Stephen Ministry

There are times when each of us needs the care of another person, a Christian friend, a Stephen Minister! These needs include but are not limited to…the hospitalized, the terminally ill and their families, people who move into or out of our community, those grieving a death or serious loss, the homebound and institutionalized, prisoners, ex-offenders and their families, those with a job crisis, the aging and elderly, those with disabilities and their families, those needing the support of a Christian friend, those facing life transitions, the separated or divorced, households experiencing birth or adoption, those in spiritual crisis.

What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a program that equips lay persons to provide distinctively Christian one-to-one care to those who are experiencing all kinds of life needs and circumstances, both in our congregation and community.

Who are Stephen Ministers?
Stephen Leaders are pastors, church staff, and/or lay persons who have completed a seven-day Stephen Series Leader's Training Course and are commissioned to lead the Stephen Ministry of our congregation. Stephen Ministers are committed 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 throughout their years of service.

Is it confidential?
Stephen Ministry is confidential ministry: those receiving care can be sure that their identity and what goes on in the caring relationship will remain private.
What role does the pastor play?
Our Stephen Ministers work together with our pastor(s) to reach more people with Christian care than pastors can reach by themselves. People who receive care from a Stephen Minister receive quality Christian care, deepen their relationship with their Lord, grow in their desire to participate in Christian community, and come to value ministry from another lay person while continuing contact with the pastor.

Stephen Ministry enhances our outreach by …creating a "caring ministry explosion" where many instead of a few are offering God's love and care in intentional, systematic ways; enabling our entire congregation to grow as a warm, loving, nurturing community where people are cherished and cared for in Jesus Christ; identifying our congregation to our community as a place where people's needs are taken seriously.

How can I support Stephen Ministry?
Pray for our Stephen Leaders and Stephen Ministers as they provide Christian care to others; pray for all who are receiving confidential care through the Stephen Ministry of our congregation; tell Stephen Leaders about those who might benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister-be sure to get that person's permission first; tell others in our community about the availability of our congregation's Stephen Ministry and the care it can provide; receive Stephen Ministry when you are in need of supportive Christian care; consider serving as a Stephen Minister; support Stephen Ministry with your financial gifts.

How can I become a Stephen Minister?
Do friends often come to you to share their feelings and confide in you? Are you an encourager with a tender heart for helping people who are hurting or struggling? If you answered yes, you may be a great candidate to serve as a Stephen Minister.

Duluth First UMC is looking for men and women Stephen Minister candidates with a desire to serve God by providing confidential one-to-one Christian care and support to those in our church and community who are going through difficult times.

The role of the Stephen Minister is to journey alongside their care receiver for as long as needed, providing support, encouragement and prayers for him or her every step of the way. Stephen Ministers are not problem solvers; they focus on providing care and look to God to provide the healing.

The training for Stephen Ministers is excellent (50 hrs) and equips Stephen Ministers to provide emotional and spiritual care for people in the midst of a crisis or struggling with life challenges. The training for new Stephen Ministers will begin in October.

For more information about Stephen Ministry, please call Ann Fleming at 678-644-9108.