Stephen Ministry FAQs
What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one lay caring ministry. Stephen Ministry parishes equip and empower Stephen Ministers to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.
Who is a Stephen Minister?
Stephen Ministers are OLG parishioners trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high quality, one-to-one, Christian care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, or separation due to military deployment. Stephen Ministers come from all walks of life, all sharing a passion for bringing Christ’s love and care to people during a time of need.
Why the Name Stephen?
In chapter 6 of the Book of Acts, Stephen was chosen to provide caring ministry to those in need. Since the time of the Apostles, caring ministry has been considered a hallmark of the Christian faith community.
A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Once a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education. Oh…and don’t forget the training. It’s fun. It will stretch you.
Monday Nights 6:00 - 9:00 PM
November 27, 2017 - February 26, 2018
Tell Me More About Training
Stephen Minister training is an engaging, energizing experience that includes a mixture of lecture, video, group discussion, skill practice, and spiritual growth activities.
Stephen Minister training teaches principles and skills that equip you to provide high-quality, Christ-centered emotional and spiritual care to others.
You gain insight into the thoughts, feelings and actions of people who are hurting. You develop relational and caring skills you can apply to all aspects of your life. You deepen your faith as the Holy Spirit fashions you into a Christ-centered caregiver. You feel a special bond with those in your class — experiencing real Christian community.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Galatians 6:2
What is a Care Receiver?
A care receiver is an individual who receives care from a Stephen Minister.
Do Stephen Ministers Care for People Outside of OLG?
Yes. Stephen Ministers often provide care for people in the broader community — relatives, friends, and coworkers of congregation members. We believe we are to receive all as Christ.
How Do I Find Out More?
Our Stephen Ministers are on deck after every Mass this weekend to answer your questions.
To apply to become a Stephen Minister, talk to any of our Stephen Ministers or email Beryl Schewe, Director of Pastoral Care at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in Receiving Care?
Think a Stephen Minister Might Be Helpful For You?
“The Stephen Minister is there to walk with you through your crisis and to help you see that, with God’s love, you will be okay.”
All of us need a helping hand now and again. Sometimes life throws us a curveball and we just need a listening ear. Needing a Stephen Minister is normal. Plenty of our Stephen Ministers trained after being a care receiver and experiencing the listening compassion of a Stephen Minister.
Most of us would rather offerthan receive help. And sometimes it’s really hard to reach out and ask for help. We get that. Admitting to ourselves that our life situation is a little overwhelming takes strength—we want to think we can do it all.
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.
Stephen Ministry is for People Experiencing...
... grief, divorce, cancer, hospitalization, physical rehabilitation, long-term care, chronic illness, terminal illness, job loss, loss of a home, military deployment, the onset of a disability, loneliness, spiritual crisis, or other life struggles.
Are there Situations that Aren't Appropriate for Stephen Ministers?
Sure. First, we would not place a minor with a Stephen Minister. We also do not place people with dementia with a Stephen Minister. This may seem counter-intuitive, but remember the primary role of the Stephen Minister is to listen. Most families asking for a placement with a dementia patient actually want respite care, not a Stephen Minister.
Sometimes a family member will ask us to place a Stephen Minster with a parent. We’re happy to do this if the parent wants a Stephen Minister. But just as Jesus doesn’t foist himself into our lives unasked, we don’t foist ourselves on unsuspecting parishioners! We’re happy to work with families to see if we can provide support.
Request a Stephen Minister
Contact Beryl Schewe in the Parish Office (x106) or at email@example.com.
Become a Stephen Minister
Are You Called to Become a Stephen Minister?
Stephen Ministry is a quiet ministry. We work confidentially one-on-one with people who need a little listening support. We’re not a flashy group. We don’t post great pictures of our meetings with our care receiver on Instagram or Facebook. We don’t Tweet about our ministry.
Each week our Stephen Minsters meet one-on one with their care receivers for about an hour. They listen. They encourage. They pray with and for their care receiver. They ask the Holy Spirit to guide them and their ministry.
Sometimes Stephen Ministry can stretch us; take us places we might not choose. Our care receiver might have a terminal illness—and we might worry that we have nothing to offer. We do. We have ourselves. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Our presence is our ministry. We simply show up. If we’re really good at Stephen Ministry, we show up and shut up. We let our care receiver talk. We let them tell their story. Without judgment. Without commentary. Ours is a listening presence. We honor another by listening to their stories, hearing their pain and their struggles and being with them in “it”, whatever “it” is.
Our job is not to fix. Most of life’s painful struggles are not fixable. Our job is to listen, pray and offer a compassionate, non-judgmental ear. We help. Jesus heals.
Ask a Stephen Minister
Think you’re called to be a Stephen Minister? We’re listening! Our Stephen Ministers will be present after every Mass with application materials and to answer your questions, help you discern, ponder whether this might be the time for you to train for Stephen Ministry. Pressed for time and can’t stop after Mass? Call Beryl Schewe in the Parish Office (x106) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Something to Think About
Director of Community Life & Social Justice
If you are familiar with the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, you know that we are called to comfort the afflicted, visit the sick and pray for the living and dead. As a Stephen Minister for a couple of years now, I feel truly blessed to help my care receiver work her way through a difficult time. We meet once a week and talk about the things that are on her mind. I don’t try to solve her problems; I listen, empathize and pray for and with her. I’m also not a psychologist or social worker, so I don’t try to help her understand the cause of her distress or bring in resources for her. What I do offer my care receiver is my willingness to listen to her without judging, as well as my faith that God is with us in our suffering.
Many of our care receivers are coping with difficult medical diagnoses which limit their mobility in some way, so we as Stephen Ministers bring them a connection to the outside world. But the most important thing that I bring to my care receiver is the reminder that God is love, and that love includes her. These visits help both of us. We grow in our faith and hope together. We affirm each other in the dignity that we have as a beloved child of God. Something to think about if you need a Stephen Minister or feel called to be one.