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Stephen Ministries

from Rev. Steve Gretz, Pastor, Greece Baptist Church, Rochester, NY

In February 2016, Greece Baptist Church started a Stephen Ministries program. Founded in St. Louis, MO in 1975, Stephen Ministries trains and equips congregation members to provide one-to-one Christian care to people who are hurting.

Stephen Ministers are lay volunteers who give supportive care to people who are going through difficult periods in their lives; care that can extend for months, or even up to a year. Every week they are in contact with their care-receiver, providing a compassionate listening ear, and a non-judgmental, loving presence.

Volunteers are intensely trained in 50-hour training sessions that equip them to provide sensitive, confidential, compassionate care. Once assigned to a care-receiver, the volunteers will check in routinely with the Stephen Leaders, in supervision sessions. This whole system is designed to provide support without putting volunteers into positions where they feel unequipped or unsupported themselves.

What kind of person benefits from a relationship with a Stephen Minister? It could be a person who has lost a loved one, or a job, or has gone through a divorce. It could be someone who received a frightening diagnosis from their doctor, or who lives with a chronic or terminal illness. While these circumstances are very different, the basic needs of people living through them is the same: the encouragement and hope that come from a compassionate, listening ear; the knowledge that they do not have to go through this experience all alone.

Stephen Ministers are not doctors or psychiatrists or miracle workers. They cannot miraculously fix anyone’s problems. But they can care and listen and incarnate God’s love through their prayers and presence.

Click here to find out more.

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