Love One Another as I Have Loved You . . .
In John 15:12, Jesus says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Loving and caring for one another is not just the pastor’s job—it’s something Jesus calls us all to do!
We have many needs for care in our congregation; people experiencing divorce, grief, a terminal illness, loss of a job, relocation, an empty nest, retirement, hospitalization, loneliness, and many other stresses or challenges. Often people suffer silently or do not ask or receive an adequate level of support.
It is impossible for our pastors to meet every single need. Stephen Ministry expands the Grace ministry by equipping and organizing individuals to provide Christian care. This gives us a larger pool of people with the gifts and skills to bring Christ’s love and attention to those who are experiencing difficult times.
A Stephen Minister comes alongside a hurting person to listen, care, encourage, pray, and provide emotional and spiritual support. Men are paired with men; women with women. This care is entirely confidential—no one knows the identity of a care receiver except for his or her Stephen Minister and the pastor or Stephen Leader who paired the two together.
If you or someone you know is going through a difficult time, please consider contacting one of our Stephen Leaders about Stephen Ministry. Our Stephen Ministers are ready to provide focused, confidential, one-to-one Christian care—to help people experience the healing power of Christ’s love.
To connect someone you know with a Stephen Minister, talk with one of our Stephen Ministry Leaders:
º Rob Rupley (209-304-3123) º Michelle Throssel (209-256-3508) º Sue and/or Jerry Brady (209) 209-267-5278 º
Who benefits from Stephen Ministry?
Everybody benefits from Stephen Ministry. Those receiving care from Stephen Ministers benefit because they receive prayer and support throughout the crisis they face. Stephen Ministers benefit through the spiritual growth they experience from being involved in meaningful ministry. Our pastors benefit because the caring ministry at Grace is expanded and fewer people will slip through the cracks. Our congregation benefits from the knowledge that this special ministry is available when needed. Stephen Ministry makes Grace a much more caring place!
Who are Stephen Ministers?
Stephen Ministers are individuals at Grace who have gone through 50 hours of training in providing high quality, distinctively Christian care to individuals experiencing a crisis or challenge such a divorce, grief, job loss, hospitalization, relocation, or loneliness. Stephen Ministers are assigned a care receiver and meet with that person for about an hour a week. This relationship lasts for as long as the care receiver needs it.
How Does Stephen Ministry Work?
When a person inquires about a Stephen Minister, one of our Stephen Leaders will meet with you, explain Stephen Ministry, and help determine whether Stephen Ministry will meet your needs. The Stephen Leader will then match you with one of our available Stephen Ministers. The Stephen Minister will then call you and begin meeting with you for approximately an hour each week as long as the need is there. Everything you, as a care receiver, say to your Stephen Minister is kept confidential. The Stephen Minister doesn’t try to solve problems; rather, he or she listens, cares, prays, and helps you find your path to healing and wholeness.
What is it like to have a Stephen Minister? What do Stephen Ministers do?
The Stephen Minister’s role is to bring God’s love into the lives of people who are going through a difficult time or experiencing a crisis. They listen to you, care for you, support and encourage you, and pray with and for you. And in the midst of this confidential, one-to-one, caring relationship, God’s healing love comes pouring through. Men are matched with male Stephen Ministers; women are matched with female Stephen Ministers.
How Do I Make a Referral to Stephen Ministry at Grace?
If you have a friend who has suffered a loss or is going through a difficult time, tell them about our Stephen Ministry. Tell them that Stephen Ministers are people at Grace who have received special training to provide high quality, confidential, one-to-one, Christian care to hurting people. A Stephen Minister will meet with them weekly to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts for as long as the person needs care. It’s free, and it’s a powerful way you can help a hurting friend.
How Do I Become a Stephen Minister at Grace?
If the idea of becoming one of Grace’s Stephen Ministers is of interest to you and you want to take a closer look, consider the following guidelines:
o Gifts –Do you have the gift that shows compassion and gives encouragement to those in need?
o Commitment – As a Stephen Minister you will devote time, energy, and resources to the ministry. In return, you will have the opportunity to make a major difference in another person’s life, and grow in your own walk as a child of God.
o Training – You will participate in 50 hours of training before you are commissioned as a Stephen Minister. You will learn about listening, assertiveness, confidentiality, and many other aspects of caregivers. This practical training provides life long communication skills that may be helpful in your personal life and other Grace ministries as well. After completing the initial training, those who choose to continue with the program will receive periodic continuing education.
o Dedicated Service – We pray our Stephen Ministers will serve wholeheartedly. It involves prayer, thought, consideration, study, and commitment.
o Accountability – Stephen Ministers are accountable to God, the congregation, Stephen Leaders, other Stephen Ministers, and your care receiver. You will receive regular support, encouragement, and guidance from regular Small Group Peer Supervision meetings.
o Prayer – Seek God’s guidance as you consider the Stephen Ministry training. Your spiritual resolve will underpin your training.
Stephen Ministry has been a part of Grace since 2010, offering one-to-one, Christ-centered care for hurting people in our congregation and community.
If you wish to further discuss your interest in becoming a Stephen Minister, please contact one of our
Rob Rupley (209-304-3123)
Michelle Throssel (209-256-3508)
Sue and/or Jerry Brady (209) 209-267-5278
You may also wish to explore the Stephen Ministry website at: http://www.stephenministries.org/