- After the baby arrives, demanding more of you than you ever dreamed possible.
- After the divorce papers are served and the bottom falls out of your life.
- After the doctor says, “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do.”
- After your family and friends have heard your story one too many times, but you still need to talk it out.
- After you find a pink slip with your final paycheck.
- After the funeral, when everyone has left and the emotions you have held at bay come crashing in on you.
- After the gavel goes down, the handcuffs go on, and your loved one is led away.
- After the last child honks the horn, waves, and drives away—and the house suddenly seems empty.
- After the nursing home director shakes your hand and says, “Welcome to your new home.”
- After the phone call you hoped you would never get.
Stephen Ministers are ready to come alongside you—or your relatives, friends, coworkers, or neighbors—and provide comfort and support for as long after as needed. For information about receiving care from a Stephen Minsiter or giving care as a Stephen Minister, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 512-478-5684. All contact is confidential.
What Is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a system through which church members are trained and organized to help provide Christian caregiving to members of our congregation and community. This will multiply the amount of caring ministry FUMC can provide by giving us a whole team of skilled caregivers – lay ministers – who are equipped to bring Christ’s healing love to people who are grieving, in crisis, or experiencing other stresses in life.
Why Lay Ministry?
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 people with special gifts for caring ministry can use those gifts to bring Christ’s love to people in need.
Why Stephen Ministry?
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 care they really need. Stephen Ministry expands the care FUMC can offer by equipping and organizing members to provide Christian care. This gives us a larger pool of people with the gifts, skills, and calling to bring Christ’s love and care to those who most need it.
Who Benefits from Stephen Ministry?
Everyone 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. Our pastors benefit because caring ministry at FUMC is expanded. You benefit from the knowledge that special care is available to you should you need it, and you now have a place where you can refer a friend, neighbor, coworker, relative, or anyone else you know who is going through a difficult time so that they can receive special care when they need it most. Significantly, while being a Stephen Minister requires a commitment of time and effort, it also brings joy and fulfillment; it may be one of the most rewarding challenges you will ever embrace. And you will use the skills you learn not only in your caring ministry, but also in your everyday relationships with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
How Does Stephen Ministry Work?
When someone requests a Stephen Minister, our Stephen Minister Referrals Coordinator will talk with that person, explain what Stephen Ministry is, and help determine whether Stephen Ministry is the kind of care that person needs. The Referrals Coordinator then matches that person – the care receiver – with one of our available Stephen Ministers. The Stephen Minister – the care giver – will call and begin meeting with the care receiver for about an hour each week as long as the need is there. Everything a care receiver says to his or her care giver is kept confidential. The Stephen Minister doesn’t try to solve problems; rather, he or she listens, cares, prays, and helps the care receiver find his or her path to the healing and wholeness that only God – the cure giver – can provide.
Is God calling you to serve as a Stephen Minister? Think and pray about this opportunity. Remember Stephen Ministry training will equip you, our congregation will support you, and, most importantly, God gives you the faith and the gifts you need to answer the call. Become a part of this caring ministry. Witness firsthand as God brings forth new life and renewed faith in both your care receiver and in you as a Stephen Minister.