What is Stephen Ministry?

This past weekend twenty-two people met in retreat at the Snoddy’s farm (January 13-15). They met for the purpose of training for an important ministry of Covenant: Stephen Ministry. What is Stephen Ministry? It is a compassionate caring ministry through which people care about others. People who have the gift of compassion commit to learning and growing to become better listeners and more effective caregivers. They are assigned one on one with others who might be going through a life crisis. They carefully guard the confidentiality of their conversations, communicate God’s and their genuine love for the person, actively listen and convey acceptance of the person wherever that person may be. Our desire is to be instruments of God’s amazing grace, so that others will experience the gracious love of God.

Stephen Ministry began at Covenant in 1990 and Stephen Ministers have cared for numerous people in ways I as a pastor would never have had time to do. The idea is that God has bestowed spiritual gifts upon all of us and in Stephen Ministry, we help people to develop and grow their gifts of compassionate love. When someone is going through a crisis (death of loved one, illness, divorce, anxiety, loss of job, any stressful time) they can contact Peggy Hase, Janet Szofran, Jean Oakley, Mark or me, and we will match them with one of our Stephen Ministers. Generally, the Stephen Ministers will meet personally with someone on a weekly or biweekly basis. As the relationship matures, they might change to meeting monthly; after a while, they decide they no longer need to meet. Quite often, they become friends and continue to relate in a friendship.

Jesus commanded us to “love one another. As I have loved you, love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, IF you love one another.” (capitals mine). (John 13:34-35). The Apostle Paul said we are to “bear one anothers’ burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Stephen Ministry is one important way we are trying to follow Jesus. Please pray for our Stephen Ministers and their leaders as they undergo training to serve God more effectively.

Leaders: Janet Szofran, Peggy Hase, Mark Looyenga, and Jean Oakley

Active Stephen Ministers: Susan Pendergrass, Martha Lehmann, Alice Horn, Mary Gray, Frieda Howell, Isabel Blue, Wanda Baumgartner, Grace Dailey, Betty Collins, Betty Hopper, Ted Lehmann, Larry Lawson, Don Searcy

Stephen Minister Trainees:  Liza Avery, Susan Bailey, Deborah Bailey, Vicki Cape, Fran Gibbons, Ashley Huttula, Suzanne Lai, Phil Maddox, Nita Maddox, Bonnie Moore, Bryan Stone, Debbie Stone, Esther Thornton, Beth Vest, Peggy Walker, Liz Zeman

To God Be The Glory