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What Is Stephen Ministry?

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NRSV).

Stephen Ministry offers a proven and effective way to organize, equip, and supervise a team of congregation members—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care to people in the congregation and the community experiencing life difficulties.

Check out the Stephen Ministry by the Numbers booklet below for a brief overview of Stephen Ministry.



Who’s Involved in Stephen Ministry?

Stephen Leaders are church staff, lay leaders, and pastors trained at a Leader’s Training Course to provide ongoing leadership for their congregation’s Stephen Ministry.

 

Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by their Stephen Leaders to offer care to people who are hurting. A Stephen Minister typically has one care receiver at a time and meets with that person once a week for about an hour.

 

Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister. The caring relationship lasts for as long as the need persists.



The Blessings of Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry multiplies blessings throughout the church and community.

  • Congregations carry out Christ’s commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12 RSV) in a powerful and practical way.

  • Pastors have a team of gifted, trained, and committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people. (Find more details for pastors here.)

  • Laypeople nurture and use their gifts in meaningful ministry, growing spiritually as they serve others.

  • People who are hurting have a caring Christian presence to provide emotional and spiritual support.

In short, Stephen Ministry helps carry out the mission of the church.


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Stephen Ministry Is Built to Last

You’ll find Stephen Ministry in congregations from more than 180 Christian denominations, across the U.S. and Canada and in 30 other countries.

Stephen Ministry is built to last—going strong for decades in hundreds of congregations.

Since Stephen Ministries St. Louis was founded in 1975:

  • More than 13,000 congregations have enrolled in Stephen Ministry.

  • More than 75,000 pastors and lay leaders from those congregations have been equipped at Leader’s Training Courses.

  • More than 600,000 laypeople have received Stephen Minister training.

  • More than one-and-a-half-million people have had a Stephen Minister to walk with them, providing one-to-one Christian care during tough times.



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