Stephen Ministers are laypeople—Christian men and women—trained to provide one-to-one care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, or separation due to military deployment.
History of the Ministry
Stephen Ministry was created in 1975 by the Reverend Dr. Kenneth C Haugk, a Lutheran pastor and clinical psychologist in St. Louis, Missouri. He realized that he alone could not care for the needs of his congregation and of those in his community who were experiencing life difficulties. As a result, he developed a complete system of training and organizing laypeople to provide one-to-one Christian care to hurting people. Pastors, church staff and lay leaders attend a one-week leader’s training course and return to their congregation to conduct 50 hours of training for specially recruited and selected laypeople to serve as Stephen Ministers.
The Ministry’s History at Redeemer
Beloved former Redeemer member, Bob Eger was the motivating force behind bringing Stephen Ministry to Redeemer. He personally funded the initial training sessions and materials still in use by our congregation today.
Points of Note
• 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).
• Stephen Ministers are not counselors but trained Christian caregivers whose role is to listen and care – not counsel or advise.
• Stephen Ministers engage in twice-monthly peer supervision to ensure that they are providing the best-quality Christian care.
• Stephen Ministry is a confidential ministry. Even in supervision, the names of care receivers and specific details are never discussed.
• Stephen Ministers are assigned only to people who agree to receive the care of a Stephen Minister.
The above information is from the Stephen Ministry website www.stephenministries.org. Redeemer’s pastoral liaison is Mary Peters. If you are aware of the need for a Stephen Minister or wish to discuss the ministry, please contact Pastor Mary at email@example.com.