A program in which specially-trained laypeople, or Stephen Ministers, provide one-on-one support to members of the congregation or community who are going through a difficult time in their lives. Stephen Ministers are not counselors, rather they are trained Christian caregivers. Their role is to listen and to care – not to counsel or advise. Stephen Ministry is a confidential ministry. What a care receiver tells a Stephen Minister remains confidential, the names of care receivers and specific details are never discussed. Stephen Ministers do not make cold calls. They are assigned only to people who have asked to receive the care of a Stephen Minister.
Request for a Stephen Minister
Referrals are made through the church’s Stephen Minister leaders. The pastor or another Stephen leader will make an initial contact and confer with you or with the person that you referred. A Stephen Minister will be assigned and will contact the care receiver as soon as possible to set up a first meeting. A person can expect weekly contact for as long as he/she needs a Stephen Minister.
Stephen Ministry began in 1975 when the Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., a pastor and clinical psychologist, trained nine laypersons at his congregation in St. Louis to be Stephen Ministers. These trained caregivers were so enthused about their ministry they encouraged Dr. Haugk to offer Stephen Ministry to more congregations.
So, in 1978, Dr. Haugk held the first Stephen Series Leaders’ Training Course and trained the first Stephen Leaders – representatives of various churches who then returned home to train and supervise their congregation’s Stephen Ministers.
The name Stephen comes from St. Stephen, who was the first layperson commissioned by the Apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need (Acts 6).
Congregations: More than 10,000 congregations are enrolled in the Stephen Series. These congregations represent more than 150 different Christian denominations and come from all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and 21 other countries.
It is estimated that since 1975, Stephen Ministers have provided distinctively Christian care to more than a million people through formalized one-to-one caring relationships and have used their care-giving skills to touch the lives of millions in an informal way.
Also at Hidenwood:
Caregivers’ Support Group
First Tuesday of each month, 10 a.m., Room B
Up-to-date information, emotional support and problem-solving for caregivers of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. No RSVP necessary.