Training for Stephen Ministry
You hear a lot these days about on-the-job training. This is training that is very specific to the job one is going to do.
Stephen Ministry offers in-ministry training. No matter what kind of training you've had before, Stephen Ministry will teach you what you need to know about how to do a good job of caring for others. We'll be training a new class of Stephen Ministers next fall.
To learn more about becoming a Stephen Minister, talk with Pastor Jim Crelin, Associate Pastor Linda Bailey, or one of our Stephen Minister Leaders: Jan Ettele, Bill Madsen, Pat Prewitt, Carole Jean Soine or Nora Timson.
This is what love looks like:
It has hands to help others;
It has feet to hasten the sick and needy;
It has eyes to see suffering and want;
And it has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men, women, and children.
If you are in pain, a Stephen Minister has the sensitivity to recognize your need and to surround you with healing love. Senior Pastor Jim Crelin or Interim Associate Pastor Linda Bailey can help you learn more about having your own Stephen Minister.
I’d like to be a Stephen Minister. Tell me about this job. What’s involved?
Stephen Ministry is our congregation’s one-to-one care-giving ministry. A Stephen Minister commits to serve a minimum of two years. After completion of an initial 50 hours of training here at Desert Palms, you are formally commissioned by our congregation at a regular worship service.
The next step is to be assigned a care receiver. Thanks to training, you are well equipped. You meet once a week, usually for about an hour, with your care receiver. Listening is caring. Stephen Ministers do not make decisions for or run errands for their care receiver. Instead, they listen, explore feelings, pray, and share Christ’s love.
An important facet of this ministry is teamwork. We meet two Tuesday afternoons each month. Each month at one of those meetings, there is a special Continuing Education Program. Past programs have included presentations from an audiologist, a service dog organization, and learning about small group homes for those who may require a live in care facility—all relevant topics here at Desert Palms. At each meeting we break into small groups and check in to assure that relationships are being kept up to date and to answer any questions. Continuing Education and the experience of others in the group provide valuable information we can pass on to a care receiver. All this is done without mentioning anyone by name. All relationships are confidential. Even leaders have no idea who is being served.
One of the amazing things about this ministry is that God brings forth new life and renewed faith in both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister. For each, it is a truly meaningful and valued relationship.
Is God calling you to serve in this way?
If you’d like more information, call Pastor Jim Crelin, Interim Associate Pastor Linda Bailey, or any Stephen Leader: Jan Ettele, Joyce Huber, Bill Madsen, Norm Metz, or Nora Timson.
The Stephen Ministry Program is a nondenominational effort that includes over 100 denomination and over 7800 enrolled congregations. It is a lay caring one-to-one confidential ministry by trained parishioners.
Stephen Ministers are committee Christian people who ...
express God's care through their lives to others;
receive 50 hours of initial training in important caring ministry skills and concepts;
are commissioned as Stephen Ministers after completing their initial training;
visit another person regularly and dependably and offer Christian support and care;
participate in regular support and supervision under the guidance of trained Stephen Leaders;
are committed to preserving the confidential nature of the caring relationship;
serve for at least two years;
receive continuing education and skill building through their years of service.
THE STORY OF STEPHEN MINISTRY
Stephen Ministry--where did it all begin? It dates back to 1974 when Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist, was pastor of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Fresh out of seminary, his strengths and heart were in caregiving ministry, and he was looking forward to making a positive impact on his congregation and community by providing pastoral care to all those experiencing divorce, grief, hospitalization, discouragement, and other life difficulties.
Very quickly, though, he found that the needs for care by far exceeded that which he alone could provide. He faced one of a pastor’s greatest frustrations: seeing people slipping through the cracks because their urgent needs were going unmet. In November of 1974, he discussed the situation with two seminary friends over a cup of coffee. The conversation turned to Ephesians 4 and “equipping the saints for the work of ministry.” Haugk realized that God didn’t intend for pastors to monopolize ministry. Rather, God gave all his people gifts for ministry and one of his roles as pastor was to equip others to use their gifts in ministry.
Haugk returned to St. Stephen’s with a plan. In the coming months he recruited nine lay people who had the gifts and heart to do caring ministry. He then used his combined backgrounds in theology and psychology to develop a training program in Christian caregiving. By March 1975 the nine were commissioned as “Stephen Ministers.” Their first care receivers included a widower, a blind person, a young woman with cancer, a truck driver forced to retire early, and an inactive member struggling with faith issues.
The impact was immediate. People began receiving the focused Christian care they needed. Fewer people were slipping through the cracks, and Haugk found he had more time to perform his other pastoral duties. The Stephen Ministers were surprised by the spiritual growth they encountered as they saw God working through them to bring love and healing to others.
The story would have ended there had not two of the Stephen Ministers cornered Haugk on a hot May morning after worship services. “This is good stuff,” they said to him. “We’re not going to let you go until you promise to bring this ministry to other churches!” Still wearing his vestments and perspiring from the heat, Haugk gave in and agreed to find a way to bring Stephen Ministry to other churches.
In November 1975 Haugk and his wife, Joan, founded the not-for-profit Stephen Ministries organization and began bringing Stephen Ministry to other congregations. It spread like wildfire. Desert Palms is one of more than 10,000 congregations from more than 150 Christian denominations that now have Stephen Ministry. More than half a million people have been trained as Stephen Ministers, a number that grows by tens of thousands each year. More than a million people across the United States, Canada, and the world have been touched by God’s love through a Stephen Minister. And that is the mark of God’s doing, because finally the story of Stephen Ministry is a million stories and more of caring ministry.
If you wish you had some special care, contact Pastor Jim Crelin, Interim Associate Pastor Linda Bailey, or any Stephen Leader: Jan Ettele, Joyce Huber, Bill Madsen, Norm Metz or Nora Timson.