What is Stephen Ministry? – Encourage One Another…
Stephen Ministry is a system through which members of The Fellowship are trained and organized to help provide Christian caregiving to members of our congregation and community. This will multiply the amount of caring ministry. In Thessalonians 5 Paul writes, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…Encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” God has called us to all to build up and encourage one another. For those who are experiencing a really difficult time, our Stephen Ministers can provide the special encouragement, care and support they need until they are past the crisis.
Why Lay Ministry? – Bear One Another’s Burdens…
Stephen Ministry is based on the idea that all Christians are ministers. The responsibility for passing on God’s love is for all Christians, not just for a chosen few. God has given us all gifts for ministry and called us to put those gifts to use. Stephen Ministry is a way for people with special gifts for caring ministry can use those gifts to bring Christ’s love to people in need. In Galatians 6 Paul tells us to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” At The Fellowship, our Stephen Ministers have been trained and organized to do just that. They provide one-to-one care, prayer, and support to those who are going through a difficult time.
Why Stephen Ministry? – Equipping The Saints…
We have many needs for care in our congregation and community: people experiencing divorce, grief, a terminal illness, loss of a job, relocation, an empty nest, retirement, hospitalization, loneliness, and many other stresses or challenges. Often people with needs suffer silently or do not request or receive the level of care they really need. With only 7 pastors for a congregation of 2500 members, you can quickly see why it would be impossible for our pastors to meet every single need of every single person. In Ephesians 4 Paul talks about pastors and other leaders as gifts God has given the church “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the boy of Christ.” Stephen Ministry expands the care The Fellowship can offer by equipping and organizing members to provide Christian care. This gives us a larger pool of people with gifts, skills, and calling to bring Christ’s love and care to those who most need it.
Who Benefits From Stephen Ministry? – Love One Another As I Have Loved You…
Everybody benefits from Stephen Ministry. Those receiving care from Stephen Ministers benefit because they receive prayer and support throughout the crisis they face. Stephen Ministers benefit through the spiritual growth they experience from being involved in meaningful ministry. Or pastors benefit because caring ministry at The Fellowship is expanded, and fewer people will slip through the cracks. Most of all you benefit from the knowledge that special care is available to you should you need it. In John 15:12 Jesus says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Loving and caring for one another is not just the pastor’s job – it’s something Jesus calls us all to do.
That’s what Stephen Ministry is. Everything a person tells his or her Stephen Minister is kept in strict confidence. People are often afraid that if they tell someone what is troubling then, word will get around and others will look down on them. But a Stephen Minister keeps everything a care receiver shares confidential, and through the sharing God works miracles of healing and peace.
Here’s What People Are Saying about Stephen Ministry
- “AS A MAN, I FOUND IT DIFFICULT AND AWKWARD TO REACH OUT FOR HELP. BUT I’M GLAD I DID. I PROBABLY COULD HAVE MADE IT ALONE, BUT IT SURE WAS A LOT EASIER HAVING A STEPHEN MINISTER TO TALK TO.”
- “I FELT GUILTY ABOUT BEING ANGRY AT GOD. BUT MY STEPHEN MINISTER DIDN’T THINK I WAS TERRIBLE. HE WAS VERY PATIENT AND JUST LISTENED AND CARED. HE DEMONSTRATED JESUS’ UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND HELPED ME TO TRUST GOD AGAIN.”
- “THE BEST THING ABOUT STEPHEN MINISTRY WAS IT WAS SO CONFIDENTIAL. NOBODY EVEN KNEW I HAD A STEPHEN MINISTER.”
- “I WAS ABLE TO TELL MY STEPHEN MINISTER THINGS I COULD NEVER HAVE TOLD A FRIEND. AND SHE NEVER JUDGED ME OR LOOKED DOWN ON ME. SHE JUST LISTENED AND CARED. IT WAS JUST WHAT I NEEDED.”
- “I HAD NEVER BEEN ABLE TO OPEN UP TO SOMEONE BEFORE AND HAD ALWAYS KEPT MY FEELINGS TO MYSELF. MY STEPHEN MINISTER HELPED ME TO TALK ABOUT THE PAINFUL THINGS, WHICH OPENED THE DOOR FOR GOD’S HEALING.”
Grief Share is a 13-week course that provides a place for healing from the death of a loved one. At each meeting, the group will watch a DVD on topics such as “Is This Normal?”, “Grief and Your Relationships”, “Guilt and Anger”, and other meaningful topics. After the video, we will meet in small groups to discuss the video and work though the healing process.
It is our hope that through Grief Share, you will find a community that has walked through loss as you have, and an avenue to start your healing process.
To register for our next Grief Share Cycle, click on this LINK.
If you would like more information on Stephen Ministry, Grief Share or Marriage Ministry, Please Contact:
Ben Fawcett firstname.lastname@example.org