Stephen Ministry

“I promise to uphold this congregation of The United Methodist Church by my prayers, my presence, my gifts, my service, and my witness.”

—New Members Reception Service, The United Methodist Church

The purpose of this page is to share information and answer questions about Stephen Ministry and the Stephen Ministry program at NRUMC.

The PBS “Religion and Ethics” news show aired an eight-minute feature on Stephen Ministry that describes the life-changing outreach happening in thousands of congregations like ours.

Definitions:

  • Stephen Ministries – A not-for-profit ministry organization with its headquarters in St. Louis Missouri:
    • Trans-denominational–over 75 denominations
    • World-wide–50 states and several foreign countries
    • Mission–to show the love of Jesus Christ through people
  • Stephen Ministry – Distinctively Christian caring ministry in which clergy and laity work together to provide quality one-to-one care to meet the needs of people experiencing a wide range of life circumstances or crises
  • Stephen Series – A complete system for training and organizing lay persons to give distinctively Christian care to people who need it, both in the congregation and in the community
  • Stephen Ministers – Lay people who have been trained through the Stephen Series in the theology of caring and in specific caring skills

Here are some opportunities for Stephen Ministry in our church:

  • People who are hospitalized
  • Individuals who are terminally ill and their families
  • Those having an unwanted pregnancy and their families
  • Individuals and families of those who are in trouble with the law
  • Parents who have children leaving home
  • People who are lonely
  • New members of the congregation and/or community
  • Families who have someone in a nursing home
  • Parents and families with handicapped children
  • Persons in sudden crisis
  • People convalescing at home or in an institution
  • People who are bereaved
  • Those who are shut-in or in a nursing home
  • Couples experiencing the birth of a child
  • People who have suffered a significant financial setback, or who have lost their job
  • Single parents
  • People in the process of moving
  • People recently retired or who have been forced to retire
  • Those who are struggling with their faith in God
  • Those affected by natural disastersAnd many more.

Stephen Ministers’ Commitment

This is a 24 month commitment that includes the initial 50 hours of training, then the regular visits with care receiver(s) (weekly or a mutually agreed upon frequency) and twice monthly Small Group Peer Supervision and Continuing Education sessions.

Stephen Ministers are Commissioned Servants

  • Willingness to give of oneself in servanthood is vital.
  • The level of one’s education is not important, but the level of one’s commitment as a Christian and one’s desire to really care for others is important.
  • Stephen Ministers are commissioned at the end of the 50-hours of training program.
  • Confidentiality is an absolute must.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

For more information about Stephen Ministry, email Mary Scott Honbarrier or Sue Haney.

What does the Stephen Ministry logo represent?

  • Without Jesus Christ people tend to be more broken.
  • With Jesus Christ people tend to be more whole.
  • Stephen Ministers care for the person–God cures.

For me, my Stephen Minister listened to me: she listened to my words, but she also listened to what I didn’t say, and she listened when I couldn’t speak. In doing all this listening, she loved me when I felt unlovable. She made me feel of value when I felt worthless.  But most amazingly, she did all this without making me feel like I was a burden. My Stephen Minister made a huge difference in my journey.

I requested a SM when I became the primary care giver for a family member many years ago.  As my family member’s health declined and her needs increased, so did my caregiving demands.  I experienced frustration, exhaustion, grief, and especially guilt for having these emotions.  My SM listened without judgment as I poured out my feelings.  I am so grateful for the unconditional love and support my SM provided.

It’s hard for me to verbalize what my SM meant to me.  I was experiencing severe grief but couldn’t focus on that as I needed to care for family members.  Because of my SM, I am much farther along and more comfortable with my grief.  Grief is such a strange thing.  Thank you so much for my SM.  She is an amazing person, she really listens and I value her input and help.

Men don’t have outlets (friends) to share/discuss – anger, fear, weakness, hurt or other deep feelings.  My Stephen Minister provided a safe outlet to share these feelings in a non-judgmental and non-threatening way.  It almost feels like being able to release an “emotional cramp” and that’s a really good thing.

My Stephen Minister truly was God’s hands lifting me up physically and mentally to keep going each day.  Just her being there to listen each week meant that I was not going through this situation alone.  She gave me hope, inspiration and the ability to persevere.  I looked forward to meeting my SM each week!  I am now a stronger woman, I feel God’s love, and I am a much better person to those I love.

Having a Stephen Minister walk with me through a very difficult time in my life was a true gift of Christian love. God nudged me to take the next step and become a Stephen Minister so that I could help others navigate difficult times with God’s guidance.

My life has been full of unexpected illnesses and losses.  I always thought I could “push through” on my own.  After much resistance, I agreed to having a Stephen Minister.  But I didn’t want to be a burden.  Why would anyone want to share my struggles? But I found my Stephen Minister to be so dear – she was there to listen pray, support and love me through these trials.  I could share al of my feelings with her.  Though we would meet once a week, she was just a phone call away when I needed her.  I am eternally grateful for this ministry and for my Stephen Minister.  Philippians 2:4 says – “not looking to your own interest but to the interests of the others.

Last year, my wife became seriously ill.  It was sudden and devastating to both of us.  I found myself desperate to find help that would keep me on track as I tried to cope with all the added responsibility and pressure of being the primary caregiver. I felt isolated and overwhelmed. It was through my church that I met my SM. He listened to me, encouraged me to talk even more, and never judged me.  Through my darkest days, he stood by me, was devoted to my wellbeing and brought me cheer where I saw none.  His strong Christian faith let me know that I was loved, my wife was loved, and we both were in his prayers. I am so grateful for his involvement and steadfastness that made me feel like I was not fighting this alone.  The old adage that “God’s work must surely be our own,” was never demonstrated better than by my SM.

Stephen Ministry is a response of love and obedience to Jesus’ teaching, “do unto the least of these.”  My Stephen Minister came into my life at a time I felt I had failed to make good decisions, failed as a parent, and most importantly, I felt I was failing as a Christian.  My Stephen Minister was a perfect choice, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Our weekly meeting helped heal my brokenness, return to serving others and witnessing what great things the Lord does for His children.

As a trained Stephen Minister, I know the joy of providing confidential Christ centered care to a person who is hurting. But just recently, I found it was me that was hurting and in need of a Stephen Minister. I never imagined the impact I was having as a Stephen Minister until I became the person being cared for. The care and compassion I felt first hand truly helped me find my way the last few months. I am forever blessed by Stephen Ministry.

Upcoming Events

Jan 24

Middle School Girls’ Retreat

January 24, 2020 @ 3:30 pm - January 26, 2020 @ 3:00 pm
Feb 02

New Member Class

February 2, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Feb 05

First Wednesday Fellowship Dinner

February 5, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Apr 01

First Wednesday Fellowship Dinner

April 1, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

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