What is Stephen Ministry?
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NRSV).
Stephen Ministry offers a proven and effective way to organize, equip, and supervise a team of congregation members—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care to people in the congregation and the community who are experiencing life difficulties.
Stephen Leaders are church staff, lay leaders, and pastors trained to provide ongoing leadership for their congregation’s Stephen Ministry. They are equipped for this key role through the Bridge Leader’s Training Course offered by Stephen Ministries.
Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by their Stephen Leaders to offer care to people who are hurting. A Stephen Minister typically has one care receiver at a time and meets with that person once a week for about an hour.
Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister. The caring relationship lasts for as long as the need persists.
The Blessings of Stephen Ministry
- Congregations carry out Christ’s commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12 RSV) in a powerful and practical way.
- Pastors have a team of gifted, trained, and committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people.
- Laypeople nurture and use their gifts in meaningful ministry, growing spiritually as they serve others.
- People who are hurting have a caring Christian presence to provide emotional and spiritual support.