Trinity’s Brett Judson was among 234 pastors and church leaders at a Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course (LTC) in Orlando in January. “Someone likened it to getting a drink from a firehose,” said Brett. “There was so much to absorb during the week. But everything was so well organized and presented that it made it possible to keep up. Plus, the 3,000-page Leader’s Manual we received at the conference walks us through the entire system.” Below are some answers to questions that you may have about Stephen Ministry:
What Exactly is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a new ministry in our congregation in which trained and supervised lay persons, called Stephen Ministers, provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges or difficulties.
Who is Involved?
Stephen Leaders are the ones who will 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. Currently, Brett Judson is Trinity’s solo Stephen Leader.
Stephen Ministers are the caregivers. They have engaged 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 covered specialized topics such as ministering to the divorced, hospitalized, bereaved, and aging. We are currently looking to identify members who may feel called to become Stephen Ministers.
Care Receivers are the recipients of Stephen Ministries’ 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 do Stephen Ministers do?
Stephen Ministers are caring Christian friends who listen, understand, accept, and pray for and with care receivers who are working through a crisis or a tough time.
Are Stephen Ministers Counselors?
Stephen Ministers are not counselors: they are trained lay caregivers. Their role is to listen and care—not to give advice or counsel. Stephen Ministers are also trained to recognize when a care receiver’s need exceeds what they can provide. When that happens, they work with care receivers to help them receive the level of care they really need.
Why the Name Stephen?
The name Stephen comes from St. Stephen, who was the first lay person commissioned by the apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need as recorded in Acts 6.
How can Someone Become a Stephen Minister?
Begin with prayer. Ask God if you are being called to serve as a Stephen Minister. Next, speak with our Stephen Leader, Brett, and he can tell you more. The first class of Stephen Ministers will be trained soon, hopefully beginning some time before summer starts. Stephen Minsters are asked to make a two-year commitment to train and serve. If you would like more information, please write to Brett, or speak with him in person.