What Is Stephen Ministry, Who are Stephen Leaders and what is a Care Receiver?
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NRSV).
Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system. Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.
Wesley Freedom has been part of Stephen Ministry since 1999. We currently have 5 Stephen Leaders, including our pastor, Rev. Bill Brown and 20 Stephen Ministers who have had 50 plus hours of Stephen Ministry training.
Stephen Leaders are the ones who 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.
Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to. provide one-to-one care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, or separation due to military deployment. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Once a month, our Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.
A Stephen Minister begins a caring relationship when he or she is matched with a person experiencing a life crisis. The Stephen Minister then meets with that person on a weekly basis to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the person is in need of care.
Care Receivers are people—congregation members and others in the community—who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These 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.
- When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide (this does not happen very often), the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.
If you feel the need for a Stephen Minister or would like more information on becoming a Stephen Minister, please call or email Lynn Clarke, 410-795-0471, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sherry Del Giorno at 410-274-4301, email@example.com.