FBG will soon begin its fifth year of providing a significant auxiliary ministry to our congregation. Stephen Ministry (SM) began 35 years ago and is an international program that prepares laypeople to provide one-to-one confidential Christian care to hurting people in a congregation and surrounding community. In 2012 our church joined the more than 11,000 congregations from various denominations that had active Stephen Ministries, and you sent three members for Stephen Leadership Training to equip us for training volunteers in our congregation. As a result, in 2013 you commissioned the first group of fourteen Stephen Ministers who completed the required 50 hours of intensive training. Last year, because requests for care givers were outgrowing available ministers, three more SMs were sent for Leadership Training and returned to recruit, train and commission another FBG “class” of lay ministers. This very active ministry continues to grow, and we are now in the process of recruiting and training our third “class.” We are hopeful that increasing the number of care givers will enable us to begin to extend our ministry beyond our congregation’s walls and into the community.
We encourage each of you to pray about your potential involvement in growing this critical ministry. Admittedly, this is a big commitment, but we can assure you that the personal and spiritual rewards you will receive from your participation will confirm your decision to volunteer. If you feel you are being called to SM and have questions or concerns, please feel free to speak to any current Stephen Minister or to one of our pastors. We also encourage you to let us know if you would like to recommend that we contact a friend in our congregation whom you consider to be well-suited for this ministry. Above all, know that we are dependent on your prayerful support!
Applications are available at the Reception Desk or on the FBG website. We will receive applications until February 19, and interviews will be scheduled as applications come in. If we attain a sufficient number of trainees, a seven-hour retreat will begin the training at 9:00am on Saturday, February 25, and weekly sessions will be held on Tuesday evenings from 5:45-8:45pm, beginning on February 28 and ending on May 9. Two more “all-day” Saturday sessions are planned for March 25 and May 9. Once the training is successfully completed, the new Stephen Ministers will be commissioned and blessed in their ministry during a Sunday morning worship service. Volunteers are expected to attend most sessions, but we recognize that other responsibilities might necessitate an occasional absence. When that occurs, a Leader will provide a one-on-one shortened tutorial session. We are grateful to our congregation for the wonderful support you provide Stephen Ministry. We are dependent on you!
— Ann Quattlebaum, Stephen Leader