Beginning Stephen Ministry is a simple, five-step process.
Congregations enroll in the Stephen Series--which is called Stephen Ministry once it's implemented in the congregation. Enrollment provides access to extensive training, resources, and support from Stephen Ministries St. Louis.
The one-time enrollment fee is good for the lifetime of the congregation--there are no annual membership fees or dues.
The pastors and lay leaders who will lead Stephen Ministry in their congregation attend a one-week Leader's Training Course (LTC), where they will be trained as Stephen Leaders and learn how to begin and direct Stephen Ministry.
Stephen Leaders return home from the LTC and recruit, select, and equip a team of congregation members to serve as Stephen Ministers--the congregation's lay caregivers.
Stephen Leaders match each Stephen Minister to a person in need of care. Each Stephen Minister meets with his or her care receiver for about an hour a week to provide one-to-one, Christ-centered care and support.
Stephen Ministers care for people inside and outside the congregation, including those experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, terminal illness, loneliness, spiritual crisis, hospitalization, relocation, and other life difficulties. Men are matched with men, women with women. Caring relationships last for as long as the person needs this level of care.
Stephen Ministers are not lone rangers. They participate with their Stephen Leaders in twice-monthly supervision where they receive the guidance and support they need to provide high-quality care. They also participate regularly in continuing education to enhance their skills and help them keep growing as caregivers.
Congregations go through Step 1 and enroll just once, but they continue repeating Steps 2 through 5 as needed to keep Stephen Ministry going and growing as a vital and lasting ministry in the congregation. Many congregations have had Stephen Ministry going strong for 20, 25, or 30 more years.