Jarrid Wilson, who died of suicide at age 30, was a megachurch pastor who was known for his mental health advocacy, his efforts to prevent suicide, and his writings.
Wilson was associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California. According to Religion News.com, he was also co-founder of the mental health nonprofit Anthem of Hope and spoke openly about his struggles with depression and mental illness.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Wilson’s Wife Julie Posted a Tribute to Him on Instagram, Calling Him Loving, Giving & Kind-Hearted
Wilson’s wife Julie posted a moving tribute to her husband on Instagram in the wake of his suicide. “My loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt of his back husband went to be with Jesus late last night,” she wrote.
“No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle. You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second.”
She added: “I love you forever, Thomas jarrid Wilson, but I have to say that you being gone has completely ripped my heart out of my chest. You loved me and our boys relentlessly and we are forever grateful that i had YOU as a husband and a father to my boys. You are my forever and I will continue to let other people know of the hope in Jesus you found and spoke so boldly about,”
The heart-wrenching post continued: “Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said ‘Hope Gets the last word. Jesus does.’ Your life’s work has lead thousands to the feet of Jesus and your boldness to tell other about your struggle with anxiety and depression has helped so many other people feel like they weren’t alone. YOU WERE an anthem of hope to everyone, baby, and I’ll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath.”
She concluded, “I need you, jare. But you needed Jesus to hold you and I have to be okay with that. You are everything to me. Since the day we met. J & J. Love you more. These are photos of him in his happy place – fishing the day away . I’ll teach our boys all your tricks, babe. Promise. You are my #anthemofhope.”
In a later post, Julie wrote, “Can’t sleep, so I’m watching this video over and over again. I took this on Monday evening around 7:30 pm at our son’s baseball practice. By 11:45 that night, my sweet husband was in the presence of Jesus. I love you, jarrid. I miss you beyond what my heart can stand. Thank you for loving our boys and I with the greatest passion and selfishness I’ve ever seen or felt in my entire life.”
She added: “I’d do anything for a hug from you right now. I keep hearing on repeat what you told me all day every single day, ‘gosh I frieking love you.’ Longing to be with you, longing to make you proud. The boys and I miss you so much. I frieking love you too. So much more than you could ever know. Wish I could tell you that right now. We all do.”
2. Jarrid & Julie Founded an Organization to Help the Church Assist Those Struggling With Mental Health Issues
The about me section on the Anthem of Hope website says that Jarrid and Juli Wilson “founded Anthem of Hope in 2016 with a passion devoted to help equip the church with the resources needed to help better assist those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.”
Over the last six years of their marriage, the bio says, “Jarrid and Juli have traveled the globe, sharing their love for Jesus and equipping Christian leaders to reach the next-generation in a relevant and authentic way. Both Jarrid and Juli believe that authenticity breeds community, and their determination to be authentic stands at the forefront of everything they devote their time to.”
The bio concludes that the couple “currently live in Southern California with their two boys and dog, Eloise.”
Jarrid explained in a blog post that he could remember “growing up in church and always feeling a little intimidated when one of the pastors would walk by my family in the foyer or hallway.”
3. Jarrid Wrote About His Children on Social Media & Called His Wife the Peanut Butter to His Jelly
Jarrid Wilson gushed about his family on social media, including his kids. “Happy first day of school little buddy! Your mommy (@itsjuliwilson) and I are so proud of you, and we cannot believe how quickly you are growing up,” he wrote with one photo of his son.
“You’re going to bring so much joy to world, and we’re so excited to watch you grow up into the man that God designed you to be. You’ll always be my little bird man. Love you, Finch!”
He posted pictures of his family, including at a trampoline park. Of his wife, he wrote, “There is no one more talented, more beautiful, and more godly than you sweetheart. I love you! I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else. You’re the peanut butter to my jelly. And boy do I like peanut butter.”
“She means everything to me,” he wrote with another post.
According to a post from Harvest Church, Jarrid “is survived by his wife, Juli, his two sons, Finch and Denham, his mother, father, and siblings.”
4. Jarrid Wilson Was an Author From Orange County, California Who Wrote a Lot About Suicide in the Days Before His Death
On Twitter, Jarrid Wilson described himself as, “Husband to @JuliWilson, Dad of boys, Pastor @harvestorg & @harvestya, Author, Founder of @anthemofhope, Mental Health, Fisherman and Follower of Jesus.” Here’s a link to his books.
His Amazon author bio describes him as “a husband, dad, pastor, author and founder of Anthem of Hope. His articles have been viewed by tens-of-millions, showcased on some of today’s hottest talk shows, and featured on national news stations worldwide. He is a dynamic speaker whose outside-the-box perspectives have gained him national recognition from some of today’s most influential Christian leaders and pastors.”
The biography continues: “His highly unconventional way of sharing faith takes a fresh look at the way Jesus would call individuals to live out their everyday lives. Unafraid to tackle tough and controversial topics, Jarrid is known for his refreshing perspectives on what others may view as set in black and white.”
He wrote a lot about suicide recently on Twitter. September 9, 2019, he wrote, “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.
But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.
He ALWAYS does that.”
“Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today. Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family,” said another September 9 tweet. That same day he wrote, “Tomorrow is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay, and @anthemofhope wants you to know that #YourLifeMatters! 800,000 people love their life to suicide each year, and we want to do something about it.”
His blogging profile read: “My name is Jarrid Wilson and I am a pastor, blogger, and author from Orange County, Ca. I’m just a guy who is trying to share the love of Jesus to the world. I’m all about grace, second chances, and empowering my generation to find their potential in Christ. I’m just a guy who loves to geek out on anything about Jesus. And I want nothing more than to live my life audaciously for the One who died for me. I hope my blog empowers, encourages, and inspires you to deepen your walk with Christ. Thank you for your encouragement and support. Let’s change the world.”
You can read his blog posts here.
5. Jarrid Joined Harvest 18 Months Before His Suicide & Worked in a Variety of Marketing Positions Over the Years
Pastor Greg Laurie wrote in a statement on the Harvest website, “Jarrid joined us as an associate pastor at Harvest 18 months ago and had spoken out many times on this very issue of mental health.”
Laurie added, “At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day. Over the years, I have found that people speak out about what they struggle with the most.”
Of Jarrid, he said, “Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”
On LinkedIn, Jarrid listed his past positions: New Generations Pastor for LifePoint Church in Smyrna Tennessee; CEO of Cause Roast in Franklin, Tennessee; CEO of HYPUR Media, where he did “writing, consulting, digital marketing, design, strategy, branding, social media”; marketing and social media specialist for Faithlife in Bellingham, Washington; marketing and chief cause specialist for Sevenly; and Store manager for C28.
He had a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies and Theology from Liberty University and a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Hope International University. He graduated from Santiago High School in 2007.
He listed credentials in suicide prevention.
A man named Ryan Rotz wrote him a recommendation on LinkedIn, writing, “When we published Jarrid Wilson’s first book (30 Words) he hustled harder than any other author and was the most enjoyable to work with. He is one of the hardest working and highest producing people I’ve ever met and that’s why his career has taken off. He’s consistent. He put in his 10,000 hours (or close to it). Jarrid is also an exceptional marketer. In addition to growing a huge audience of his own, he took the reigns and grew Faithlife’s social channels quicker than we ever thought possible. And did I mention, he’s an incredibly cool guy?”