When you first hear the word cancer, you wonder if you’re going to die. My Stephen Minister couldn’t fix or change that. But she let me share my fears, anxieties, and concerns with her in confidence. I knew I could always count on her—I wasn’t alone. (Maria)
What are Stephen Ministers?
Stephen Ministers are congregation members who care for those dealing with life crises, such as divorce, job loss, hospitalization, financial struggles, loneliness, convalescence, terminal illness, and other personal difficulties. They go through 50 hours of Christian caregiving training before they are matched with their care receiver.
Typically one Stephen Minister will be assigned to one care receiver of like gender (male/male or female/female). They will meet regularly for about one hour at a location and on a schedule that has been mutually agreed. These meetings provide a valuable opportunity for the care receiver to process his or her feelings, fears, anger, or even lack of faith in a confidential and non-judgmental setting. Conversations are open and unstructured, and are a great source of encouragement and hope. If the care receiver desires, the Stephen Minister will draw from Biblical and other religious references, and will lead the care receiver in prayer.
Caring relationships last for as long as the need persists. In many cases when the crises has passed and the caring relationship comes to an end, the care receiver and Stephen Minister continue to enjoy the special friendship that has developed between them.
What are Stephen Leaders?
Stephen Leaders are Stephen Ministers who have completed an additional week of training in in how to run the Stephen Ministry program. They are ready and able to help you determine whether this valuable ministry could be of benefit to you, and if so then they are prepared to help you get started.
Who Can Benefit from a Stephen Minister?
People who can benefit from a Stephen Minister can include those who
- are hospitalized.
- are grieving the loss of a loved one
- are separated or in the process of divorce
- are terminally ill or members of their families
- are experiencing loss of job or financial setbacks
- are facing legal difficulties
- are struggling with their faith
- are separated from their family
- are dealing with family members engaged in drug or alcohol abuse
Important to Note
Stephen Ministers are not professional counselors, clinical therapists, experts in law, finance, or church doctrine. Stephen Ministers do not “fix” their care receivers nor are they problem solvers (per se). Stephen Ministers offer faithful, confidential companionship to their care receivers while God works the cure.
To learn more about Stephen Ministry
- Meet one of our Stephen Ministers wearing a badge during church service
- Check the section in a Prayer Request Card to request a Stephen Leader contact
- Refer to the contacts on the right of this web page
Or watch this excellent PBS special production on line (about 7.5 minutes)