Stephen Ministers are trained to provide high quality one-on-one Christian, lay, confidential pastoral care to hurting people. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Stephen Ministers gather regularly with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education. Stephen Ministry, part of St. Paul’s since the mid-1990’s, is part of the Greater Dayton Stephen Ministry Network which offers training to new Stephen Ministers each year alternating daytime training with evening training. Stephen Ministry at St. Paul’s is currently led by: Marjo van Patten, Stephen Leader and Joey Thiele, Emerita Stephen Leader. Stephen Ministers are: Bruce Huntsbarger, Muriel Hunt, Carol Charbel Jones, and Susie Mansfield.
People who receive care from Stephen Ministers are generally members of St. Paul’s who are referred by clergy. These care receivers are people struggling through a difficult time in life – experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, illness, or some other life crisis.
Stephen Ministry multiplies blessings throughout the church and community. Congregations receive a practical and powerful way to respond to Christ’s commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12 RSV).
Pastors have a team of gifted, trained, and committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people. Laypeople nurture and use their gifts in meaningful ministry, growing spiritually as they serve others. People who are hurting have a compassionate companion—a caring Christian friend who provides emotional and spiritual support.
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.
When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.