As you sit in the pew on any given Sunday or walk down the hall at church, do you really know what is happening in the lives of those around you? We don’t usually get past the “How are you?” as we greet people, but there are lots of folks who have hurts and losses on any given Sunday as well as the rest of the week. Would you be able to respond in a distinctively Christian caring way if the person next to you shares his or her hurt? Would you know how to care? Like training to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is tophysical body emergencies, so Stephen Ministry is specialized training designed to administer distinctively Christian caring to the soul in crisis. This training has changed my life. It has personally helped me to grow closer to the Lord, to better care for myself, and to more effectively care for others who are experiencing crises and hurts. We all need to be cared for, and many times to have someone come along side us for support. Knowing that there are Christian brothers and sisters who can CONFIDENTIALLY be available to us to do that are a gift to us. Training to be that person for those in the pew next to us or other hurting folks is our special gift to them.
The Stephen Series is a complete system developed to train and organize lay persons to provide ONE-TO-ONE Christian care in and around congregations, with emphasis on CONFIDENTIALITY. This Ministry is named after Stephen, the first lay person chosen by the Apostles to care for the needs of that early congregation (Acts 6:1-6). The Ministry was started by Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, a St. Louis Pastor and Clinical Psychologist. As a parish Pastor in 1975, he realized that the needs for care in his congregation exceeded what he alone could provide, so he drew on his psychological and theological background to train nine members as “Stephen Ministers” to assist him with pastoral care. Later that year he and his wife Joan founded Stephen Ministries to bring this caring ministry to other congregations.
The Stephen Series has now been implemented in more than 9,000 congregations representing more than 100 Christian denominations. More than 450,000 laypersons have been trained as Stephen Ministers, who in turn have ministered to nearly a million care receivers.
A Stephen Minister is . . .
• a child of God who walks beside a hurting person;
• a caring Christian friend who really listens;
• a lay person who has received 50 hours of training in how to provide distinctively Christian care.
A Stephen Minister is NOT . . .
• a counselor or therapist;
• a problem-solver;
• a casual visitor.
Stephen Ministry helps meet the needs of individuals who are:
• terminally ill;
• in a job crisis;
• new members of the church;
• in a spiritual crisis; or
• looking for a caring Christian friend
What do Stephen Ministers do?
• Explore feelings
• Share Christ’s love
• Maintain confidentiality
• Attend to the caregiving process and leave the results to God
Stephen Ministers care for people who are:
• In a crisis
• In need of long-term care
• Experiencing losses as they age
• Going through a crisis of childbirth
• The family and friends of people in crisis
At a Loss for Words?
Have you ever wondered what to say to someone who has just experienced the loss of a loved one through death? Have you ever been at a loss as to what to say to someone whose spouse has just left him or her? Has someone close to you lost a job or home, or is dealing with the news of a serious medical diagnosis? If your answer is no, then a more accurate answer maybe not yet. No matter your answer, the Stephen Ministry might be just what you need to better equip you for such a time.
The Stephen Ministry provides the tools and skills to come alongside those in need of God’s love in times of crises. Through fifty hours of instruction followed by ongoing in-service training and supervision over a two-year period, you can become uniquely equipped to minister to a person at his or her point of need in a variety of difficult circumstances. We are not charged with the responsibility of “fixing” the problem, but rather to be available to show His care and love while He faithfully takes care of the cure. “God is the curegiver. I am only the caregiver.” In short, the Ministry offers the opportunity to provide distinctively Christian care-giving and to witness from the front lines, God’s amazing grace and healing power.
HOW CAN I GET HELP FROM A STEPHEN MINISTER?
Speak with one of the pastors or with one of the Stephen Leaders, whose name can be obtained from the church office at 636-946-8922 or on the back of the Weekly.