Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system.
Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. Equipping God’s people for ministry since 1975
Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.
• Meet with their care receivers once a week for about an hour and may also check in by phone depending on the complexity of needs.
• Listen–really listen–as their care receivers talk through their difficulties.
• Reflect what they hear from care receivers, ask open-ended questions, and help care receivers recognize, express, process, and accept their feelings.
• Remain process-oriented. Stephen Ministers do not try to fix care receivers or their problems. Stephen Ministers focus on the caregiving process and rely on God to achieve the results.
• Relate assertively and maintain boundaries. Stephen Ministers respect both care receivers and their needs while setting appropriate boundaries in the caring relationship so care receivers remain as independent as possible.
• Recommend professional care when necessary. Stephen Ministers are not counselors. Therefore, they are not trained to care for those who have mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, addictions, abuse, suicidal tendencies, etc. If Stephen Ministers recognize that the needs of their care receiver exceeds the care they are able to provide, they refer them to a mental health professional.
• Maintain confidentiality. Care receivers need to know that what they say to the Stephen Minister will remain in confidence. The only exception is when a care receiver expresses suicidal or homicidal thoughts.
• Pray daily for their care receivers asking God to support them, to resolve the difficulty, to achieve the desired spiritual growth, and to remind them of His presence.