“[God] consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4)
Stephen Ministry is a new lay-caring ministry that our church is re-starting in 2017 that will enable us as a church to care for one another in the way Paul describes above. With over 1100 members, it’s impossible (and impractical) for our two Pastors to be able to take care of all the congregational care needs of our church. So, our Stephen Ministry is therefore one of the vital complementary components of our church’s care systems.
Stephen Ministers themselves are fellow church members who’ve gone through 50 hours of training to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care for people who’re facing a crisis or simply going through a tough time. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, loneliness, cancer, a layoff, relocation, divorce, a spiritual crisis, recuperation, single parenthood, or any of countless other life challenges or hurts, our Stephen Ministers are there!
The way the system works is this: Stephen Ministers meet with someone in need (called a “care-receiver”) once week for around an hour to listen, care, pray, and provide emotional and spiritual encouragement. Men are matched with male Stephen Ministers, and women are matched with female Stephen Ministers. The caring relationship is free, and lasts for as long as the care-receiver needs the care – it’s a powerful way either to receive help for ourselves, or also a great way to help a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or relative who’s been struggling in any way.
Consequently, this Fall we are recruiting a new class of Stephen Ministers who will start their training in early 2017 and be commissioned to begin their work in early Spring. To find out more about how you or someone you know can become one of our church’s Stephen Ministers, you’re invited to attend one of our no-string-attached “Stephen Ministry Information Sessions” on October 2, 5, or 19 (look for details about these in upcoming articles).
Or you can also either email our Stephen Ministry leadership, speak in person with our church's Stephen Leader Miriam Kelly, or to Pastor Brian. To find out more about Stephen Ministry, visit their website HERE
Our Stephen Ministry is here to for you and for our congregation and community! I pray that you will prayerfully consider if God might be calling you to care for others through this ministry! Always remember that God loves you and I do, too!