Helping the needyLet’s Look at Stephen Ministry

by Kory Schramm, Stephen Minister

Last week Pastor Phillips shared on God’s strength and comfort. Below is an article that illustrates Stephen Ministry.

As Milo* sifted through his mounting pile of insurance forms there came a knock on the door. Glancing at the clock, he realized it was his first visit from a Stephen Minister. After many inquiries from pastor, he had reluctantly agreed to meet with an individual assigned to him. And even though he felt he really didn’t need anyone to talk to, Milo answered the door – figuring it would be a short conversation and both parties would agree that there were others in the congregation and community that needed “cared for” more.

That was a year ago. Today, Milo anxiously awaits the arrival of his Stephen Minister each week. He’s formed a tremendous bond, rooted in Christ, with his caregiver. After all, his Stephen Minister has confidentially been beside him for his journey – the doctor visits, the test results, the emotional highs and lows that come with a cancer diagnosis. His “friend” has listened, lent an arm of support when needed, provided advice when asked, and nudged when required. Most importantly, he’s had the Holy Spirit work through him in ways Milo can only look back and marvel at.

“Every time we met, my Stephen Minister would ask how I was doing that week physically, emotionally and spiritually,” mentions Milo. “I often was running low in one of those areas and our conversations always picked me back up. Not necessarily by what insight was given to me, as sometimes I did all the talking, but I knew the person at the table across from me was put there by God to be a sounding board.”

Based on his experiences, Milo is happy to talk about Stephen Ministry to anyone who will listen. In fact, since a network of Stephen Ministers is at work all over the world, Milo hasn’t hesitated to encourage his long-distance pals from getting online and finding a care giver nearest them. And with his cancer in remission, Milo is having conversations with his wife about taking this fall’s training course so he can hopefully help someone else in the same way he’s been blessed.

“I have a quote I look at each day that reminds me of the path Christ has put me on as it relates to Stephen Ministry,” states Milo. “It reads – The difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has difficulty, and every difficulty has opportunity. (* Since Stephen Ministry is completely confidential, Milo is a fictitious reference but does reflect a common experience.)

What is Stephen Ministry?
It’s an organized group of lay caregivers that provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care and support to people experiencing grief, divorce, health problems, job loss, loneliness, disability, relocation or other life difficulties. Churches of various denominations are involved and use this one on one caregiving to help people with long and short term problems and concerns. Stephen Ministers volunteer to serve through the church and receive intensive group training and prayerful guidance from other Stephen Ministers. A Stephen Minister is matched by the pastor to someone of the same sex who needs help getting through a life-changing experience, and together the caregiver and care receiver agree to details on meeting.

Watch a video on Stephen Ministry

Want more information, check out Gloria Dei’s Web site.

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