Stephen Ministry


stephen_ministryStephen Ministry is a ministry of caring. Stephen Ministers are people in our congregation who are trained to listen and help others sort through their feelings. They are not counselors or therapists; rather, they are caring Christian friends who can offer a listening ear to help others through tough times in life.

Stephen Ministry is a one-on-one ministry. A Stephen Minister will never be assigned more than one person (care receiver) at a time. The length of time you spend together will vary. Some persons need to meet only a few times, while others may need to meet over a period of several months.

Care is given gender to gender. Male Stephen Ministers meet with male care receivers; women meet with women. Care is not given as a couple, nor will a Stephen Minister meet with a minor. A Stephen Leader meets initially with each potential care receiver, and, if it is determined during that process that the person is in need of professional help, he or she will be encouraged in that direction and not paired with a Stephen Minister.

Confidentiality is of utmost importance, so all Stephen Ministers are trained in this regard, and the system of care that we use is set up in such a way to promote this in every area - from record keeping to regular Supervisory meetings. We can’t stress enough the importance that this program places on confidentiality. In order for care receivers to participate, they must feel that they can trust this lay-oriented system, so we will do all in our power to generate a system worthy of their trust.

If you are wondering if a Stephen Minister might be helpful for this season of your life, or are interested in being trained as a Stephen Minister, contact Pastor Robert McDowell at 740-593-3977, ext 15 or robert@firstumcathens.org; Rick Seiter, Director of Congregational Care at 740-593-3977, ext.16 or rick@firstumcathens.org or Sharon Stoltzfus at 740-707-3415 or stoltzfus1950@gmail.com.

There are times when every one of us experiences difficulties:
 
• Loss of a loved one
• Hospitalization
• Divorce or separation
• Loneliness or discouragement
• Spiritual crisis
• Unemployment or a job crisis
• A terminal illness
• Incarceration
• Aging
• Birth, adoption, miscarriage or infertility
• Relocation
• Recovery after an accident or disaster
• many other life changes