What is Stephen Ministry? Simply put, it is a one-on-one caring relationship where a person who is going through a difficult time such as a divorce, illness, losing a loved one, or a significant life change is paired with someone who helps them walk through that difficult season, all the while pointing them to Christ.
The Ministry is completely voluntary and the Care Givers are thoroughly trained. Each Stephen Ministry Trainee commits to 50 hours of training to prepare them to share the love of Christ and to be His loving hands to those who are hurting. Not only are they well-trained and prepared to take on the scores of different caring needs, they are bound to a strict confidentiality code whereby names and details of the relationship are not shared with anyone. Each Stephen Minister uses distinctively Christian skills to give comfort to their Care Receiver. Those skills are constantly honed because each Stephen Minister is required to attend a bi-weekly Small Group Supervision meeting, and every twelve weeks, they attend a Continuing Education meeting where they learn new skills or their current skills are strengthened.
The caring relationships that take place are one of the most amazing things about Stephen Ministry. Both Care Receiver and Care Giver have many testimonies about the features of their relationship that only God could have orchestrated. Here is the testimony of one Care Giver:
After the Stephen Minister training was over and I had been with my Care Receiver for several months, I was asked to attend a trip to the beach with a group of Calvary men for some fellowship and fishing. The trip was normally a week long, but I needed to come back on Wednesday. On Tuesday evening, I was asked if a fellow named Jerry could ride home with me. I hadn’t met him until that day and agreed that he could share a ride back to Winston-Salem with me. Now, what do you talk about for five hours with a complete stranger?! I decided to share with him the incredible blessing of this ministry that I was in and how it helped me grow spiritually, as well as having the honor to be Christ’s love to my Care Receiver. As I shared my testimony with Jerry, he became very interested in being trained to become a Stephen Minister. So I gave him the information he needed to sign up for the next training session. That story in itself would be a nice one, but God had a whole lot more to say about it. Fast forward about 4 years. I lost my mother to stomach cancer and I was devastated. I was grieving so hard that I couldn’t concentrate at work. I was missing meetings with friends. I was a mess. I loved my mother dearly and missed her terribly. It was suggested to me that I get a Stephen Minister to help me through this tough time. Can you guess who God chose to be my Stephen Minister? Yep, Jerry! Think God had a hand in that trip home from the beach?
Another reason this ministry is special is because the entire Ministry is based on scripture. The Stephen Ministers are encouraged to use a “Toolbox” full of Christian tools – prayer, Bible reading, their relationship to Christ, etc. Jesus is our model in everything we do.
Here is another testimony of what inspired one person to take the training and become a Stephen Minister:
I had a friend that got sick and was in the hospital for an extended stay. My spouse and I thought that he might need help around his house and with paying his bills, so we helped him with those things. While he was recovering from his illness, he had a stroke and was placed in a rest home for further recovery. I visited him frequently but had no idea what to do or what to talk about during my visit. I was a Christian but I did not know how to show Christ’s love to this man that I considered a friend. Not long after his stay at the rest home, he went to be with the Lord. I was ashamed at the type of care that I had given him; I had wanted to be a much better friend, but I didn’t know how. Then I was asked if this new Ministry that had come to Calvary would be something I’d be interested in. After seeing what it was all about, I couldn’t wait to sign up. I’ve never regretted all those hours of training. It not only changed the way I care for those who are hurting, but it has changed the way I listen to and care for my friends, my family, and all the people I come in contact with. Stephen Ministry is a life changer!
If you want to be a Stephen Minister or you would like the care from a Stephen Minister here at Calvary, contact Shannan Roussel 336.765.5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.