Our lives are a series of choices. We're all on a journey, and sometimes that journey is derailed or takes an unexpected turn. A story about difficult choices, caring, and compassion.
The Stephen Ministry is a Christian caring process that is non-denominational - or more clearly, "multi-denominational". Our friends in the Stephen Ministry at Riverview Church in Holt Michigan, share their experiences of being 'care-givers' and 'care-recievers'.
Sometimes it's better to share with someone you know will listen and not judge; an impartial person who can help you work through, or come to grips with a difficult life issue.
Stephen ministers are lay members of St. Francis trained to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as:
Stephen ministers come from all walks of life, backgrounds, and experiences. They share one thing in common; a passion for bringing Christ's love, and care to people during a time of need.
They meet faithfully on a week to week basis to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support for as long as the need persists.
The most common response we hear when we ask someone if they are interested in becoming a Stephen minister is, "Oh - I could never do that. I just couldn't deal with all those issues".
The truth is, life and experience are great teachers. We've all experienced difficulties, hardships, dissapointments, and tragedies at some level in our lives. We know too, that God never gives us more than we can bear, and that God is always calling on us to serve one another; to give freely of ourselves and to love one another, just as he loves us.
The Stephen Ministry is a process of providing care to others, and is non-denominational. It is found in more than 160 Christian denominations (including the Catholic faith), across the U.S. and Canada and in 29 other countries.
Candidates go through interviews, background checks, 50 hours of training, discernment, and preparation, before becoming Stephen ministers. They receive continuing advisement, review, and supervision as they work to provide care to those assigned to them. They experience the joy and fullness of working with the Holy Spirit, while serving those in need. If you think you would like to learn more, or you feel you may have a calling to serve others in this manner, please contact the parish office and we'll talk. And listen.
Some quotes on serving, from those providing care through the Stephen Ministry:
"The assertiveness skills I learned gave me the courage and confidence I needed to be a more effective supervisor in my secular job—and to be more assertive in my personal relationships. Thank you for helping me develop these vital skills.”
Elizabeth - Rehabilitation Counselor
“Being a Stephen minister enables me to give back a little bit of what God has blessed me with. It’s a tangible way I can serve God by caring for others. It’s a life-changing experience - for me and for those I serve.”
Thomas - VP Marketing
Fort Myers, Florida
“Stephen minister training has helped me relate better to family, friends, neighbors everyone I meet. I’ve experienced the fruits of the spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, self control.God is part of my daily life more than ever before. It’s been a real blessing.”
Maria - Mother
“Being a Stephen minister is much bigger and better than just helping other
people. It becomes part of you - it changes you for the better. My faith is stronger. I’ve learned to listen, care, pray aloud, and be more assertive. I love it! With God’s help I’ll continue to grow through this wonderful ministry.”
Doris - Cafeteria Assistant
Jacksonville, North Carolina
“Stephen minister training has helped me grow—personally, spiritually, and
professionally. I use my Stephen minister skills all the time with patients, peers, and physicians. Stephen Ministry has made a big difference in my own life and in my congregation.”
Anna - Registered Nurse