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Stephen Ministry Leader’s Training Courses (LTCs)

Video:  An Inside Look at a Stephen Ministry Leader’s Training Course

An amazing week that will fully equip you to serve as a Stephen Leader

Stephen Leaders are church staff, lay leaders, and pastors who work together as a team to lead Stephen Ministry. They come from all ages and backgrounds, but they all share a common passion—bringing Christ’s love and care to hurting people.

The Stephen Ministry Leader’s Training Course (LTC) is an engaging week of learning, discovery, worship, relationship building, and catching a vision for all that Stephen Ministry can be for your congregation.

Upcoming Leader’s Training Course (LTC) Schedule

For 2021, Stephen Ministries is offering the Bridge Leader’s Training Course—a live, interactive, online training experience for equipping Stephen Leaders.
To learn more, call us at (314) 428-2600 and ask to speak to someone on our Distance Learning Team or visit stephenministries.org/bridge.

  • LTCs begin at 6:30 P.M. on a Sunday evening and conclude at 11:00 A.M. the following Saturday.

  • The LTC combines many different learning activities—presentation, discussion in large and small groups, video, skill practice, and more—for an enjoyable and enriching training experience.

  • Your Stephen Leaders will return from the LTC fully equipped to begin and direct Stephen Ministry in your congregation.

  • Download a sample LTC schedule.

  • See what LTC participants are saying about their experience.

LTC Faculty

Meet the LTC faculty.

The Rev. Kenneth Haugk, Ph.D., is the founder and Executive Director of Stephen Ministries St. Louis. A pastor and clinical psychologist, Dr. Haugk is a frequent speaker and the author of many books and courses, including Christian Caregiving—a Way of Life, Journeying through Grief, Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart, Cancer—Now What?, and Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life: You and Your Spiritual Gifts.

Kim Hoffer came to Stephen Ministries in 2008 and serves on the Training Course Coordinating Team. In addition to teaching at Leader’s Training Courses, she also serves on the consultation, research, and Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshop teams. She is both a Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader and the daughter of a Stephen Leader.


Amity Haugk represents the second generation of the Haugk family at Stephen Ministries, joining the staff in 2006 after serving as a restaurant manager at Walt Disney World. She now manages video production, serves on the marketing and consultation teams, teaches at workshops and Leader’s Training Courses, and is coauthor of the second edition of the Antagonists in the Church Study Guide.

The Rev. Justin Schlueter, M.Div., a graduate of the College of William and Mary, was a teacher in Virginia for eight years before entering Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Upon graduation, he came to Stephen Ministries, where he now serves on the pastoral staff, research and writing team, and the consultation staff. He is also a Stephen Leader and Stephen Minister.


Janine Ushe, M.Div., came to Stephen Ministries in 2001 and now oversees Stephen Ministry enrollments while also managing the operations, warehouse, and shipping teams. A member of the pastoral staff, Janine teaches at Leader’s Training Courses and serves on the consultation team, the Human Resources Team, and the Training Course Coordinating Team.

David Bode, a Stephen Leader and son of a Stephen Leader, manages the Information Technology and website teams at Stephen Ministries and leads the Training Course Coordinating Team. David has been serving at Leader’s Training Courses since coming to Stephen Ministries in 2001.


Pam Montgomery has decades of experience as both a Stephen Leader and a Stephen Minister. Since 1992, Pam has taught at Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshops and Leader’s Training Courses. She also serves on the Stephen Ministry consultation and research teams.

Joel Bretscher served as a Stephen Minister in Arizona before joining the St. Louis staff in 1995. As Program Director, he heads the team that produces the Stephen Ministry training resources as well as serving as a writer, editor, presenter, and Stephen Ministry consultant.


LTC Purpose and Objectives

Learn more.

The purpose of the LTC is to teach church staff, lay leaders, and pastors about the Stephen Ministry system and equip them to lead Stephen Ministry in their congregations. At the LTC, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to implement and grow your congregation’s Stephen Ministry. Upon completion of the LTC, you’ll be able to:

  • Plan and administer your congregation’s Stephen Ministry

  • Publicize, educate, and cast a vision for Stephen Ministry in your congregation

  • Recruit, select, and train Stephen Ministers

  • Identify care receivers and match them with Stephen Ministers

  • Coordinate supervision of Stephen Ministers

  • Lead continuing education for Stephen Ministers

Skills are taught using a variety of learning methods, including presentations, discussion in large and small groups, video, and skill practice.

At the LTC, you will also be introduced to the Stephen Ministry Leader’s Manual and learn how it will guide and support your ministry. This resource provides key information for directing your Stephen Ministry when you return home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Stephen Leaders do?

Stephen Leaders:

  • publicize, educate, and cast a vision for Stephen Ministry in their congregation

  • recruit, select, and train Stephen Ministers

  • connect Stephen Ministers with people who need care

  • provide ongoing supervision and continuing education for Stephen Ministers

  • keep Stephen Ministry vibrant and strong

Who should attend the LTC?

The LTC is for church staff, lay leaders, and pastors from your congregation who will serve as your Stephen Leaders—the team that will oversee and lead your congregation’s Stephen Ministry.

Each LTC draws hundreds of people from the U.S., Canada, and beyond. Participants come from a wide range of congregations—large and small; urban, suburban, and rural—representing many denominations.

  • Congregations just beginning Stephen Ministry usually start by sending two to four leaders.

  • Congregations with an established Stephen Ministry send additional leaders as needed to grow their leadership team and keep the ministry strong and healthy.

If I’m not a trained Stephen Minister, can I still attend the LTC?

Yes! You don’t have to have Stephen Minister training to be trained as a Stephen Leader, because the two roles are very different and involve different gifts and skills. People who have no experience as Stephen Ministers often make excellent Stephen Leaders. Typically, more than half of participants at each LTC have not been trained as Stephen Ministers.

Does the LTC train people to be Stephen Ministers?

The LTC does not train Stephen Ministers. Rather, it trains Stephen Leaders, the ones who will lead Stephen Ministry in the congregation. Stephen Ministers are trained in their own congregations by Stephen Leaders.

What resources do Stephen Leaders use?

At an LTC, your congregation’s Stephen Leaders learn how to use the Leader’s Manual and other key resources to build and maintain a vibrant, strong, and long-lasting Stephen Ministry.