Stephen Ministers are members of the congregation recruited, selected, trained, and commissioned to provide one-to-one caring ministry to people in care of need. They participate in Supervision Group and commit to serve for two years, including training, and may renew their commitment. WHAT STEPHEN MINISTERS DO PRAY daily for their care receivers and strive to worship God always in word and deed. They reveal the love of God to those who most need to see it.
CARE FOR THE CARE RECEIVER
Stephen Ministers care for those in moderate difficulties. The Stephen Ministers’ care helps the care receiver resolve the difficulty and achieve growth by meeting once a week for about an hour. However, they may check with their receiver between their weekly meetings, including by telephone, particularly when the care receiver is going through a difficult time. They use special skills to care for their receivers, among the most important are the following:
- Listening. Most care receivers need someone to simply listen as they talk through their difficulties.
- Dealing with feelings. Stephen Ministers reflect the care receiver’s content, feelings, and ideas and ask open-ended questions to help the care receiver recognize, express, and accept his feelings.
- Sharing distinctively Christian caring resources. Stephen Ministers may share a prayer, Bible verse or story, or other caring gestures that the care receiver would welcome.
- Remaining process-oriented. Stephen Ministers do not try to fix the care receiver or his problems; they focus on the process of care giving and rely on God to achieve results.
- Relating assertively. Stephen Ministers respect both the needs of the care receiver and their own needs as well.
- Maintaining boundaries. Stephen Ministers set appropriate boundaries in the caring relationship, helping the care receiver remain as independent as possible.
Recommending professional care when necessary. Stephen Ministers training does not include caring for those who are suicidal, severely depressed, abusive, homicidal, or who are abusing drugs or alcohol. If these are recognizable, then the Stephen Minister sees that care receiver obtains professional care.
Confidentiality is crucial in any caring relationship and the care receiver needs to know that what is discussed will remain in confidence.
HELP IDENTIFY PEOPLE IN NEED OF STEPHEN MINISTRY
Stephen Ministers act as ministers of referral, helping to find people who would benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister.
PARTICIPATE IN MONTHLY SUPERVISION AND CONTINUING EDUCATION SESSIONS
Stephen Ministers participate faithfully in Small Group Peer Supervision and continuing education, coming prepared to each session unless illness or emergency makes attendance impossible. Supervision provides support, guidance, and accountability for their caring relationships.
HELP THE CONGREGATION UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE STEPHEN MINISTRY.
Through their service, Stephen Ministers help the congregation appreciate Stephen Ministry and encourage members to become ministers of referral to those in need.
HOW THE CONGREGATION SUPPORTS THE STEPHEN MINISTER TRAINING
Trained Stephen Leaders of the congregation give 50 hours of training for this ministry before they are assigned a care receiver, and further supply continuing education for as long as the Stephen Minister serves. The training is comprehensive, and Stephen Ministers can feel confident in their skills for this ministry.
The congregation formally commissions Stephen Ministers at a worship service.
Small Group Peer Supervision provides Stephen Ministers with encouragement and ensures that no Stephen Minister will ever have to carry the responsibility for his care receiver alone.
Stephen Ministers rely on the prayers of the congregation for keeping God’s presence foremost in their caring ministry. Sometimes the going will be tough for both caregivers and their care receivers; the Stephen Ministers will need the additional support of knowing that others are lifting their needs as caregivers to God in prayer.
By accepting Stephen Ministry as part of its overall ministry, a congregation agrees to supply the resources that allow for the training of Stephen Leaders. These Leaders in turn provide guidance for Ministers. They train them and ensure that the supervision and continuing education sessions progress smoothly. They are available to consult with Stephen Ministers when they have questions, face challenges, or suspect that the care receiver’s needs exceed the care they are able to give. Stephen Leaders offer support, advice, and affirmation to the Stephen Ministers and ensure the smooth operation of Stephen Ministry in the congregation.
RECOGNITION AND APPRECIATION
The congregation recognizes and appreciates Stephen Ministers for the service they give the congregation. For more information, contact Virginia Daley: 706-485-3564 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Lake Oconee Lutheran Church: 706-485-4600