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SPECIAL: Read an interview with Dr. John Ortberg titled Helping the Church Be the Church.
SPECIAL: The PBS "Religion and Ethics" news show recently aired an eight-minute feature on Stephen Ministry that vividly describes the life-changing ministry happening in thousands of congregations.
View the Stephen Ministry feature on the PBS Web site, where you'll also find several bonus features--including a nine-minute interview with Stephen Ministries' founder and executive director, Kenneth C. Haugk.
What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a program of our congregation that equips lay persons to provide distinctively Christian one to one care to those who are experiencing all kinds of life needs and circumstances, both in our congregation and community.
There are times when each of us needs the care of another person, a Christian friend. These needs include but are not limited to : hospitalization, terminally ill and their families, grieving a death or serious loss, homebound and institutionalized, prisoners, ex-offenders and their families, job crisis, facing life transitions, separation or divorced, birth or adoption.
A Stephen Minister is a congregation member who is recruited, selected, trained, commissioned, and supervised by Stephen Leaders to provide one-to-one Christian care to persons in need. Stephen Ministers typically are assigned one care receiver at a time and meet with that person for about one hour each week. Stephen Ministers usually serve for two years, which includes an initial 50 hours of training followed by twice monthly supervision and continuing education sessions.
Stephen Ministers are trained in:
- Crisis Care: Hospitalization, terminal illness, death of a loved one, unemployment, divorce, financial setback, stress, caring for aging parents, etc.
- Preventive Care: This care helps strengthen the person before a crisis hits, such as approaching retirement, a child leaving home, expecting a child, etc.
How you can contact us
To learn more, talk with a pastor or Stephen leader. Please call the church and ask that a Stephen Leader call you. If you would like to send a confidential email, click here.
Stephen Ministry is confidential. Those receiving care can be sure that their identity and what goes on in the caring relationship will remain private.
How you can support our Stephen Ministry
Pray for our Stephen Leaders and Stephen Ministers as they provide care for others, Tell the pastor or a Stephen Leader about those who might benefit from the care. Be sure to get the person's permission first!
How Did Stephen Ministry Get Its Name?
Named after St. Stephen, the first lay person commissioned by the Apostles to provide caring ministry to those is need, Stephen Ministry began in 1975 when the Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., a pastor and clinical psychologist, trained nine lay persons from his congregation in St. Louis to be Stephen Ministers.
Today more than 9,000 congregations are enrolled in the Stephen Series, representing more than 100 different Christian denominations from all 50 states, 9 Canadian provinces, and 22 other countries.
Here at FUMC we have 17 trained Stephen Ministers and 4 more in training. Some of the training topics are: listening, feelings, assertiveness, and confidentiality. Trainees also learn to recognize when a care receiver’s needs go beyond the care a Stephen Minister can provide, and where and how to refer the care receiver for additional care.
A very important training module is “process versus results.” This is one of the hardest things for some of us to learn, as we love to be “fixers.” Stephen Ministers are here to perform a caring process — to listen, care, and share God’s love — not to try to fix things or push for results. Stephen Ministers are the caregivers; God is the cure-giver.
How blessed we are that our church has Stephen Ministry! If you would like a Christian friend to listen and walk beside you through a difficult time, let one of our pastors know, and help is on the way.