What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is, Christ caring for people through people.
Stephen was an early Christian who realized the value of coming alongside church leaders to assist them in helping those in need of help.
Its modern origins began in 1975 when Pastor Ken Haugk, who also holds a PhD in Psychology, provided specific and extended training for volunteers in his church to become effective helpers, using Christ centered, psychologically relevant materials and activities. Since then it has become part of the caring fabric of 12,000 congregations throughout Canada, the U.S., and 29 other countries. Six hundred thousand caregivers have been privileged to provide assistance to 1.5 million care-receivers.
At Gateway Winnipeg, Stephen Ministry began in 2013 by having three leaders trained. By Spring 2017 we had five trained leaders, all of whom have had prior experience in education, counselling, social work, chaplaincy, or ministry. By that time, we’d also had 17 people who had completed the SM in-house training, including six young adults, who have been trained but are not, at this point, active Stephen Ministers. Our Stephen Ministers began servicing our congregation in the fall of 2014. Since then 20 individuals have received individualized care, two were directed to other sources for assistance, and one Stephen Minister is now working with a small group. The duration of engagement of Stephen caregivers with care-receivers has varied from several weeks to more than six months.
Christ’s love is real and can reach us in all circumstances. Sometimes situations may temporarily disrupt our lives and thereby challenge our peace. This could include, but not be limited to, changes brought about by: aging, illness, job loss, relationship issues, divorce, and loss of a loved one. Our Stephen Ministers are members of Gateway Church who have an interest, and talent for deep listening and caring for others. In addition to this innate suitability, each has committed to 50 hours of training to enhance their effectiveness as “care-givers” so that Christ can continue to work as the “cure-giver”.
How it works:
Stephen Ministers will spend one hour per week with their care-receiver, at a time and place that is mutually agreeable. The meetings will always be one-on- one, confidential and with the same gender. The process of acquiring a Stephen Minister is:
- Referral by yourself, a friend, a cell group leader, or pastor, to a Stephen Ministry leader.
- Ingrid or Barry Esselmont are currently managing referrals.
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org (204-669-2685)
- Brief interview with a gender matched Stephen Ministry leader to determine if SM is the best ministry to assist you. If it is, you will sign an agreement to receive care.
- Receive a call from the Stephen Minister, prayerfully assigned to you, so that the two of you can begin the caring relationship. It would continue for as long as you both felt it was useful.
Stephen Ministry is part of the “Pastoral Care” service at Gateway Church.
Peter Todd at our Panet campus, and Aaron Wiebe at our Rathgar campus, are the primary pastors to contact. We trust Stephen Ministry has been and will continue to be of service to our congregation. Its only purpose is to care, and its only goal is your well being. Don’t hesitate to call or email if you, or someone else you care about at Gateway, could benefit from the care that can be provided through Stephen Ministry. Jesus loves you and so do we and it will be a privilege to be part of the expression of that care for you.
If you would like to be a Stephen Minister and can commit to the 50 hours of training, please email your contact information to stephenministry@gatewaywinnipeg,com. If a class is not currently being scheduled, your name will be kept on file until there is demand for additional ministers. In the meantime, feel free to check out the official Stephen Ministry website: www.stephenministries.org , to learn more about this opportunity as either a care-receiver or potential caregiver.
Some relevant scriptures that embody Gateway Stephen Ministry:
- “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others”. Philippians 2:4
- “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
- “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor”. Romans 12:10
- “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10
Best wishes in faith!