An Introduction to Stephen Ministry

What Is Stephen Ministry?

  • It is a one-to-one confidential ministry by trained, caring lay members of Bethel.

  • It is a long term helping relationship focusing on the unique needs of each person.

  • It is a commitment to caring for one another, to build a Christ-centered, sharing community.

  • It is a response to Christ’s instruction . . . “to love one another as I have loved you.”

  • It is a religious and educational system of training and organization, which is already working in many congregations throughout the country.

  • It is a ministry named after St. Stephen, the first deacon in the early church, commissioned by the apostles to care for the community’s needs.

A Stephen Minister is . . .

  • A caring Christian desiring to offer his/her support to others in time of need.

  • A trained Christian having developed his/her helping skills through intensive coursework.

  • A dedicated Christian commissioned by our congregation to confidential, in-depth caring.

A Stephen Minister Is Not . . .

  • A professional counselor, psychologist, or therapist.

  • A social worker providing lots of physical services.

  • An expert in law, finance, church doctrine, etc.

  • A brief, superficial visitor, “touching base” with people now and then.

What Kinds of Needs Does Stephen Ministry Address?

  • People who are hospitalized

  • People who are grieving the loss of a loved one

  • People who are lonely

  • People who are depressed

  • People who are separated or in the process of divorce

  • People who are shut in

  • People experiencing the birth of a child

  • People who are dying, as well as the families of those who are terminally ill

  • People experiencing loss of job, or financial setbacks

  • People and families of those who are in trouble with the law

  • People who are new to our parish

  • People who are inactive members of our parish

  • People who are struggling with their faith with God

How Does Stephen Ministry Work At Bethel Lutheran Church?

  • A Stephen Ministry training program prepares interested men and women to become Stephen Ministers, equipping them to care for the many needs in our congregation.

  • Their 50 hours of training includes topics such as:

  1. feelings

  2. listening

  3. assertiveness training

  4. confidentiality

  5. crisis theory and intervention

  6. telecare

  7. distinctly Christian care

  8. maintaining boundaries

  9. providing spiritual care

  10. other specialized “needs” topics on grief, divorce, depression, older persons, stress, etc.

Each Stephen Minister works in continual consultation with our pastoral staff and receives ongoing education and peer supervision in the helping ministry.