Stephen Ministers are carers. In a room full of people who enjoy caring for others as a profession or as a service, caring is a complexly beautiful word. To look out over a sea of many different humans, all of them gifted in different ways, combining as one for His service… even the hotel manager said that in all the years the Leadership Training Course has been hosted in Orlando for this week, the morale of his staff goes up.
To say it is a privilege to be here is quite the understatement.
The organization of Stephen Ministry is well-respected and the longevity of the success of the system is apparent in the stats. But the real results are the people — the ones who have risen above because someone came along beside them and stayed and committed to care.
“Give me your pain,” were the words that were spoken during our Blue Christmas service this year, a service designed to help others express their sorrow and pain during the busy holiday season. “Give me your pain” was spoken to everyone, for everyone has pain. We try to hide our pain but the truth is we carry it with us wherever we go. We smile and say we are fine, we are good, and all the while the pain remains. “Give me your pain” is what the Lord whispers to us and yet we still keep it, because it is ours.
A Stephen Minister is trained to hear your pain and keep it confidential and remain with you while you process your way out into a new foundation, stronger and steady for the next layer of pain. Because pain is inevitable in this fallen world. We cannot avoid it; however, it is not weak to want to simply talk it through with another person. Because this other person has pain too, has had different kinds of pain, and understands. Do you need a Stephen Minister? Of course you do. We all do.