Stephen Ministry provides confidential, Christian-based care. Trained lay people meet one-to-one with individuals experiencing disappointments and challenges in their lives. Stephen Ministry is a lay, caring Ministry of men and women volunteers who have been selected because of their gifts, capabilities and interest in caring for others. Stephen Ministers are not counselors or therapists, but have been given an educational course, ongoing continuing education and adhere to a structured and accountable peer supervision process.A Stephen Minister will listen, help you explore feelings, pray with and for you, provide support and affirmation as you work through a crisis or difficult time in your life. Your relationship would be 1:1, is a formal relationship of short or long term depending on your circumstances and needs. A Stephen Minister and his/her care receiver meet regularly at a mutually acceptable time and place. Confidentiality is a cornerstone of Stephen Ministry and is faithfully practiced.
If you have experienced….. a loss thru death of a loved one, are going through separation or divorce, loss of job, relocation, loneliness, hospitalization, have a chronic illness causing life changes, losses of aging, are in long term care , terminally ill, are a caregiver to another, have changes or crisis in your life for which you need support, then a Stephen Minister could be a caring presence as you work through a difficult time.
A Stephen Leader will contact you and talk about how a Stephen Minister can serve your needs.
Referral phone line (941) 625-4356
If you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, please call the church office at 625-4356.
MORE ABOUT STEPHEN MINISTRY….
I thought it might be helpful to understand how Stephen Ministers are trained and why. The course consists of twenty weeks of classes, that last two and a half hours each, for a total of fifty hours. They are provided with two manuals about 350 pages each and three books, CHRISTIAN CAREGIVING A WAY OF LIFE, SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE and WHEN AND HOW TO USE MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES. The Stephen Ministry program is a Christ based, caring ministry. We always begin with prayer, followed by a lecture, with role playing incorporated in the training. Everyone is involved in the process. At the end of each class we have a prayer and a benediction. The following is a list of important tools they are given:
They learn what it takes to be a Christian Caregiver. They learn about feelings and how to interpret them. They learn the art of active and reflective listening. They learn about interpreting body language. They learn how valuable process rather than results orientation is. They learn how to be lovingly assertive. They learn how to maintain boundaries in a caring relationship. They learn about crisis theory and practice. They learn about confidentiality and how important it is in Stephen Ministry. They learn how to minister to those experiencing grief. They learn that telecare is the next best thing to being there. They learn what resources are available locally for a whole host of issues. They learn of limits when dealing with depression and when professionals are required. They learn how to bring a caring relationship to a close. They learn how important peer supervision, (peer encouragement), is . They learn how to make that first caring visit.
These Stephen Minister Trainees are then Commissioned by the Congregation to go and minister to those who are suffering. They commit to two years, attending Peer Supervision and Continuing Education twice a month. When they are assigned a care receiver, they meet with them once a week for about an hour. By being Christ Centered, listening, encouraging, praying, being non –judgmental, compassionate and patient, and while maintaining confidentiality, they demonstrate GOD’S LOVE and help their care-receiver accept GOD’S HEALING GRACE. As you can see, this ministry involves a great deal of dedication and commitment. Thankfully we have people in our church who want to help their neighbor with their struggles, with their pain, with their heartache by doing as GOD directs us to do… love our neighbor as ourselves.
If you are hurting for any number of reasons, and would like a Stephen Minister, call Pastor Brian at 941-626-4356.