What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry was founded in 1975 as a one-on-one care ministry, where in trained lay persons meet with people, congregational or community, who need a person to listen to them as they work their way through various issues. It is based upon the life of Saint Stephen who appears in Acts 6, as one of the followers to help make sure that food was fairly distributed. He was also the first Christian martyr, whose stoning is told in Acts 7.
In Stephen Ministry, those whose giftings make them suitable to be lay ministers are trained to meet the needs of care receivers in need. These needs can be numerous, loss of a spouse, loss of employment, spiritual, or, possibly physical. The good Stephen Minister is there to listen and support the individual in need during their times of trouble. They give them a sounding board that does not try to fix the problem, but helps that care receiver come to their own understanding of how to help themselves. Sometimes the minister might offer suggestions about books or scripture to read but that is not the primary focus. They are there to be a friend in a time of need.
One of the greatest aspects of the Ministry is its reliance upon confidentiality. We stress that no one can know which Stephen Minister is meeting with which care receiver, or, even that they are meeting with anyone. A minister never divulges the personal details of their relationship with a care receiver, and never discloses anything that is said to anyone, even their spouses or the care receivers spouses or family members.
This is ministry of shared experience! And people in need are matched with Ministers that the leadership thinks will best meet their needs. As part of this, as I said, it is one-on-one. Ministers are assigned based upon the need for men to meet with men and women with women.
Not everyone is meant for this ministry, gifting from the Holy Spirit is required. Training, just as ministers who go to a seminary, is a major focus of preparing individuals for an assignment as a Stephen Minister. But, if you have the gifts and spirit, this can be a ministry that can touch your heart and change the lives of yourself and others, through your work.
If you feel that this is a Ministry that you can see yourself as having the time and talents to commit to, then contact our church office and complete an application so that we can meet and talk with you further and explore this amazing opportunity with you.
Stephen Ministry Website: Click Here