Through Stephen Ministry, a team of Broad Street church members, known as Stephen Ministers, has been equipped to provide quality Christian care to people facing a variety of personal crises.
Some of the situations in which Stephen Ministers provide care can include the loss of a loved one, divorce, a terminal illness, loneliness, unemployment, a spiritual crisis, and the birth of a child.
Stephen Ministry is a transdenominational caregiving ministry developed by Stephen Ministries of St. Louis. Begun in 1975, Stephen Ministry is now used in 11,000 congregations from 150 denominations, in all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 23 other countries.
On Sunday Broad Street will commission six members as Stephen Ministers. These caregivers will serve under the leadership of the Rev. Reed Shell and Randy Cooper, the Stephen leaders at Broad Street UMC.
“Stephen Ministry gives Broad Street an effective way to train and organize members to provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals struggling with a crisis like grief, divorce, loneliness, relocation, hospitalization, a terminal illness, or unemployment,” Shell said.
“This enables us to extend the reach of our pastoral care. All Christians are called to care for and love one another — it’s not just the pastor’s job. By equipping laypeople we can help them fulfill their calling as Christians and also expand the amount of caring ministry available through Broad Street.”
Before the commissioning, Broad Street’s Stephen Ministers received 50 hours of training in Christian care giving skills, covering topics such as active listening, distinctively Christian care, feelings, confidentiality, and crisis theory, as well as ministering to people in specific situations as divorce, grief, and hospitalizations.
Even after they begin care, Stephen Ministers get continuing education as they strive to offer the highest-quality Christian caregiving.
“I’ve always been a caring person, but sometimes wasn’t quite sure what to do or say. Stephen Ministry training has been very helpful in that regard. I feel confident I can make a difference in someone’s life at a time when they really needed a shoulder to lean on,” commented June Carlyle, one of the six Stephen Ministers being commissioned.
If you are interested or have questions about Broad Street’s Stephen Ministry, contact the Broad Street UMC church office.