Stephen Ministries

What is the Stephen Ministries?

Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV.

What are Care Receivers?

Care receivers are people – congregation members and others in the community – who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life – experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.

Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:

  • The relationship between a care receiver and a Stephen Minister is confidential.
  • Men are matched with men; women with women.
  • When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.

We live in a fast-paced and fragmented world. People suffer crises and tragedies, but they don’t have caregivers they can count on. Family members and friends may be scattered across the continent – or even the world. Neighborhoods rarely offer the support they once did. So when a crisis or challenge hits, many people have no one to turn to and end up facing it alone.

Overwhelming Needs

Congregations today are overwhelmed with needs for care – needs of their own members and of the surrounding community.

  • People who are hospitalized
  • The grieving
  • Those suffering loneliness or discouragement
  • The divorced or separated
  • Those who are dying and their families and friends
  • Unemployed persons
  • People who are home-bound or institutionalized
  • Those dealing with moving and the losses and challenges of relocating
  • Parents grappling with loss when children leave home
  • Those convalescing or rehabilitating
  • New parents
  • Single parents and children being parented by grandparents.
  • Victims of natural or human-caused disasters
  • Those in spiritual crisis