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Special Ways Stephen Ministry Congregations Can Use Journeying through Grief

The set of four Journeying through Grief books is a powerful resource for any individual, congregation, or organization to give to grieving persons in the first year after the loss. In addition, giving these books provides special opportunities for Stephen Ministry congregations. Giving Journeying through Grief books can—

  • Encourage people to seek care from a Stephen Minister. Grieving people who receive and read Journeying through Grief will be more open to receiving care from a Stephen Minister. The books encourage the reader to find a safe, caring person to talk to about his or her feelings—which describes a Stephen Minister perfectly.

  • Help care receivers open up. A Stephen Minister can use the books as a conversation starter, asking the care receiver, “What did you read in the book that resonated with you? What opened up for you?”

  • Provide continuing education for Stephen Ministers. Journeying through Grief is written for those who are grieving, but the books also provide valuable information about grief for Stephen Ministers. You can use them in a four-part continuing education series, reading and discussing one book at each session.

  • Reach out to people beyond the congregation. Congregation members probably know of friends, neighbors, coworkers, colleagues, or relatives who are grieving. You can encourage church members to let your congregation know about these grieving people who aren’t members of your congregation and send the four books to them during the first year. It can also be good to include a Stephen Ministry brochure with each book sent locally—letting recipients know that you have Stephen Ministers available to listen and care.

Who Sends the Books for the Congregation?

When your congregation decides to make these books part of its grief ministry, appoint a person or team to send the books on behalf of your congregation. Typically, the books will be sent by a pastor—an assistant or volunteer can prepare each book and cover letter for the pastor’s signature. However, some congregations decide to send the books through another staff person, a grief support group facilitator, or a Stephen Leader. In some congregations, a Stephen Minister hand-delivers each book to his or her care receiver.

Once your congregation decides who the sender will be, another person—possibly an administrative assistant, a special volunteer, or a retired Stephen Minister—can assist the sender by tracking the mailing dates and getting the books ready to go. The Journeying through Grief Giver’s Guide provides ideas for doing this, as well as sample letters you can adapt to send with each book. This makes sending the books at just the right time easy to do—so they can make the greatest difference in the life of someone who is grieving.