The Stephen Ministry Series is a lay visitation and caring program involving in-depth training in communication and caring skills for a myriad of challenges and crises that families and individuals face in life. Our Stephen Ministers are recruited, trained, and supervised to serve our congregation to give crisis care, follow-up care, chronic care, and preventive care to individuals facing challenges and difficulties including grief, illness, hospitalization, separation/divorce, unemployment or job crisis, parenting issues, and life-change adjustments.
There are several points that are important as our congregation extends God’s caring love which we have come to know through Jesus Christ to those who are in need.
First, the focus of this caring ministry is to all who are in need, not just limited to the membership of Holy Spirit. Just as God did not limit the focus of redemption and the saving love of Jesus Christ, neither will we limit the scope of our caring ministry of this congregation.
Second, while Pastors will still be on the front lines of care, especially during times of crisis, the pastoral care demands of our congregation continues to increase and there are always more needs for ongoing one- to- one care than pastors can effectively meet by themselves. Stephen Ministry provides a solution that comes straight from the Bible – equipping God’s people for ministry based on their gifts. Trained Stephen Ministers extend this caring outreach to the congregation and beyond, carrying God’s love and support to people who are hurting and offering God’s promise of help, hope and healing.
Third, Stephen Ministry is a confidential ministry. The Stephen Ministry training stresses confidentiality as part of the care. The identity of those receiving one- to- one distinctively Christian care and everything that is discussed with a Stephen Minister remains private.
Fourth, our goal is to grow and strengthen our caring mission of Christ caring for people through people. Lay caregivers grow as they nurture and use their gifts in meaningful ministry; care receivers grow as they experience God’s redemptive and healing love during life’s challenges and difficulties; the congregation and the community become more caring toward one another as the ministry grows and we bring Christ’s healing love to hurting people.
Finally, we are all ministers of Christ. Fulfilling the mission of the Stephen Ministry program requires:
- Commitment of Holy Spirit members to be willing to have a Stephen Minister walk with them through an individual or family challenge or crisis.
- Commitment of the Holy Spirit pastors to support the program through member referrals and to provide spiritual guidance to the Stephen Ministry Leadership Team.
- Commitment of Holy Spirit members to participate as Stephen Leaders and/or Stephen Ministers, providing confidential one-on-one Christian care to members of our congregation and community.
- Commitment of the Stephen Ministers to participate in ongoing peer supervision discussions and periodic review by the leadership team.
- Facilities to provide 50 hours of training for members to become Stephen Ministers and for twice-monthly Stephen Ministry supervisory meetings.
- Periodic financial support:
- to send Stephen Leaders to be trained and commissioned by staff of the Stephen Ministry Series
- for Stephen Minister continuing education
- for program awareness for the congregation and the community