When dealing with deep personal issues, it is important to have a good understanding of what a Stephen Minister is and does. The following information is provided to help you make an informed choice about receiving care from a Stephen Minister.
What does a Stephen Minister do?
A Stephen Minister gives one-to-one, lay (non-pastoral) Christian care.
One-to-one: Stephen Ministers meet privately with one care receiver of the same gender.
Lay: Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised lay volunteers. They are not professional counselors or therapists, pastors, or physicians. Stephen Ministers are not authorized to give legal, medical, financial, or any advice other than Bible-based encouragement.
Christian: Stephen Ministers are Christians who care in the name of Christ. They are willing to talk about spiritual issues but won’t force them.
Care: Stephen Ministers care by listening, supporting, encouraging, praying, being dependable and trustworthy, and maintaining confidentiality.
Stephen Ministers keep personal information confidential. Therefore, you can feel free to share with your Stephen Minister without worry. There are rare occasions when a Stephen Minister must share confidential information in order to save a life. Those occasions are suicide, homicide, or abuse.
When is a Stephen Minister needed?
Stephen Ministers function in five general types of caregiving situations:
1. Crisis care – Stephen Ministers can help at a time of crisis and help people who have just experienced a death in the family, an emergency, the arrest of a loved one, or some other extraordinary event.
2. Follow-up care – Stephen Ministers keep showing up when the crisis is over and everyone else has gone home. This often is the most difficult time of adjustment for an individual and the time when having someone compassionate to talk to can make a tremendous difference in moving on with life.
3. Chronic care – Stephen Ministers are effective at listening to individuals with health conditions that are never likely to improve or that are only likely to deteriorate. Often times these people are slowly forgotten by friends and family and need supplemental care like that provided by a Stephen Minister.
4. Preventive care – Stephen Ministers can be brought into a situation before things become so bad that a crisis develops. By serving as a good listener and allowing someone to let off steam, a Stephen Minister can help prevent a real explosion at a later time.
5. Supportive care – Stephen Ministers can support family or loved ones of those who are going through a crisis. Supportive care often greatly facilitates improvement in the person experiencing the crisis.
How does Stephen Ministry work?
Usually Stephen Ministers meet with their care receivers for one hour once a week. The relationship lasts for as long as necessary based on the reason the caregiving relationship was initiated. The decision about how long the relationship continues is made jointly by the person receiving the care and the Stephen Minister.
Stephen Minister assignments are completely confidential. When a Stephen Minister is assigned to a member of the congregation, no one knows that the assignment is made except the Stephen Ministry leadership, the supervising Pastor, the Stephen Minister, and the member. No one else is told – not other family members, not other Stephen Ministers, no one. It is up to the care receiver to disclose the relationship.
Individuals who are interested in having a Stephen Minister assigned to walk with them, or who believe a Stephen Minister might be able to help a family member or loved one, should contact our Stephen Ministry Leader, Linda Mullen (call or email the church office at 847-669-9009, ext. 3 or firstname.lastname@example.org for Linda’s contact information).
Forms for Christ UMC Stephen Ministers :
Forms for Christ UMC Stephen Leaders: