What exactly is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a ministry in our congregation in which trained and supervised laypersons, called Stephen Ministers, provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges or difficulties.
Who is involved?
Stephen Ministers are the caregivers. They will engage in 50 hours of training in Christian caregiving, including general topics such as listening, feelings, boundaries, assertiveness, and using Christian resources in caregiving. In addition, their training will cover specialized topics such as ministering to the divorced, hospitalized, bereaved, and aging.
Care Receivers are the recipients of Stephen Ministers' care. They are people from our church or community who are experiencing divorce, grief, loss of a job, loneliness, hospitalization, terminal illness, or any of a number of other life difficulties. Stephen Ministers usually meet with their care receivers once a week for about an hour for as long as the care receiver will benefit by the relationship.
What are the responsibilities of a Stephen Minister?
Stephen Leaders are the ones who oversee and direct our Stephen Ministry. They recruit, select, train, organize, and supervise our Stephen Ministers, identify people in need of care, and match them with a Stephen Minister.
A Stephen Minister has the following responsibilities: A 24-month commitment of service to the program; attendance at and participation in the 50-hour training program; study of the training materials; service as a Stephen Minister (usually involving a one-hour weekly one-to-one visit) for about 18 months following completion of the training program; and participation in twice-monthly supervision meetings for about 18 months following completion of the training program.
Stephen Ministers are assigned to care receivers (people in crisis who need caring support). Stephen Ministers pray daily for their care receivers and provide care for those in moderate difficulties. They understand that confidentiality is crucial in any caring relationship. They help find people who would benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, and through their service, Stephen Ministers help the congregation appreciate Stephen Ministry and encourage members to become ministers of referral who help those in crisis receive the care they need. Lastly, Stephen Ministers participate faithfully in small group peer supervision and continuing education on a regular basis.