Stephen Ministry at First Pres
Stephen Ministry is a system through which persons who are part of our congregation are trained and organized to help provide Christ-centered care giving to members of our congregation and community. This multiplies the amount of caring ministry that our church provides by giving us a team of skilled caregivers who are equipped to bring Christ’s healing love to people who are grieving, in crisis, or experiencing other challenging times in life.
What Is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is based on the belief that all Christians can be ministers. The responsibility for passing on God’s love is for all Christians, not just for a chosen few. God has given all of us gifts for ministry and called us to put those gifts to use. Stephen Ministry is a way people with special gifts for caring ministry can use those gifts to bring Christ’s love to people in need.
We have many needs for care in our congregation and community: people experiencing divorce, grief, a terminal illness, loss of a job, relocation, an empty nest, retirement, hospitalization, loneliness, and many other stresses or challenges. Often people with needs suffer silently or do not request or receive the level of care they really need. With only two full-time pastors for our congregation of 600 adult members and regular attenders, you can quickly see why it would be impossible for our pastors to meet every single need of every person. Stephen Ministry expands the care that we can offer by equipping and organizing our people to provide Christ-centered care.
Stephen Ministers are persons from our congregation who have gone through 50 hours of training to provide high-quality Christ-centered care to individuals experiencing a crisis or challenge. After the training, Stephen Ministers are each assigned a care receiver and meet with that care receiver for about an hour a week. This caring relationship will last for as long as the care receiver needs it. Everything a care receiver says to his/her Stephen Minister is kept confidential. The Stephen Minister does not try to solve problems; rather he/she listens, cares, prays, and helps the care receiver find his/her path to healing and wholeness.
When someone requests a Stephen Minister our Referrals Coordinator (one of our congregation’s Stephen Leaders) will meet with that person, explain what Stephen Ministry is, and help determine whether Stephen Ministry is the kind of care that person needs. Our Referrals Coordinator then matches that person with one of our available Stephen Ministers. The Stephen Minister will then call that person and begin meeting with him/her for about an hour each week as long as the need is there.
To see if you might benefit from meeting with a Stephen Minister, contact June Oliver.