2014 Launch of Stephen Ministry
Good Samaritan United Methodist Church is rolling out Stephen Ministry. To learn more about this caring ministry, all are welcome to attend the Stephen Ministry overview that will be held on Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 6 – 7 p.m. The Stephen Ministry is a Christ-Centered approach of providing care to those hurting from various life challenges.
Please visit this web site for more information about Stephen Ministry: http://www.stephenministries.org
We look forward to sharing more about this caring ministry on Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 6 – 7 p.m. in the upstairs chapel at Good Sam. All are encouraged to come to the overview to understand how Stephen Ministry can positively impact our congregation and community.
Pictured above are Good Sam Stephen Leaders (as pictured below from left to right): Judy Hart, Pastor Fu, Ginny Johnson, Paul Boehm, Patty Groves, and Pastor Weatherspoon.
Here’s more info on the program:
Stephen Ministry – Christ Caring For People through People
Stephen Ministry shares the love of Jesus Christ by providing distinctively Christian care to individuals who are experiencing difficulties in life.
Under the leadership of Pastor Dale, eleven people from our church attended an introductory workshop on Stephen Ministry at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church on September 14, 2013. The group was energized, brought the information back and the congregation was extremely supportive of the program. With their blessing, Good Samaritan UMC was able to send two ministers and three lay people to attend the Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course (LTC) from February 2-8, 2014 near Anaheim.No, we did not go to Disneyland. There simply was no time! Our training started every day with songs and a devotional at 8:15am and for most nights, training ended around 8:30 to 9:00pm. During the conference, in addition to learning how to implement the Stephen’s Series System through lecture, video, demonstration, discussion, reading and skill practice, we also net-worked with members of other churches and worked together as a Good Sam team to strategize and plan to start Stephen Ministry in our congregation.Our first activity was to pair each conference attendee with someone from another congregation as prayer partners. We met to prayer for each other every day. This week together gave our team a chance to learn skills, build trust, and I felt I had gained tremendous personal and spiritual growth. Here is an overview of what we’ve learned and what our next steps are.
Who Needs Care?
In today’s society, friends are often busy with work, family members scattered, neighbors rarely offer support and people facing life’s challenges such as death of a loved one, divorce, chronic/terminal illness, job loss, disability, hospitalization or loneliness, have no one to turn to and end up facing their crisis and hurt alone. Therefore, churches and congregations have overwhelming need for providing quality Christian care to their members and to un-churched people in the surrounding community.
Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you
did it to me. Matthew 25:40
How do we meet these needs?
The Pastor and church staff alone cannot provide all the Pastoral care the congregation needs. The help of lay people who are well-chosen, well-trained, and well-supervised and are available to provide Christian care to hurting people is definitely needed. This is why Stephen Ministry was started in 1975 by Rev. Kenneth Haugk of St. Louis, Missouri, a minister and clinical psychologist, to provide one-on-one (women to women, men to men) Christ-centered care to people encountering life crisis.
Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Who are the Stephen Leaders?
In our church, our Stephen Leaders at this time are the five people (Pastor Dale, Pastor Fu, Judy Hart, Paul Boehm and Patty Groves) who have attended the six day Stephen Series Leader’s Training Courses (LTC) where they learned how to effectively lead their congregation’s Stephen Ministry. (Ginny Johnson had to miss this training. She will attend a later conference and be part of the Stephen Leader team.)
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
Who are the Stephen Ministers?
Stephen ministers are lay people who must receive 50 hours of Christian caregiving training to equip them with skills such as listening actively and compassionately, communicating the love of Christ through prayers, songs and scripture reading, and giving encouragement and hope to the hurting care receiver. After the Stephen Ministers begin working as a care provider, they are held accountable by reporting to Stephen Leaders and by attending Supervision Meetings twice a month for support and consultation. During these meetings, Stephen Ministers also receive continuing education to further enhance their caregiving skills. All Stephen Ministers are bound by confidentiality, records and communications between care giver and care receiver are privileged information and will not be disclosed.
You can be our Stephen Ministers by doing the following:
- Talk to any Stephen Leader
- Get information about Stephen Ministry by visiting the website www.stephenministries.org
- Visit the Stephen Ministry table set up during coffee hour to learn about the program and obtain related material
- Attend an informational meeting on Sunday evening March 9, 2014, 6:00-7:00pm in the chapel
- Obtain and complete a Stephen Minister Application Form after attending the informational meeting
- Interview with a Stephen Leader and attend weekly training classes from March to June
- Be commissioned by the Pastor and church congregation
Our goal is to be able to carefully match trained care providers (Stephen Ministers) with care receivers who are in need of support and God’s love, care and healing. We must remember that Ministers are the Care Givers and God is the Cure Giver.