What is the Stephen Ministry?
Who is Involved?
- A one-to-one ministry by trained, caring members of the church.
- A helping relationship, focusing on the unique needs of each person.
- A commitment to caring for and supporting one another, thereby
building a loving, Christ-centered community
- A response to Christ's command to "love one another as I have loved
- A spiritual and educational system of training, organization, and
supervision which is working in many Christian communities
throughout the country.
What kinds of needs does the Stephen Ministry address?
- Lay people, men and women, who through special training have
learned helping skills and developed their gifts for bringing God's
healing love to people who are lonely, grieving, depressed, new to
the church, new parents, or any circumstances in life where they
feel they need a friend.
- The people of the parish who train and supervise the minister, and
who make assignments of people they also are visiting.
- Members of the congregation who support the ministry with prayer.
Stephen Ministers are ready to provide the emotional and spiritual care to those who are faced with a crisis or difficulty, such as:
How does the Stephen Ministry work?
- People who are hospitalized.
- People who are mourning the death of a loved one.
- People who are separated or in the process of divorce.
- People who are home-bound.
- People who are adjusting to a new home, or new child in the family.
- People who are dying, as well as the families of those who are
- People who need a friend.
- People in jail, or the families of those who are imprisoned.
- People who are new to the parish.
- People who are struggling with their faith in God.
- People who recently retired or who have been force to retire.
- People who are in the process of moving out of town.
- And more
A Stephen Minister is given special training in various kinds of helping skills. Included in the 50 hours of preparation are such topics as:
After training, Stephen Ministers are commissioned by the congregation for active, caring ministries.
- Assertiveness training
- Crisis theory and intervention
- Using the telephone as a way of caring
- Sharing the faith in prayer and Bible reading
- Being professional
- Utilizing community resource
- Ministering to those with special needs - grief, divorce, depression,
aging, stress, etc.
Stephen Ministers receive their assignments from the Stephen Leaders, work in consultation with them, and attend monthly meetings for continuing education and supervision.
Stephen Ministers make a basic two-year commitment, which includes the time for training. They can extend their commitment one year at a time as they and the pastors deem it advisable.
What are the benefits of the Stephen Ministry for a congregation?
- The congregation grows in its sensitivity to people's needs and
in its ability to help people deal with these needs.
- Lay people are involved in the ministry, the calling and challenge
of their baptism.
- People receiving the caring and support experience an increased
closeness and involvement with the congregation.
- The members themselves experience personal growth and
enrichment for their own lives.
The Stephen Ministry is...
A caring lay ministry in which one person reaches out to another, especially in a time of need.
An ongoing, helping relationship, increasing the frequency and depth of our caring for others.
A meaningful way for our church to more fully use its talents in sharing one another's burdens and joys.
A Stephen Minister is NOT
A professional counselor or psychotherapist
A social worker who provides a multitude of physical services
An expert in law, finances, church doctrine, or medicine
A brief, superficial visitor, whose ministry is "hit and miss"
A person equipped with easy answers to complex questions
A miracle worker
A Stephen Minister IS
A caring Christian, desiring to offer his/her support to others in a time of need.
A sharing Christian, bringing who he/she is to each helping moment, making Christ's presence and grace a living reality.
A trained Christian, having honed his/her skills for helping through intensive coursework.
A dedicated Christian, commissioned by the congregation for in-depth, confidential caring.
If you would like to know more about becoming a Stephen Minister, please
email Ron Crick.