Stephen Ministries St. Louis is a not-for-profit, interdenominational, religious and educational organization founded in 1975 by Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., a pastor and clinical psychologist. The Stephen Series is a complete system for training and organizing laypeople to provide one-to-one Christian care to hurting people in and around the congregation. A St. Louis staff of 40 provides support for the worldwide ministry in more than 12,000 congregations and for over 500,000 trained Stephen Ministers.
The name honors Stephen of the New Testament, the first layperson commissioned by the Apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need (Acts 6). The Stephen Ministry Logo consists of a cross and circle, together with a broken person and a whole person. The broken person stands behind the cross, symbolizing the brokenness in our lives. The whole person stands in front of the cross because it is through following Jesus that we are made whole. The circle symbolizes both the wholeness we receive through Christ and God’s unending love for us.
FBCG joined the Stephen Series in 2012 and sent four volunteers for a one week Stephen Leader’s training course that prepared them to recruit and train laypeople from the congregation to serve as Stephen Ministers. Subsequently, eleven additional church members participated in 50 hours of education and experiential training in Christian caregiving. Topics included confidentiality, self-awareness, assertiveness training, listening skills, and how to minister to people in difficult situations including, but not limited to, divorce, terminal illness, grief, job loss or infertility. Training also taught how to recognize when a care receiver’s needs go beyond the care a Stephen Minister can provide and how to refer the care receiver for appropriate professional care. On March 3, 2013, after completion of 2 1/2 hours of weekly training over a five month period, a group of fourteen people were commissioned at the end of the worship service as FBCG’s first Stephen Ministers. Subsequently, three of these Stephen Ministers received additional training and became Stephen Leaders in 2015. They provided a second round of Stephen Ministry training to four members of the congregation who were commissioned on February 28, 2016. Trained Stephen Ministers from other churches who join our congregation have been welcomed, as well. This growing ministry team is now providing one-to-one Christian care to members of the congregation who are experiencing a crisis in their lives and have requested a relationship with a Stephen Minister. Referrals are always accepted.
What to Expect
A caregiver commits to at least two years of service when they begin the program and usually is assigned to only one care receiver at a time. Male caregivers are always assigned to male care receivers and female caregivers to female care receivers. Each partnership meets for about an hour weekly and normally continues up to a year or more. Both participants mutually determine when it is appropriate for the formal relationship to end.
Stephen Ministers are not counselors and should not be referred to as such. Their role is to listen and care—not counsel or advise—and to “offer a cup of cold water” in the name of Jesus. What a care receiver tells a Stephen Minister remains confidential, except in the case of potential personal harm or harm to another person.
Stephen Ministry is a peer-supervised, confidential ministry. Stephen Ministers meet bi-monthly for supervision and continuing education. Supervision includes reflection, mutual support, and prayer. Names of care receivers and identifying details are never discussed. Only Stephen Leaders are aware of the people involved in each partnership, and Stephen Leaders are always available for one-on-one supervision in the event that an identity would be revealed if a specific situation were to be discussed with other members of the team.
The Stephen Ministry Team
Members of the Stephen Ministry team are listed below. Please contact any one for additional information or any questions that you might have about the ministry.
- Robin Barton (Stephen Leader)
- Carol Ann Bell
- Christa Brackin
- Don Caldwell
- Gail Christopher
- Eric Coleman
- Jeanette Cothran
- Wofford Green (Stephen Leader)
- Hazel Harris (Stephen Leader)
- Kathy Hughes
- Carroll Luck
- Duke McCall (Stephen Leader)
- Steve McMeekin
- Jack Morrow (Stephen Leader)
- Linda Russ
- Manuel Torres-Anjel
- Ann Quattlebaum (Stephen Leader)
If you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, please print and complete Stephen Minister Application Form or contact a member of the team. Thank you for your interest in Stephen Ministry.
About Stephen Ministry Referrals
A church member in need may request a Stephen Minister by completing a confidential referral card, sealing it in the envelope provided with the card, and mailing it or taking it to the Reception Desk next to the sanctuary of the church. A church member also can make a referral in like manner for another congregant – or a participant in the AYMC, FBC Kindergarten or the Infant- Toddler Program – after the identified person in need has given permission for the referral. When a referral arrives, the hostess on duty will contact a Stephen Leader. Upon receiving a referral, a Stephen Leader will schedule an assessment with the potential care receiver. If the individual is deemed appropriate for Stephen Ministry and not in need of more intensive professional care, she or he is asked to sign a covenant agreeing to prioritize participation. (All caregivers have signed a similar covenant.) A match is determined and the assigned caregiver then contacts the care receiver to introduce herself/himself and schedule a first meeting. There is not a guarantee that a Stephen Minister will always be available when need arises, although great effort will be made to match caregiver and care receiver.