Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry: Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are in need of spiritual support through Christ’s love.
Stephen Leaders establish and direct Stephen Ministry in a congregation. They—
- build awareness of Stephen Ministry within the congregation and community
- recruit and train Stephen Ministers
- meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs
- match care receivers with Stephen Ministers
- provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education
People learn to serve as Stephen Leaders by attending a Leader’s Training Course—a one-week conference that introduces the resources used to lead Stephen Ministry, develops key skills, and gets people excited about this caring ministry. Most congregations begin with two to four Stephen Leaders, typically including a pastor, possibly another church staff person, and one or more lay leaders.
Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister (called a care giver) usually provides care to one person at a time. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.
Care receivers are congregation members who are people struggling through a difficult time in life—experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.
Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:
- The relationship between a care receiver and a Stephen Minister is confidential.
- Men are matched with men; women with women. In a whole family crisis, both the husband and wife will have their separate care givers.
- When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.
At St. George’s, Stephen Ministers join the clergy, the care-giving teams of One Body, and our Healing Prayer ministers, by offering each member of the St. George’s community the spiritual comfort of God’s love. Although our primary function will be for those in need, these ministries are open to all congregants who share a desire to experience God’s comfort.
If you would like more information about this ministry, please contact Russ Carter.