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.

Put Your Faith and Past Struggles to Use: How You Can Become a Stephen Minister?
Have you ever wondered if your faith journey through past hurts and struggles could help others going through difficult times? Perhaps your past experiences have uniquely prepared you to provide the compassion and encouragement another person needs.

Duluth First UMC is looking for Stephen Minister candidates (men and women) who have a desire to serve God by providing confidential one-to-one Christian care and support to those in our church and community who are hurting or going through difficult times. The role of a Stephen Minister is not to solve problems but to journey alongside their care receiver, providing emotional and spiritual care.

If God is nudging you to explore serving as a Stephen Minister, maybe these questions will help:
Would friends and family describe you as being an encourager full of compassion for others who going through difficult times?
Do others often talk to you about their troubles?
Do you have a desire to serve God, grow spiritually and make a difference?

If you answered yes, prayerfully consider applying to become a Stephen Minister. Candidates will complete 50 hours of training that equips them to care for people who are grieving, coping with divorce, experiencing job loss and facing countless other crises or life challenges. The next training class will begin in January 2024. Look for the job description and applications on the Stephen Ministry table, or by clicking on STEPHEN MINISTRY.

For more information, please contact Rev. Dr. C. Kay Fuino by e-mail at or Stephen Leader Ann Fleming at 678-644-9108, or talk with one of the Stephen Ministers.

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