Whatever You Did for the Least of These…

You Did for Me...

In Matthew 25, Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in..." We have many opportunities to respond to Jesus' great love by showing that love to others. Stephen Ministry is one way our congregation shows that love to people who have deep needs for care. You also have many opportunities to show Jesus' love during the week. As you encounter people this week, try asking yourself, "How can I show them Jesus today?"

What Exactly is Stephen Ministry?

Stephen Ministry is a ministry in our congregation in which trained and supervised lay persons, called Stephen Ministers, provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges or difficulties.

Who Is Involved?

Stephen Leaders are the ones who oversee and direct our Stephen Ministry. They recruit, select, train, organize, and supervise our Stephen Ministers, identify people in need of care, and match them with a Stephen Minister.

Stephen Ministers are the caregivers. They have been through 50 hours of training in Christian caregiving, including general topics such as listening, feelings, boundaries, assertiveness, and using Christian resources in caregiving. Their training covered specialized topics such as ministering to the divorced, hospitalized, bereaved, and aging. We currently have 19 active Stephen Ministers.

Care Receivers are the recipients of Stephen Ministers' care. They are people from our church or community who are experiencing divorce, grief, loss of a job, loneliness, hospitalization, terminal illness, or any of an endless number of other life difficulties. Stephen Ministers usually meet with their care receivers once a week for about an hour for as long as the care receiver will benefit by the relationship.

What Do Stephen Ministers Do?

Stephen Ministers are caring Christian friends who listen, understand, accept, and pray for and with care receivers who are working through a crisis or a tough time.

Stephen Ministers are not counselors; they are trained lay caregivers. Their role is to listen and care - not to give advice or counsel. Stephen Ministers are also trained to recognize when a care receiver's need exceeds what they can provide. When that happens they work with care receivers to help them receive the level of care they really need.

Trust is essential to a caring relationship, and Stephen Ministers are people you can trust. Confidentiality is one of the most important principles of Stephen Ministry, and what a care receiver tells his or her Stephen Minister is kept in strictest confidence.

Pastors will always be the primary caregivers, but there is no way pastors can meet all the needs for care. God has called all of us, not just pastors, to minister to one another. Stephen Ministry multiplies ministry by turning pastors into equippers, so they can enable lay people to provide caring ministry as well.

How Can Someone Receive Care from a Stephen Minister?

Jackie Stempel is our Stephen Leader who coordinates referrals. You can reach her at 903-860-3955. If you or someone you know could benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister, you can talk to her or to Pastor Stephen Cotten. If you want to talk about Stephen Ministry for someone else, make sure you get his or her permission first.

How Can Someone Become a Stephen Minister?

We train a new class every year. Stephen Ministers make a two-year commitment to train and serve. If you are interested in joining this ministry—please contact the church office at 537-3616.