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Stephen Ministers Wanted
Stephen Ministers are called and trained to care for those men and women who are struggling with the challenges of life. They are available to anyone who could benefit from additional care so that we may gently and lovingly provide the special attention they need to get through a current struggle.
The requirements are that you be an adult and have a desire to help fellow Christians.
The course involves preclass reading assignments and about 50 hours of in-class lecture, videos, discussion, and role-playing.
A recurring emphasis of Stephen Minister training is listening and confidentiality. The confidentiality of the Stephen Ministry lets people know they can discuss difficult concerns with their Stephen Minister without others’ knowing.
This is a one-to-one ministry of weekly visits. It is a caring relationship that focuses on the unique needs of each person and lasts as long as there is a need. It is neither therapy nor counseling. Men visit with men, and women visit with women.
Common crises are aging, illness, job crisis, loneliness, bereavement, terminal illness, separation or divorce. But there are many more situations in which a Stephen Minister can help. If you feel that you would like to become a Stephen Minister or have questions, contact one of Grace Church’s pastors or a Stephen Leader.
Top Ten Reasons Why YOU Should Become a Stephen Minister
Reason #10 – You will learn to turn danger into opportunity Every crisis, whether it is a divorce, the loss of a spouse, sudden unemployment, im- pending death or even a much-desired pregnancy provides both an opportunity for growth as well as a danger of choosing destructive solutions. The care by you as a dedicated, trained, Christ-centered Stephen Minister can help a person in crisis find equilibrium and wholeness.
Reason #9 – Stephen Ministers are skilled caregivers We feel well prepared to walk alongside people in crisis, whether it is an assigned care receiver, or in our own relationships. We learn skills such as listening, identifying and expressing feelings, setting boundaries, and being assertive. We also learn about specific challenges in care giving.
Reason #8 – Stephen Ministers experience the joy of fellowship with one another We meet about an hour a week with our care receivers. We also meet once a month with our other Stephen Ministers. Here, in a confidential manner, we share the joys and challenges of our caring relationships, pray for one an- other, offer encouragement and practical help, and relate to one another in a deep and spiritual way.
Reason #7 – Stephen Ministers learn to listen Listening is neither simple nor passive, but instead is a powerful care giving tool. Stephen Ministers learn the skill of active listening, which involves commitment, patience, and attention to body language. We listen for more than words, seeking true understanding and empathy.
Reason #6 – Stephen Ministers are assertive caregivers Christian assertiveness is a positive and constructive way of relating to others. We learn to recognize and avoid aggressive behaviors such as belittling and manipulation, and to avoid passive behaviors such as withdrawing and relinquishing rights. By learning to behave assertively, we become more aware of God’s will for our lives and more aware of the needs of oth- ers.
Reason #5 – Stephen Ministers are caregivers, not cure-givers We are caregivers, not therapists or problem solvers. We are trained to listen and pray, to be reliable and non-judgmental, and to help care receivers express their feelings. We never pressure a care receiver to “get better’ or “get over it”, trusting instead that God works in His own time to provide wholeness.
Reason #4 – Stephen Ministers feel needed (because they are) Our pastors do not have enough time to provide patient, long-term care to people in crisis. Stephen Ministry helps assure that the newly widowed, those going through a divorce, people with chronic or terminal illness, the isolated and lonely, and many others are able to meet regularly with a compassionate listener. Stephen Ministry benefits our pastors, our congregation, and our community.
Reason #3 – Stephen Ministry skills apply in other relationships We are trained to listen, to recognize, accept and express feelings, to behave assertively, and to depend on God for healing and change. Often Stephen Ministers find themselves using these skills in dealing with family, co-workers and clients.
Reason #2 – Stephen Ministry is a life changing experience We are trained to respond compassionately and respectfully when others need us, and we feel confident in our care giving skills. We feel we know what to say and how to act supportively when someone is in crisis.
Reason #1 – Jesus commanded it “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” We are called to “bear one another’s burdens,” and “to accept one another.” Jesus wants us to be doers of the word and not just hearers. We are caring for those who are hurting, bring- ing warmth and kindness to those who feel alone, creating an atmosphere where trust and respect can lead to wholeness. Stephen Ministers answer the call of Jesus with “Here I am. Send me.”