STEPHEN MINISTRY 

 
We are in the beginning stages of launching a Stephen Ministry here at Compassion. Right now, we are working on training congregational members to become Stephen Ministers. Training will begin in February, 2022.
 
What is Stephen Ministry?
 
Stephen Ministry offers a proven and effective way to organize, equip, and supervise a team of congregational members–called Stephen Ministers— to provide high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care to people in the congregation and the community who are experiencing life difficulties. It functions as an extension of pastoral care and helps carry out the mission of the church in several key ways:
 
  • Equipping God’s people for the work of ministry
  • Providing Christ-centered care in difficult times
  • Helping people identify, develop, and use their gifts in meaningful ministry
  • Deepening people’s faith and helping them grow as disciples
  • Reaching out to the unchurched with Jesus’ care and compassion
  • Growing a caring Christian community
 
 
What Types of Needs Does Stephen Ministry Meet?
 
Stephen Ministry provides emotional and spiritual care for those dealing with a wide range of life difficulties. Common caregiving situations for Stephen Ministry are:
 
  • Grief
  • A major medical crisis
  • Job loss
  • Divorce, break-up, broken relationship
  • Pregnancy, birth, post-birth challenges
  • Infertility, miscarriage
  • Family caregiver stress
  • End of life, hospice
  • Long-term illness, chronic condition, disability
  • Financial difficulties
  • Major life transition (relocation, blended family, empty nest, retirement)
  • Military deployment of a loved one
  • The aftermath of a natural or human-caused disaster
 
 
Who is Involved in Stephen Ministry?
 
Stephen Leaders are pastors, church staff, and other leaders chosen by the leaders of the congregation and trained at a Leader’s Training Course to provide ongoing leadership for their congregation’s Stephen Ministry.
 
Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by their Stephen Leaders to offer care to people who are hurting. A Stephen Minister typically has one care receiver at a time and meets with that person once a week for about an hour.
 
Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with the pastor or a Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister (men are matched with men ministers, women with women). The caring relationship lasts for as long as the need persists.
 
 
What Training and Support do Stephen Ministers Receive?
 
Pastors can feel confident referring people to Stephen Ministry because they know their Stephen Ministers are carefully selected, well-trained, and well-supervised caregivers. Stephen Ministry uses an interview and selection process to make sure each caregiver is a good fit for this ministry. Stephen Ministers are trained by their Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministry St. Louis–the international headquarters of the Stephen Ministries organization.
 
Stephen Minister training equips congregational members to provide a high level of emotional and spiritual care to individuals experiencing a life crisis. The training is practical, relational, and interactive, covering essential caregiving topics such as:
 
  • distinctly Christian caring
  • active listening
  • dealing with difficult emotions
  • crisis theory and intervention
  • confidentiality
  • maintaining boundaries
  • ministering during specific types of crises
  • knowing when to work with their Stephen Leaders and the pastor to connect care receivers to a professional caregiver
 
Once Stephen Ministers have completed the 20 sessions of their initial training and are matched with care receivers, they participate in twice-monthly supervision and continued education. This provides them with the support and guidance they need and helps them continue to grow as caregivers so they can offer the best care possible to their care receivers.
 
 
 
If you have any questions about Stephen Ministry or would like to get involved, please reach out to a Stephen Leader or email Pastor Al Perry at al@compassiondelaware.org