Have you experienced a life changing event? Are you grieving the loss a job, missing a loved one, received a call you hoped you would never get, had failed relationships, or a new baby, the doctor tells you there is nothing more he can do, you move and know no one, it’s time for the nursing home for you or a loved one? 

These life changing events cause stress and grieving. Healing isn’t immediate, is it? It takes time. It’s a process. Sometimes it’s one step forward, two steps back. But the healing God brings us through is a blessing and a gift that we are meant to share with others. That is what Stephen Ministry is about. 

In 1975, the Rev. Kenneth C Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist, trained nine members of his congregation in St. Louis to be Stephen Ministers. Today, there are more than 13,000 congregations,186 different Christian denominations, from 50 U.S. states, 10 Canadian provinces and 30 other countries enrolled in Stephen Ministries. More than 75,000 pastors, church staff, and laypeople have been trained as Stephen Leaders. These Stephen Leaders have, in turn, trained 600,000 congregation members to be Stephen Ministries.  
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Who are Stephen Ministers?
Stephen Ministers are church members who have received 50 hours of initial training in important caring ministry skills, and who give care to those who are having difficulty coping with life. Stephen Ministers are trained to listen and reflect in strict confidentiality, use distinctive Christian tools such as prayers, scriptures, and blessings. We are trained to give care in a large variety of circumstances, and who are dedicated to visit their care receivers regularly and dependably. Stephen Ministers are a covenant group who meet regularly to work on our caregiving skills.
What does a Stephen Minister do?

A Stephen Minister comes alongside a hurting person and meets with that person on a weekly basis to listen, care, encourage, pray, and provide emotional and spiritual support. Men are paired with men; women with women. This care is entirely confidential—no one knows the identity of a care receiver except for his or her Stephen Minister and the pastor or Stephen Leader who paired the two together.

How does the program work?

Stephen Leaders attend a 7-day Leader’s Training Course, taught by pastors and clinical psychologists from the Stephen Ministries’ St. Louis faculty. They in turn provide 50 hours of training for lay people who feel called to be Stephen Ministers. Upon completion of their training, Stephen Leaders then link each Stephen Minister with a care receiver – a member of the congregation or community who is in need of quality Christian care. A Stephen Minister is normally assigned to only one care receiver at a time and meets with the care receiver for an average of about one hour each week.

What kind of needs does Stephen Ministry address?
  • Hospitalization
  • Declining health, disability, or terminal illness
  • Illness of a loved one
  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce or separation from a spouse
  • Severe financial setback
  • Difficulties associated with aging
  • Transition to assisted living or nursing homes
  • Family or domestic problems
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Job crisis
  • Struggles in faith
  • Childbirth or adoption
  • Moving into or out of the community
  • Retirement
  • Intense stress or overwhelming burden
How can I tell if I should talk to someone?
  • Do I feel like I have lost control of my life and my problems?
  • Do I often feel overwhelmed?
  • Do I doubt God’s presence and love for me
  • Am I hurting?
  • Do my job worries seem too great to handle? Are they getting me down?
  • Am I feeling lonely?
  • Do I often wish I had someone to share my thoughts with?
  • Have there been changes in my life that have caused readjustments in my lifestyle?
  • Am I having difficulty making decisions and finding answers?
  • Have I recently suffered a loss?
  • Do I ever feel like I just want someone to listen?