STEPHEN MINISTRY AT ST. PAUL'S
In May 2004, St. Paul's initiated a Stephen Ministry for the benefit of our parish and community. This page is designed to give you some basic information about this program and how it may benefit you or someone you know.
WHAT IS STEPHEN MINISTRY?
Stephen Ministry is an interdenominational, structured, Christian care-giving ministry. Through one-on-one caring relationships with specially trained church members, those who are hurting can receive the love and care they need to support them in times of crisis. Stephen Ministry is named after St. Stephen, one of the first deacons of the early church. These deacons were commissioned by the apostles to care for believers in need (see Acts 6:1-6).
WHAT IS A STEPHEN MINISTER?
Stephen Ministers are specially trained men and women of our congregation who offer one-on-one care to those suffering personal crisis or transition. Stephen Ministers come from all walks of life, age ranges, and backgrounds. They are caring and sharing Christian friends who desire to walk with you and beside you when you are hurting, lonely, worried, confused, doubting, or lost. They will really listen, offer referrals if needed, and offer to pray with you and for you. Here's more information about Stephen Ministers and their work.
receive 50 hours of initial training in biblically-based caring ministry skills and concepts.
commit to serve for at least two years.
are commissioned by our congregation as Stephen Ministers after completing their initial training.
receive continuing education and skill-building throughout their years of service;.
are supported, guided, and supervised by our trained Stephen Leaders.
express Christ's love through their service to others.
visit those in need regularly and dependably and offer Christian support and care.
engage in twice-monthly supervision to ensure that they are providing the best quality Christian care for their care receivers.
do not make "cold calls." They are assigned only to individuals who agree to receive the care of a Stephen Minister after consultation with one of our Stephen Leaders.
are absolutely committed to preserving the confidential nature of the caring relationship. Even in supervision, the names of those receiving care and specific details are never discussed.
Please be sure to note that Stephen Ministers are not:
professional counselors, therapists, or psychologists.
experts in law, finance, or medicine.
equipped to provide physical services such as baby-sitting or meals.
HOW DOES THE STEPHEN MINISTRY
Our congregation's Stephen Leaders received specialized training in the administration of the Stephen Ministry program. The Stephen Leaders, under the oversight of our pastor, supervise and train the Stephen Ministers at St. Paul's. Upon learning that someone is in need of Christian care through Stephen Ministry, one of our Stephen Leaders will discuss the details with the individual. If he or she grants permission, the Stephen Leaders will meet with one another for prayer, consultation, and discussion of the particular need. If warranted, they will then assign a Stephen Minister to meet with the person on a regular (usually weekly) basis.
IS A STEPHEN MINISTER NEEDED?
There are times in life when each one of us needs the care of a Christian friend. A Stephen Minister can be that friend in your time of need. These needs include (but are not limited to) when you or someone close to you is:
hospitalized, seriously ill, undergoing treatment, or recovering.
providing care for a family member.
grieving the loss of a loved one.
in a job crisis.
new to the community.
in a spiritual crisis.
facing life transitions.
experiencing separation, divorce, or estrangement.
preparing for childbirth or adoption.
facing anxiety or depression.
homebound or lonely.
looking for a caring, Christian friend.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT
ST. PAUL'S STEPHEN MINISTRY PROGRAM?
If you have any questions about our Stephen Ministry program or if you feel that you or someone you know might need the service of a Stephen Minister, please call the church office at 410-592-8100 and ask to speak with our pastor or Stephen Leaders.
CAN I SUPPORT THE STEPHEN MINISTRY AT ST. PAUL'S?
There are several ways you can support our congregation's Stephen Ministry. Here are some suggestions:
Pray for our Stephen Ministers and Stephen Leaders as they provide Christian care for others. Pray for those who receive the confidential care given through St. Paul's Stephen Ministry program.
Tell our Stephen Leaders about those who might benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister. Please be sure to get that person's permission first! It is the work of each member of the congregation to help identify needs that can be addressed through the Stephen Ministry.
Share information with others in our community about our Stephen Ministry program and the care it can provide.
Receive the care of a Stephen Minister if you need a supportive Christian friend.
Affirm the good work of our Stephen Ministers and Stephen Leaders by telling them how much you appreciate their efforts.
Consider serving as a Stephen Minister. This is not a commitment to be taken lightly, but if you feel you have particular gifts appropriate for this kind of service, please speak with one of our Stephen Leaders or pastors.
Give monetary support to our Stephen Ministry with your special offerings to fund leadership training, continuing education, and other resources for our current and future Stephen Ministers.
CAN I LEARN ABOUT THE NATIONAL STEPHEN MINISTRIES ORGANIZATION?
Stephen Ministries of St. Louis is a not-for-profit, trans-denominational, religious and educational organization founded in 1975 by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist. You can learn a lot more about this organization by visiting their web site.