reasons I think is because most of the churches fail to realize that Pastors and Ministers need support, love, and care too. It is not becoming for a Church to let such a time come when the Pastor start asking or pleading for love and care. The duty of a Pastor is to love and to take care of his congregation. And the duty of the church is to take such good care of the Pastor that even when he walks through the valley of challenges, he can still be strong because he is able to say “my church is with me.”
    The issue of God being our “everything we need” I think is being used by some out of context here. Because if we followed that same line of thought, we would not be needing each other in this world. But we need each other, and Christ taught us to love another, and the Bible tells us we are one body. One part suffers, and the whole body suffers!
    So today is not a day for us to question the late Pastor’s integrity, or his action, BUT rather it is that time when the church should ask “what could we have done to help him come out of his difficult situation?!”

  2. Pastor Michael D McDuffie   September 5, 2014 at 6:57 am

    Mary wrotton…very wise…
    973-925-4559. ..
    Call in tomorrow?

  3. Thomas Healy   September 5, 2014 at 2:18 am

    This is the second Pastor that has taken his life this year. This is hard for the family and the Baptist Family to deal with. Our prayers and thoughts go to the wife and the 2 children. This will a great lose for them, the children need a father a Spiritual Leader in the family. This is why it is so important to support a good Pastor and Love him. Satan is pressing on us all and gives us the feelings of hopelessness. My God I just finished my Theology Degree and I already feel the pressure from others that are non supporting even in the Christian Family. We suffer many sorrows and pains in life and the mind is an organ and can become sick and over whelmed. We need to learn to recognize and help one another. Dear God Help this family thru this time giving the joy only you can give.AMEN

  4. revgloria96   September 4, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Condolences to his wife and children. There are professional organizations available to Pastors to help prevent this type of tragedy. As quiet as it’s kept, being Pastor can be a very lonely occupation, which is why these organizations exist to provide professional and confidential support for Pastors, their staffs and their families. If you or anyone who know is in need of Pastoral support, please contact me at for additional information.

  5. Teresa Padin Daffon   September 4, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Taking your own life will give you an access to heaven? Come, on. I don’t think so. Committing suicide is sin. How can sin enters into heaven? Get your facts right and Biblical.

    • ben   September 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Let those among you without sin throw the first stone. You obviously know nothing about suicide or depression and you don’t seem to feel as Jesus did. Maybe you’re not following Jesus at all.

      • Scarlett McKeehan   February 25, 2018 at 1:52 pm

        Thank you for saying that. Robert McKeehan was my dad, I am Scarlett McKeehan. This is sooo sad for me too read these articles on my dad.

    • Lori   November 5, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Another legalistic Christian that knows nothing about our savior Jesus. Jesus told the murderer and thief they would be with him in heaven…..hmmm……So someone who kills others can be forgiven but not the Christian who kills himself??? No, I don’t think so. Read your bible again legalistic bible thumper. Or are you just quoting your legalistic pastor and you don’t read your bible? Once you are saved nothing separates you from Christ. He has paid the price for our sins. Depression and mental illness are not sins. They are physical and mental sickness that even Christ said see a physician for. Christ can heal the spiritual and defers to the physicians for illness. You must have been raised in a legalistic church and not read the scriptures in their entirety for yourself. Our Jesus loves all sinners and forgives all sin. Killing oneself is not any greater sin than the hypocrisy you carry in your heart saying suicide is unforgivable. You’d better ask yourself again if you are really a child of God….

  6. eddy.p   September 3, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Well this is what i think people dont realizes that you can realy have a true relationship with GOD.and that HE is real now to have a true relationship with HIM you have to keep it real you have to know that GOD is A holy GOD HE knows your heart your mind. Your soul you cant front a relationship HE knows you wel there for you might full meny people in thinking you have a relationship. With HIM But only HE knows now as. A. Former pastor i know what it is to depart from that relationship. And how devastating it can be when you dont feel him in your life and you feel like. Hes NOT by your side oh it can get realy ugly and the devil will come and put so many thought s in your head this is when you have to fight for your life. your salvation your soul your relationship with Him it is when you need to call out with all your heart and soul the name of JESUS JESUS JESUS. Pastor need this badly call on to HIM. In closing. If you take your own life the bible is clear in the answer.

  7. Apostle Clovis Robinson   September 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Well my thoughts on the matter we claim to be Christians and we all have a tendency to lie about the whole situation. I sorta agree with mar. That is the only one so far that I have seen that even had it close. We really this day and time don’t even know what the word Christian even entails. It means to be absolutely just like Jesus Christ. I don’t think he needed a counselor. I don’t think he went through depression what I believe is us Christians has got too much of the world in us to be like Christ. Cause every preacher I have talked to except a couple says nobody can be perfect. But yet that is what the word Christian means is to be perfect. chew on that one. shalom

  8. marywrotten   June 2, 2014 at 6:57 am

    My condolence to the family. However,I believe that the problem begins when leaders are so busy building that they leave little time to spend with God in their personal devotion time.We are not exempt from Satan’s attack whether we are part of leadership or members,we all are dealing with something. The key is to fill our thoughts with the Word of God. We must make time daily for God;spend quality time with him. I was dealing with something that was eating me up. I knew that I didn’t want to stay like that. I sought God, prayed and prayed some more, read and read the Word of God and listen to worship music and preaching on you tube. I talked about the issue to god, cried and praise him for his strength. No matter who you are, we must recognize that we are in a spiritual war and must stay prepared for the battle.

    Second people put pastors up like they are God. Some pastors not all forget that the people are God’s people and not theirs.. Paul said follow me as I follow Christ.Paul was an example,but he also maintain his relationship with God while building churches and doing missionary work. Its all about your relationship with God.God said in His Word, that there is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to; but will with the temptations also make away to escape, that yo may be able to bear it.(1Cor,10:13).. As long as we are in the world,we will face challenges, have issues,and encounter temptation.We must have a strong relationship and foundation in God through his son Jesus.

    I was a victim of childhood abuse in the form of physical,sexual,emotional and mental abuse.I experience rejection and developed low-self esteem,but God.Depressed at a young age (9) ,I tried to kill myself,as I grew older I attempted several time and I was in the church. I had a relationship with God, and he kept me. I had no one to talk to but God. God helped me through it and it was not over night. Its a process,but God will keep you through the process.The key is trusting God and having a relationship with Him.Know that we are in a spiritual war.

  9. AG   May 30, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    It is truly a sad reality that many Christian leaders believe they have no place to turn in their humaness. I am relatively young in ministry, yet I understand human nature and how many in leadership feel trapped by the expectation of people. Though leaders are called to leadpeople we are not beyond the frailties of our humanity. My prayer is that leaders would Stop allowing congressional pressure to prevent them from confiding in those capable of walking with them in their moments of difficulty.

  10. Raye Betts   May 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    As a christian, youth pastor, and an instrument to encourage the body of Christ, I have suffered in silence for years. But the scripture is correct where do I go when I need an encouraging word, David said I have to encourage myself. Therefore, God’s grace is sufficient but we are humans and we all need to have someone or some place we can go to without being judged for dealing in the natural ream of thought and not being spiritual 24/7…leaders have to deal with family, church and our natural family issues on a day by day and should have someone to trust with our innermost thoughts.

  11. Chris   April 23, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you for addressing the issue of those in leadership often being in a very difficult place in leading and in the ability and willingness to seek the help they need. As one who has previously worked on full time church staff and struggled with depression, ALL THE WHILE loving the Lord and trusting Him daily, I totally agree with this problem within the those in Christian ministry. Often times, people “are either unwilling or unable to get the help they need and feel forced to suffer in silence”. This is something that happens over time and ends up to be a cycle.

    To the individuals that don’t believe that you can be a Christian and battle with depression, I hope that you never come to a place where you experience it, but I will tell you that if you don’t it is not because you have greater faith or that you are holier than though, it’s simply by the grace of God. He gives each person their own thorns and gives HIS grace and strength as we walk through this journey called life.

    Robert not a stranger to me and I do not doubt that he battled his thorn, nor do I have any doubt that God used Him during his time here on earth, as he was open and taught from his brokenness about God’s love and grace.

    • Jackie Rodgers   May 29, 2014 at 2:52 am

      amen so true

  12. Grandma   April 22, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    To “Mar” You are so very wrong and misinformed it would be difficult if not impossible to straighten out your theology here. Does God not make the rain to fall on the just and unjust? What a slap in the face to those grieving this loss and also to many that silently suffer because of your ridiculous attitude!

  13. mar   April 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I’m sorry for this next comment – that is a stupid chain of thought, being a place for depression. If one walks with God the way every single human has been commanded to to do so 10 commandments. Then the mayham and chaos of sin will not happen because Gods mighty hand will be with you and evil will run away from anyone that has a true personal relationship with their father. So depressing thoughts may try to happen but because the King of kings is on ones side then Who, I said it Who against you. In mind spirit and soul. Follow your righteous path. Stay focus. When you let go Allow GOD.

    • What about Elijah?   April 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      That comment is a great example of why so many Christians don’t get help for depression when they need it. The idea that if you’re “Christian enough” you should never suffer from depression is just plain wrong. Even people who follow God get depressed. We need to put our misplaced judgments aside and encourage people get the help they need.

    • Jackie Rodgers   May 29, 2014 at 2:50 am

      mars , life hasn’t hit you hard enough, yet. just keep on living. but one thing I do know keep your focus on the Lord and He will help you. I have been through some dark places. life can hit hard. and the hardest thing is, not finding a person whom I can trust to pour my heart out, so I pray and wait .

  14. Henry Thoreau   April 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    “According to many counselors, the Christian culture is the perfect breeding place for depression.” Have you met an atheist lately?

    • Cherese Jackson   April 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Actually yes, but this story does not fall under that category. Thank you for your comment


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