STEPHEN MINISTRY COMES TO NEW LIFE COMMUNITY CHURCH
In June of 2011, New Life Community Church enrolled as a Stephen Ministry congregation and in doing so, we joined more than 11,000 congregations and organization from more than 100 denominations world-wide who are implementing this system of lay caring ministry.
WHAT IS STEPHEN MINISTRY?
The Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one caring ministry by trained, caring lay persons known as Stephen Ministers. It was founded by Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1975 and is named after Stephen, the first deacon in the early church(Acts 6).
Stephen Ministers are lay people with gifts for care-giving who receive 50 hours of training before providing confidential, one-to-one Christian care to individuals who are experiencing temporary difficulties or challenges in their lives. For example, individuals who are lonely, grieving, divorced or separated, new to their location, in a spiritual crisis, unemployed, aging, new parents, or experiencing other stresses in life. Although Stephen Ministry is a confidential ministry, Stephen Ministers are not counselors. They are trained Christian caregivers. Their role is listen and care – not counsel and advise.
What is the meaning of the logo?
The Stephen Series logo symbolizes that we are all broken people and that we are only made whole through the cross of Jesus.
The Stephen Series logo tells the story of a care receiver’s journey from brokenness to wholeness through the transforming power of the cross of Jesus. It serves as a simple reminder that it is not the Stephen Minister who restores a person to wholeness. Rather, it is only through the cross of Jesus that a person can be made whole.
The logo’s most dominant feature is the cross of Jesus. It reminds us that Christ is at the center of Stephen Ministry and all Stephen Ministry relationships.
The broken person behind the cross symbolizes how we are all broken people, broken by our own sin and imperfections.
The whole person in front of the cross signifies the wholeness we encounter through the transforming power of the cross of Jesus. It is only through Jesus and his life, death on the cross, and resurrection that we, who are broken people, are made whole.
The circle is a symbol of God’s eternal and never-ending love for us. God’s love surrounds, holds us, heals us, with the cross of Jesus at the center of that love. For it was Jesus, God’s Son, who allowed himself to be broken on the cross to save us from our sin and give us the opportunity to be restored to wholeness through him.
Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep.” (John 21: 16b); …. love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).
People are precious, and when they hurt or suffer, they deserve the best care and support we can offer. That's why our congregation has individuals who have committed to becoming equipped to provide quality Christian care to those who are hurting. Their training, commitment, and service will make them the best at providing care for people who need it.
Our HIstory in Stephen Ministry
Our first Stephen Minister training classes were held in late October, 2011 and by mid-May of 2012, sixteen members of NLCC completed the first 50 hours of training. During those initial fifty hours, our Stephen Minister trainees nurtured their God-given gifts and acquired new skills so that they can bring Christ’s love and care to hurting people on behalf of our congregation.
One of the most important things our trainees learned is that “The Stephen Minister is the caregiver and God is the curegiver.” Through active listening, they learned to identify and express feelings, their own as well as others, which are a gift from God.
With their eyes fixed upon Jesus, the trainees learned to care as Jesus cared for others which included how to establish boundaries, the importance of maintaining confidentiality, and how to be an assertive (not aggressive) Christian. They learned the effects of crises on people’s faith and how to help a person experiencing a crisis to move toward greater wholeness.
As Jesus had a ministry of presence, our trainees look forward to their time to “follow Jesus” in their caregiving journey. After their commissioning in May, our sixteen Stephen Ministers were ready to provide quality, one-to-one distinctively Christian caring on behalf of our congregation.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the listening ear, a caring presence, and Christ-centered support of a Stephen Minister, contact our Stephen Leader, Joanne Albanese at firstname.lastname@example.org, Fred Archer at email@example.com or Cathy McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about the Stephen Ministry can be found at: www.stephenministries.org.
"Bear one another's burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."
The After People
People often ask, "What exactly is a Stephen Minister?"
One way to put it is that Stephen Ministers are the After People.
Stephen Ministers are there:
... after the phone call you hoped you'd never get.
... after the divorce papers are served and the bottom falls out of your life.
... after the funeral, when everyone has left and the emotions you've held at bay come crashing in on you.
... after the doctor says, "I'm sorry, but there's nothing more we can do."
... after the nursing home director shakes your hand and says, "Welcome to your new home."
... after the last child honks the horn, waves, and drives away--and the house suddenly seems empty.
... after the gavel goes down, the handcuffs go on, and your loved one is led away.
... after the baby arrives, demanding more of you than you ever dreamed possible.
... after you find a pink slip with your final paycheck.
... after your family and friends have heard your story one too many times, but you still need to talk it out.
To learn more about Stephen Ministries, visit www.stephenministries.org or contact our Stephen Ministry Leaders Joanne Albanese, email@example.com, Fred Archer, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Cathy McLaughlin, email@example.com.
Fifteen Stephen Ministers Commissioned in May
After 50 hours of training, New Life Community Church commissioned its first 15 Stephen Ministers in May of 2012. They have now been sent out to minister as Jesus ministered. They are providing quality, one-to-one distinctively Christian caring on behalf of our congregation to individuals who are lonely, grieving, divorced or separated, new to their location, in a spiritual crisis, unemployed, aging, new parents, or experiencing other stresses in life.
If you or someone you know could benefit from the listening ear, a caring presence, and Christ-centered support of a Stephen Minister, or if you are interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, contact our Stephen Leaders, Joanne Albanese at firstname.lastname@example.org, Fred Archer, email@example.com, or Cathy McLaughlin, cmclaughlin@nlcc_li.com.
Additional information about the Stephen Ministry can be found at: www.stephenministries.org.
Stephen Ministers Are Care-Givers, God Is the Cure-Giver. The role of a Stephen Minister is to give care. They listen, empathize, encourage, pray, and provide emotional and spiritual support on a weekly basis to hurting people for as long as the need persists. God works in and through them to bring hope and healing. If you are feeling lonely, experiencing a crisis, struggling through a difficult time, or simply find yourself stressed by everyday life, talk with our Stephen Leaders, Joanne Albanese, firstname.lastname@example.org, Fred Archer, email@example.com or Cathy Mclaughlin, firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about Stephen Ministry. Our Stephen Ministers are ready to care for you!
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, New Life Community Church commissioned Cathy McLaughlin as a Stephen Leader. Cathy completed a week’s long training at one of the Leaders’ Training Courses that the Stephen Ministry offers to equip those who feel called to leadership in the ministry. Cathy joins Joanne Albanese and Fred Archer on the Stephen Ministry Leadership Team at New Life Community Church.
What do Stephen Ministry Leaders do?
-Cast a vision and build awareness for Stephen Ministry in their congregation
-Recruit, select, and train Stephen Ministers
-Connect Stephen Ministers with people who need care
-Provide ongoing supervision and continuing education for Stephen Ministers
-Keep Stephen Ministry vibrant and strong
On Sunday, May 18, 2014, we commissioned our new Stephen Ministers. They have undertaken 50 hours of training that has provided them with the knowledge and skills to offer quality, distinctively Christian one-to-one care to people suffering from grief, loss, and other difficulties.
We ask God’s blessing on these Stephen Ministers and on their ministry to their care receivers in the weeks, months, and years ahead. We thank God for their gifts, and we ask Him to be present with them both in their times of joy and of sorrow as they bring God’s care to those in need.
Our newly commissioned Stephen Ministers begin twice-monthly supervision and continuing education this week. Pray for them as they begin their first caregiving assignments and continue to grow as caregivers.
If you have questions, please talk with one of our Stephen Leaders: Joanne Albanese (email@example.com), Fred Archer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cathy McLaughlin (email@example.com)
Do you want to know what Stephen Ministers learn in their weekly training sessions?
Module One—The Person of the Caregiver
Our Stephen Minister trainees received an introduction to the 50 hours of training and will explore the Christ-centered foundation of Stephen Ministry.
Module Two—Feelings: Your, Mine, and Ours
Feelings are a gift from God. In this session our Stephen Minister trainees learned to help people recognize, accept, and express their feelings, and invite them to trust God to bring them healing and wholeness. They explored the benefits of expressing feelings and the harm that can come when feelings remain unexpressed.
Module Three—The Art of Listening
Listening is an essential part of Stephen Ministry. Stephen Ministers use active listening skills to help people recognize and accept the feelings they are experiencing. In this session Stephen Ministers learned and practiced the skill of reflecting as a valuable listening tool. They explored the many facets of listening and talked about their own experiences so as to better understand when listening is effective and when it feels fake or makes a person feel uncomfortable.
Module Four—Distinctively Christian Caring (Part 1)
This is the first of two sessions on distinctively Christian caring. Stephen Ministers explored the essentials of using their Christian faith in caring for another, drawing on the resources of prayer, witnessing, the Bible, forgiveness, blessings, and more.
An important motto of Stephen Ministry is “The Stephen Minister is the caregiver, and God is the curegiver.” This training session underscored this Christ-centered focus for Stephen Ministers.
Module Four—Distinctively Christian Caring (Part 2)
This is the second of two sessions on this topic, as Stephen Minister trainees explored how Christian caregivers have something distinct that they can offer that other caregivers cannot provide—God’s unconditional love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
In this session our Stephen Ministers specifically practiced and discussed the use of prayer, confession and the Bible in caregiving relationships.
Module Five—Process versus Results in Caregiving
If ever there were a time for Stephen Minister trainees to say “Aha!” this module was it. They learned the key under- standing that they don’t have to (and in- deed can’t) fix whatever problem it is that their care receiver faces.
This session is a time for a collective sigh of relief. God is the curegiver; the Stephen Minister is the caregiver. This establishment of roles is what makes Stephen Ministry possible. The concept runs counter to the strong results-oriented approaches of present-day society. But in caregiving, the more one pushes for results in another, the faster and farther they flee.
Module Six—Assertiveness: Relating Gently and Firmly (Part 1)
Assertiveness has gained a bad name for itself in some circles of the church. It has been taken to mean “getting my own way,” which is erroneous. In fact, assertiveness is about relating to others gently and firmly.
This was the first of two sessions on this topic as Stephen Ministers discussed and applied the principles they read about in the book Speaking the Truth in Love: How to Be an Assertive Christian, which uses Jesus as the model for assertive behavior.
Module Six—Assertiveness: Relating Gently and Firmly (Part 2)
This was the second week our Stephen Ministers explored the topic of assertiveness, using Jesus as the model for assertive behavior. They took a look at the differences between passive, aggressive, and assertive behavior.
Module Seven— Maintaining Boundaries in Caregiving.
Our Stephen Ministers learned the importance of establishing boundaries both to protect themselves from manipulation and also to guard against their own controlling impulses.
Whereas the schedule called for our Stephen Minister trainees to cover two topics in one training session, we realize as caregivers the importance of boundaries, and so the Stephen Minister trainees spent an entire session on this module. The next time the trainees met they learned about Crisis Theory and Practice.
Module Eight-Crisis Theory and Practice: Danger versus Opportunity.
Our Stephen Ministers learned the effects of crises on people’s faith. They also explored how to help a person experiencing a crisis to move toward greater wholeness.
Module Nine- Confidentiality
This session our Stephen Ministers took an in-depth look at an essential principle of quality Christian care—confidentiality. Everything a care receiver tells a Stephen Minister and even the identity of the care receiver remain strictly confidential. It is in this safe environment of trust and acceptance that God can bring hope and healing to a care receiver.
Module Ten- Telecare: The Next Best Thing to Being There
While most of their caregiving will take place in person, occasionally Stephen Ministers may also care for people over the telephone. In this session, our Stephen Minister trainees learned when using the phone is appropriate and how to provide care most effectively over the phone.
Module Eleven- Using Mental Health Professionals and Other Community Resources
What happens when a care receiver needs a different kind of care or a higher level of care than a Stephen Minister is qualified to provide? The Stephen Minister works with our Stephen Leaders to connect the person with a professional caregiver who is able to meet the person’s needs. In this week’s session, our Stephen Ministers took a look at what other types of caregiving are available and at the limits to their caregiving. This will prepare our Stephen Ministers to refer care receivers to the appropriate caregiver should the need arise.
Module Twelve- Ministering to Those Experiencing Grief
Our Stephen Ministers explored one of the more common situations in which they may minister—caring for those experiencing grief. They learned about the shock, recoil, and rebuilding stages of grief and what forms of caregiving are right at each stage. They also looked at the many types of losses—in addition to the death of a loved one—that can cause grief and how they can provide care in those instances also.
Module Thirteen—Dealing with Depression: The Stephen Minister’s Role
This week, our Stephen Ministers learned the characteristics and symptoms of mild, moderate, and severe depression. They learned when a mental health professional needs to be involved and how to connect a depressed person with a mental health professional. They also practiced skills appropriate to giving care to those who are mildly to moderately depressed.
Module Fourteen—Helping Suicidal Persons Get the Help They Need
Stephen Ministers are never knowingly assigned to someone who is or might be suicidal, but they may nonetheless find themselves in a caring relationship with someone who is suicidal. If so, they need to know what to do. In this session, our Stephen Ministers explored how to deter- mine the level of risk and how to refer the care receiver to a qualified professional
Module Fifteen—Bringing the Caring Relationship to a Close
Stephen Ministry relationships go on until the crisis is past, the need for care is diminished (not necessarily completely over), and the care receiver is able to cope on his or her own. In this session our Stephen Ministers explored how to know when it is time to bring closure to a caring relationship—and how to do so in a healthy way.
Module Sixteen—Supervision: A Key to Quality Christian Care (Part 1)
Stephen Ministers receive twice-monthly supervision once they begin providing care, and this is the first of two sessions on this important topic. Supervision ensures that Stephen Ministers provide the best care possible, yet is done in a way that keeps the identity of the care receiver and details of his or her situation confidential.
Module Sixteen —Supervision: A Key to Quality Christian Care (Part 2)
This is the second of two sessions on Stephen Ministry Small Group Peer Super- vision, in which Stephen Ministers provide support, encouragement, and accountability to one another in their ministry. Super- vision ensures that Stephen Ministers provide the best care possible, yet is done in a way that keeps the identity of the care receiver and the details of his or her situation confidential.
Module Seventeen—How to Make a First Caring Visit
As commissioning draws near, this class summarizes everything our Stephen Min- asters have learned so far and applies it to getting their first caring relationships off to a strong, healthy start.
Our Stephen Ministers are here to care for you! If you are in need of confidential, one- to-one Christian care—or if you have a friend, neighbor, coworker, or relative who might benefit from this kind of care—talk to one of our pastors or Stephen Leaders.
Module Eighteen—Follow Me
This session was a time for review and inspiration as our Stephen Minter trainees prepare to “follow Jesus” in their caregiving journey. They reviewed what it means to be caregivers who are Compassionate, Full of Faith, Skilled, Trustworthy, and Christ-Centered.
With the completion of their training, they are now ready to provide quality, one-to-one caring ministry on behalf of our congregation. If you or someone you know could benefit from the listening ear, caring presence, and Christ-centered support of a Stephen Minister, talk to one of our Stephen Leaders, Joanne Albanese, firstname.lastname@example.org, Fred Archer, email@example.com or Cathy McLaughlin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shortly we will commission our Stephen Ministers, asking the Holy Spirit’s presence and guidance for them as they go out to bring Christ’s care to hurting people. Just as Jesus commissioned his disciples to go out to minister to others in his name, we commission our Stephen Ministers to extend Christ’s care on behalf of our congregation to those in our midst who need it most.
Please join in praying for them and offering them support and encouragement as our congregation celebrates the beginning of their caring ministry.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
SPECIAL EVENT .... Stephen Ministry Workshop
On April 20, 2013, New Life Community Church hosted a Stephen Ministry Workshop for Stephen Ministries, St. Louis, Missouri. In doing so, we were able to plant seeds of hope and healing to twenty-two congregations that came from Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk.
God continued to provide the growth to the ministry when Fred Archer, a Stephen Minister, felt called to attend a week-long Stephen Leader Training this June, 2013 in Orlando, Florida.
Commissioning of Fred Archer as a Stephen Leader
Below is the “laying on of hands” by the elders as Fred Archer is commissioned as a Stephen Ministry Leader. Fred joined Joanne Albanese, our other Stephen Ministry Leader.
The H.E.R.O.E.S. Care Training
On Saturday, July 13, 2013 three of our Stephen Ministers and Joanne Albanese attended the H.E.R.O.E.S. Care Workshop in Pompton Lakes, NJ. The H.E.R.O.E.S. Care Program equips Stephen Ministers and Stephen Leaders to provide help and support to service members and military families before, during, and after deployment.
Pictured is Rev. Brandon Dunman, a Stephen Leader and H.E.R.O.E.S. Care Program Manager, and three of New Life Community Church’s Stephen Ministers, William Lapp, Chris Petrignani, and Scott Monroe.