Stephen Ministry is one of the caring ministries within Zion Lutheran Church. The Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised laypersons. They provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges and difficulties. Confidentiality is one of the most important principles of Stephen Ministry so a care receiver can be assured that anything shared will be kept in strictest confidence. Although Stephen Ministers are not Counselors or Therapists, they are caring Christian friends who listen, understand, accept and pray for, and with, care receivers who are working through a crisis or difficult time. The name Stephen comes from St. Stephen, who was the first lay person commissioned by the apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need as recorded in Acts 6.
Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor in St. Louis, founded Stephen Ministries, St. Louis as a not-for-profit religious organization in 1975. There are now more than 7,000 Stephen Ministry congregations from more than 90 denominations.
Almost 300,000 Stephen Ministers have been trained in congregations, and more than 37,000 Stephen Leaders have been trained at Stephen Series Leader Training Courses (http://www.stephenministries.org/).
Steps to Become A Stephen Minister:
Discussing this ministry with one of the Stephen Leaders/Ministers at Zion, or the Pastor is a good first step. Please call the Church office for names of Leaders and Ministers. A formal training class using the materials developed and distributed by Stephen Ministries, St. Louis requires fifty hours of training. After a class is commissioned, monthly meetings are used for continuing education, as well as a fundamental caring support structure for the Stephen Ministers. There is a two-year commitment to serve upon completion of the class.
Getting Connected With A Stephen Minister:
You can call the Parish Office and ask for Pastor Kristin and she will start the process or give you more information. Current Stephen Ministers Marcia Horner or Judy Bumpus can also assist you. Stephen Ministry is a caring ministry available to our members and community free of charge.
A Stephen Minister is a child of God who walks beside a hurting person, and is not just a casual visitor. Trust is an absolutely vital parameter of a caring relationship, and as the Stephen Ministry relationship grows, the trust between a Care Receiver and Stephen Minister becomes stronger.