Messiah is one of tens of thousands of Christian congregations that offer the Stephen Ministry program – which provides high quality, one-to- one Christian care to individuals facing a variety of crises or life challenges — people who are experiencing grief, divorce, cancer, financial difficulties, hospitalization, chronic illness, job loss, disabilities, loneliness, a spiritual crisis, or other life struggles.
Stephen Ministers receive 50 hours of care-giving training before they are connected to care receivers. They also receive ongoing continuing education and supervision. Stephen Ministry expands and extends the care giving capacity of Messiah both to members and to the community, as well as equipping lay people for a deeply meaningful ministry that blesses and impacts their own lives.
The Stephen Series logo (above) consists of a cross and a circle together with a broken person and a whole person. The broken person behind the cross symbolizes the brokenness in our lives. The whole person stands in front of the cross because it is only through the cross of Jesus that we are made whole. The circle symbolizes both the wholeness we receive through Christ and God’s unending love for us. Stephen Ministers like to say, “Christ is the cure-giver…we are only care-givers.”
If you have any questions, please reach out to Pastor Stuckwisch, Laura Priebe, Judy Stroeh, or April Gottula to learn more about this ministry.
What Exactly is Stephen Ministry? It has nothing to do with the reigning MVP of the NBA! It is a 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 oversee and direct our Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministers are the caregivers. They go through 50 hours of training in Christian caregiving, including general topics such as listening, feelings, boundaries, and using Christian resources in caregiving. In addition, their training covers specialized topics such as ministering to the divorced, hospitalized, bereaved, and aging.
Care receivers are the recipients of Stephen Minister’s care. They can be people from our church or our neighboring community who are experiencing divorce, grief, loss of a job, loneliness, hospitalization, terminal illness, or any of an endless 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 from 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 crises 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.
Can I Trust a Stephen Minister?Trust is essential to a caring relationship, and Stephen Ministers are people you can trust. Confidentiality is one of the most important principles of Stephen Ministry, and what a care receiver tells his or her Stephen Minister is kept in strictest confidence. We are excited about our new leadership team and recruiting/training new Stephen Ministers. You are most welcome to talk with our pastors and any of our Stephen Leaders if you would like to serve in this deeply meaningful ministry.
What’s the Pastor’s Role?Pastors will always have primary shepherding responsibilities in our congregation, but there is no way pastors can meet all the needs for care. God has called all of us, not just pastors, to minister to one another. Stephen Ministry multiplies ministry by turning pastors into equippers, so they can enable lay people to provide caring ministry as well.
How can Someone Become a Stephen Minister? Begin by talking to Pastor Stuckwisch or one of our Stephen Leaders and they can tell you more. Stephen Ministers make a two-year, renewable commitment to train and serve.