In 2008 our congregation, through the Church Council, decided to enroll in the Stephen Ministry system of lay caring ministry, developed by Stephen Ministries, a nonprofit religious and educational organization based in St. Louis, Missouri. The entire congregation can be involved in Stephen Ministry either by becoming a trained Stephen Minister care giver or by recommending others to receive the care of a Stephen Minister.
What is Stephen Ministry? It is a system through which members of The Fountains are trained and organized to help provide Christian care to members of our congregation and community. Stephen Ministry is based on the idea that all Christians are ministers, and Stephen Ministry is a way for people with special gifts for caring to use those gifts to bring Christ’s love to people in need.
Who benefits from Stephen Ministry? We have many needs for care in our congregation and community: people experiencing divorce, grief, a terminal illness, loss of a job, relocation, an empty next, retirement, hospitalization, loneliness, and many other stresses or challenges. Often people with needs suffer silently or do not request or receive the level of care they really need. Everyone benefits from Stephen Ministry ~ those who receive care, those who give care, and our pastor all benefit because caring ministry at The Fountains is expanded. Most of all the entire congregation and community benefit because there is special care available for a member or for a friend or relative.
Who are Stephen Ministers? They are members of The Fountains who have gone through 50 hours of training in providing high-quality Christian care to individuals. Stephen Ministers are each assigned a “Care Receiver” and meet with that care receiver for about an hour a week. This caring relationship will last for as long as the care receiver needs it.
How does Stephen Ministry Work? When someone requests a Stephen Minister, our Stephen Ministry Leader meets with that person, explains what Stephen Ministry is, and helps determine whether Stephen Ministry is the kind of care that person needs. Then that person is matched with one of the available Stephen Ministers. The Stephen Minister will then call that person and begin meeting, for about an hour each week. The Stephen Minister listens, cares, prays and helps the care receiver find his or her path to healing and wholeness. Everything that is said is kept totally confidential, and the relationship lasts for as long as the need is there.
How can I learn more about Stephen Ministry?
Contact The Fountains’ office: 480-837-7627.