Become a Stephen Minister
Want to know what it's like to be a Stephen Minister? Read this inspiring story and learn more.
"Real Men, Real Ministry, Real Difference", by Joel Bretscher
Because Stephen Ministry requires individuals to meet with other individuals, many precautions are taken in the selection process. First, interested volunteers must complete a written application, which can be obtained from the ministry office by calling 770.641.5602. Three references are required, and a Stephen Leader will contact each one for a telephone interview. Once this step is finished, the Leader will interview the applicant and make notes. Each applicant will take a spiritual gifts inventory, and will complete a personality profile in order to most effectively maximize his/her background, gifts and personality in ministering to others. As with other workers in the church, each trainee must have background investigation to be accepted for this crucial ministry.
Personal requirements, what leadership looks for during the interview process:
Stephen ministers come from many backgrounds and have varied interests, jobs and hobbies. There are some elements, though, that must be part of one's life before s/he becomes a Stephen Minister. These include active participation in our local church (Fellowship Bible Church), assurance of a personal and growing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and positive (not necessarily perfect!) recommendations from references. The person needs to have an active prayer life, and it may be important for him/her to be able to pray aloud with others. Teachability is essential. Willingness to submit to authority is also important. Confidentiality is non-negotiable.
Stephen Leaders tell every person being interviewed for involvement in this ministry that it requires time. The Stephen Ministers complete a 50-hour course that begins with a weekend retreat and continues each Wednesday night for several months. When the training is complete, each minister is commissioned and is ready for assignment. Whether or not s/he begins to work with a care receiver, s/he is expected to attend bi-weekly continuing education and peer supervision sessions. Because of the intensity of the training and the investment made in preparing a Stephen Minister, each one is expected to agree to at least a two-year commitment to this ministry (which may be voluntarily renewed).
Description of training and supervision:
After an applicant is accepted, s/he is expected to attend a weekend retreat in January. During that time, several training sessions will be presented. Just as important as learning the material itself are the fellowship and bonding time offered the group by spending uninterrupted time together. Participation in these activities gives Stephen Ministers a level of companionship that will be key to trust as the group moves into ministry and requires accountability.
From January until May or June, the trainees will meet each Wednesday night for a two and a half hour training session. These sessions cover such topics as active listening, assertiveness training, boundaries, dealing with divorce, helping those facing death, and many other topics. Role-play is an important part of the learning process. Two training manuals (purchased before the retreat) will be used throughout the course of the training. Some reading is required between class sessions.
When training is completed, the new group of Stephen Ministers will be commissioned. Commissioning does not mean that each new minister will immediately be assigned a care receiver. Each commissioned Stephen Minister is expected to participate in Continuing Education and Peer Supervision on two Wednesday nights during each month. Those who do not have care receivers need to be available for assisting with supervision for those who are currently serving. This is key to the effectiveness of each individual Stephen Minister.
Contact Marilyn Shinn