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Stephen Ministries

Since 1975, the 40-person staff of Stephen Ministries St. Louis has developed training and resources characterized by excellence, practicality, psychological integrity, and theological depth. Stephen Ministries offers books, courses, training conferences, and a lay caregiving ministry system to fit the needs of every Christian congregation or individual. First Church is excited to be a part of this ministry. Stephen Ministries’ Core Purpose is summed up in the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: “To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13)

If you or someone you know in our congregation might be helped by a Stephen Minister, please contact one of our Stephen Leaders:

Ann Scharf: 206-624-2694; ascharf44@comcast.net

Joyce Frost: 425-823-5395; frostjoycee@gmail.com

Joe Frost: 425-823-5395;  frostj@uw.edu

One of the most important aspects of Stephen Ministry is strict adherence to confidentiality.  Only two or three people will ever know that you have a Stephen Minister: the pastor, if she is the first person contacted; the Stephen Leader who will assign the Stephen Minister to you; and of course, your Stephen Minister. You, the Care Receiver, are not held to the confidentiality rule, and you may tell a family member or a friend that you have a Stephen Minister.  But we ask that you not identify him or her. This deters concerned friends or family from asking your Stephen Minister questions he or she simply will not answer; indeed, your Stephen Minister will not acknowledge that the caring relationship exists.

Generally speaking, your Stephen Minister will establish a meeting schedule of an hour a week.  This can vary based on the situation, but it’s important that you can both depend on a regular schedule. Your meetings-in person or by phone-will last as long as you need, but should conclude when you are able to successfully navigate past the crisis that brought you to Stephen Ministry.

What if you know someone who needs a Stephen Minister? So it’s not you, but someone else that is in crisis-what do you do?  The very first thing is to talk to that person, and ask them if he or she might be interested in finding out more.  If the answer is yes, you may either give them a name and phone number to contact us, or you with his or her permission may do so yourself.  The guiding principle here is confidentiality!

Stephen Ministers are NOT equipped to help those with addictions or with serious mental health problems. We will be happy to provide referrals to professionals who are trained to help.

More information about the Stephen Ministry is available through brochures and other publications located in the Narthex of the Sanctuary and Church Office.

Why Should “I” Become a Stephen Minister?

Before they can meet with and walk along side their care receivers, each Stephen Minister receives 50 hours of carefully crafted training in a rewarding and enjoyable small group experience. Through readings, role-play, and shared interactions, trainees bond as a group, learn to be better listeners, and experience the power of the Stephen Ministry program. But, perhaps the best way to understand the benefits of the program is to hear from members of our first Stephen Ministry class, who have been quietly and confidentially caring for care receivers for two years.

Being a Stephen Minister has been personally rewarding. Not only has my interaction with a care receiver been fulfilling, but the training has equipped me to interact better with friends and acquaintances.  –Jim Palmquist

To find out more about Stephen Ministry, the training schedule, and the rewards of becoming a Stephen Minister, please feel free to contact Ann Scharf (206-624-2694), Joe or Joyce Frost (425-823-5395) by phone or by email at: ascharf44@comcast.net, frostj@uw.edu, frostjoycee@gmail.com. Applications are available as a pdf (linked below) or from Ann, Joe, or Joyce.