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Stephen Ministry - A Confidential Ministry

Stephen Ministry is a caregiving ministry in our congregation.  A Stephen Minister is a member of our congregation who has been trained to provide distinctively Christian care for members of our congregation and the community. Stephen Ministers are there to be with you on a one-on-one basis, to listen, to care, to encourage, to pray, and to walk alongside you during difficulties and as you face life challenges.  It is a confidential lay ministry and items discussed remain private. 

When dealing with sometimes difficult life situations that come our way such as job loss, serious illness, death, transitions, and complex life issues, the care of a Stephen Minister may be just the emotional and spiritual support that you need.

When is a Stephen Minister Needed?

Stephen Ministers function in five types of caregiving situations:

  1. Crisis care – Stephen Ministers can help at a time of crisis and help people who have just experienced a death in the family, an emergency, or some other extraordinary even.
  2. Follow-up care – Stephen Ministers keep showing up when the crisis is over and you are sorting out the meaning of a new normal.  This often is the most difficult time of adjustment for an individual and the time when having someone compassionate to talk to can make a tremendous difference in moving on with life.
  3. Chronic care – Stephen Ministers are effective at listening to individuals with chronic challenges in life.  Often these individuals face these difficulties alone and need supplemental care like that provided by a Stephen Minister.
  4. Preventive care – Stephen Ministers can come alongside individuals when situations are simply overwhelming to help encourage and prevent a crisis. 
  5. Supportive care – Stephen Ministers can support individuals who are the caregivers, the ones who are behind the scenes caring for someone else in a crisis but also need care themselves.  Stephen Ministers provide support and, a nonjudging listener who empathizes with the frustrations, weariness, and burdens often carried over long periods of time.

Bear one another’s’ burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2 (NRSV)  God never intended for us to go through these experiences alone.  That is why God has brought us together as a congregation, and we have started a Stephen Ministry. 

How Stephen Ministry Works

Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers – called Stephen Ministers – to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.  Stephen Ministry consists of three groups of people:  Stephen Leaders, Stephen Ministers, and Care Receivers.

Stephen Leaders – Direct the overall ministry in the congregation. 

Stephen Leaders:

  • Build awareness of Stephen Ministry within the congregation and community
  • Recruit and train Stephen Ministers
  • Meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs
  • Match care receivers with Stephen Ministers
  • Provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education

Stephen Leaders are those the congregation has designated to attend a Leader’s Training Course – a one-week conference that introduces the resources used to lead Stephen Ministry, develops key skills, and studies the Stephen Series system.  Stephen Ministries is a not-for-profit Christian education organization founded in 1975 by Kenneth C. Haugk and is based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Stephen Ministers – Lay caregivers trained in the congregation by Stephen Leaders.

Stephen Ministers are congregational members who have been called to this ministry, trained, and commissioned by the congregation to provide high quality, distinctively Christian care to those seeking help during a crisis or difficult time by meeting with them in a one-on-one, confidential relationship.  The Stephen Minister’s role is not to solve a care receiver’s problems, but to help the individual reach a new place of emotional and spiritual stability.  Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.

Care Receivers – Individuals who are experiencing stressful change in life circumstances and are being cared for by Stephen Ministers.

Care receivers are people – congregation and others in the community – who receive care from a Stephen Minister.  These individuals are struggling and going through a difficult time in life.  They will meet with a Stephen Minister confidentially and regularly for a time as they walk through the uncertainty, disruption and confusion associated with their unique situation.

How Can I Find Out More?

If you or someone you know would like to receive care by a Stephen Minister, please contact one of the following:

  • Wanda Briggs, Stephen Ministry Leader [704.718.3781] or to send Wanda a confidential email click here.
  • Pastor Mark Tankersley [704.860.7776]
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