Care receivers are people—congregation members and others in the community—who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life—experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.
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.
Stephen Leaders establish and direct Stephen Ministry in a congregation.
build awareness of Stephen Ministry within the congregation and community
recruit and train Stephen Ministers
meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs
match care receivers with Stephen Ministers
provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education
People learn to serve as Stephen Leaders by attending a Leader’s Training
Course—a one-week conference that introduces the resources used to lead Stephen Ministry, develops key skills, and gets people excited about this caring ministry. Most congregations begin with two to four Stephen Leaders, typically including a pastor, possibly another church staff person, and one or more lay leaders.
Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.