Hawthorne Lane UMC Stephen Ministry
“…I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40)
With Stephen Ministry–
- Pastors don’t carry the burden of being the congregation’s sole caregivers. They have a team of gifted, trained, committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people inside and outside the congregation.
- Laypeople have a chance to use and strengthen their leadership and caregiving gifts in meaningful ministry–serving others while experiencing tremendous spiritual growth.
- People who are hurting no longer suffer alone. A caring Christian friend comes alongside them to provide emotional and spiritual care for as long as the need persists.
Congregations have a practical, powerful way to:
“Equip God’s people for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12)
“Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
“Go make disciples.” (Matthew 28:19)
What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a laity-based ministry designed to provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals who face times of personal difficulty. Stephen Ministers are men and women of all ages and backgrounds, who have been specially trained to listen, support, and help others. Stephen Ministers are committed to confidentiality and to caring for the emotional and spiritual needs of others who are going through difficult times in their lives.
Stephen Ministry relationships may be short-term but they often last a year or more. Regardless of the length of the relationship, Stephen Ministers are willing to be there for you when you need someone most. Stephen Ministry is grounded in Jesus’ command to love one another. Through one-to-one, Christian caring relationships, those who are hurting receive the love and care they need.
Why do we have Stephen Ministry?
While our pastors always try to make themselves responsive to the needs of each individual member of our congregation, there are not enough hours in the day for them to repeatedly and regularly meet with every member undergoing personal distress. Stephen Ministry was designed to help pastors meet the needs of providing one-to-one, Christian care over an extended period of time. Our pastors have confidence in the training and abilities of our Stephen Ministers to provide that longer-term care to ensure that the needs of our congregation are met.
Who are Stephen Ministers?
Stephen Ministers are persons from our congregation who have responded to God’s call and Christ’s command that we should love and care for one another. They have been specially trained to help others walk through the more difficult times of their lives. You can identify them in our congregation by looking for their blue Stephen Ministry nametags.
A Stephen Minister is…
- a child of God who walks beside a hurting person
- a caring Christian friend who really listens
- a lay person who has received 50 hours of specialized training in how to provide distinctively Christian care
- someone who will keep confidential everything that is told to them
- commissioned by our pastors to serve our congregation
A Stephen Minister is not…
- a counselor or therapist
- a problem-solver
- a casual visitor
- a personal assistant or errand runner
Persons in need of Stephen Ministry might be those who are . . .
- terminally ill (and family members)
- grieving the loss of a loved one
- in a job crisis
- separated or recently divorced
- disabled (and family members)
- new parents
- anxious about moving
- homebound or institutionalized
- extremely lonely
- in a spiritual crisis
- looking for a caring Christian friend to help in a time of stress
How you can support Stephen Ministry:
Even if you do not directly participate in this ministry, your support of Stephen Ministry is coveted in a number of ways:
- Stephen Ministry needs your prayer support for the Stephen Leaders, Ministers and especially for the care receivers; that the healing hand of God will be at work in each caring relationship.
- You can also support Stephen Ministry by always being conscious of the needs of those around you. You are the eyes and ears of Jesus. When you see someone going through a difficult time, tell them about Stephen Ministry and help connect them with a pastor or Stephen Leader. When you encounter a difficult time, be receptive to care for yourself.
- If you or someone you know could benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, please contact the referral coordinators, Senior Pastor Andrew Brown, Stephen Lay Leaders Sandra McCoy or Linda Sloan.
I think God might be calling me to this ministry. What do I need to do to become a Stephen Minister?
First, pray and ask God if this is an area of ministry where He wants you to serve…to give that “cup of cool water” in His name…and if His answer is “yes” then call Senior Pastor Andrew Brown, Stephen Lay Leaders Sandra McCoy or Linda Sloan to learn more about what you need to do to become a Stephen Minister and when the next training session will begin.
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:19-20