Recruiting Stephen Ministers
In 2010 1st Pres became a Stephen Ministry congregation. In early 2011 we trained and commissioned our first class of Stephen Ministers. The Stephen Leaders are committed to having the Stephen Ministry program continue to be an important part of 1st Pres’s ministry.
It is our hope and prayer that we can begin to train a new class of Stephen Minister candidates in January. Stephen Leaders are extending an invitation to everyone in the congregation to consider becoming a Stephen Minister. We especially need men to apply because Stephen Ministry is gender based and we only have one male Stephen Minister.
We also would like seasonal visitors, who we affectionately call “snow birds” to apply. We know that Christian caring can be done long distance by telephone and with today’s computer technology and Skype, Stephen Ministers in another part of the world could participate in continuing education and peer supervision.
Stephen Ministry is our congregation’s one-to-one care-giving ministry. God works through Stephen Ministers to plant a seed of hope in a person who is experiencing a life changing event.
Stephen Ministers are assigned to a care receiver who is a person who needs caring support. The Stephen Minister prays for and with the care receiver. Stephen Ministers are also trained in the art of listening. Most care receivers need someone to listen as they talk through their difficulties. Stephen Ministers are trained to deal with feeling. We reflect the care receiver’s feelings and ideas so that they can better express and accept his or her feelings. Confidentiality is crucial in any caring relationship. To be a Stephen Minister you must be able to maintain confidentiality. Stephen Ministers are not counselors, therapists or mental health professionals. We are caring Christian friends.
If you have ever participated in a class on spiritual gifts, you know that God has given all Christians spiritual gifts that enable them to serve God and God’s children. The spiritual gifts most valuable to being a Stephen Minister are: faith, mercy, teaching, encouragement and knowing. If you are a caring Christian who wants to share God’s love with someone who is hurting, then you have the qualities needed to be a Stephen Minister.
One question often asked by someone considering becoming a Stephen Minister is “How much of my time will it involve?” The process to becoming a Stephen Minister is first filling out and application and having an interview with Stephen Leaders. When you become a candidate you will receive 50 hours of training at the church. After commissioning you will participate in twice monthly continuing education and peer supervision meetings. When a care receiver is assigned the Stephen Minister is expected to spend one hour a week with the care receiver. Stephen Ministers are asked to make a 2 year commitment to the ministry.
There are many rewards to being a Stephen Minister. Two rewards are the joy and satisfaction of participation in meaningful ministry and of serving Jesus and the training you receive will enhance your relationships with others.
Please consider becoming a Stephen Minister in order to help 1st Pres’s ministry continue to thrive. We hope to be able to start our 50 hours of training in early January.
Who Needs A Stephen Minister?
Stephen Ministers can provide care for people with five different types of needs.
- Crisis Care: Persons dealing with but not limited to: hospitalization, a terminal illness, the death of a loved one, unemployment, divorce, a financial setback, a natural disaster, retirement, relocating, being affected by a crime.
- Follow-up Care: People commonly need follow-up care in recovering from a major life crisis. For example: people in crisis receive attention and care from relatives, friends, and the church but with time, the level of support drops off. Still the need for care remains and the Stephen Minister is there to give support for as long as it is needed.
- Chronic Care: People who have a long term illness ahead of them that seems to never end. Examples of this long term suffering may be found when people become disabled, experience advanced age, move into nursing homes or assisted living facilities, face terminal illness, become homebound, or experience chronic pain. Stephen Minister visits may be all that brings some comfort to such persons.
- Preventive Care: Stephen Ministers may help persons anticipate and prepare for challenging events such as surgery, awaiting birth of a child, approaching retirement, getting married, going off to college or the military, facing a layoff, or dealing with an “empty nest.”
- Supportive Care: Stephen Ministers support caregivers and help them face the pressure of caring for loved ones. For example, a man or woman caring for a spouse or family member, an adult child placing an elderly parent in long term care, the parent of a special needs son or daughter. Stephen Ministry can offer needed support.
Do You or Someone You Know Need a Stephen Minister?
Contact the pastor at 813-782-7412 or Tina Hannold 813-782-8303. Help is only a phone call away.