Stephen Ministry: One-to-One Care

Stephen Ministry: One-to-One Care


Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ
Galatians 6:2, NRSV

Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that have trained Stephen Ministers.

Stephen Ministry multiplies blessings throughout the church and community.

  • Congregations receive a practical and powerful way to respond to Christ’s commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12 RSV).
  • Pastors have a team of gifted, trained, and committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people.
  • Laypeople nurture and use their gifts in meaningful ministry, growing spiritually as they serve others.
  • People who are hurting have a compassionate companion—a caring Christian friend who provides emotional and spiritual support.

Stephen Ministry is in congregations from more than 170 Christian denominations, across the U.S. and Canada and in 29 other countries.Stephen Ministry 12000
Since Stephen Ministries was founded in 1975:

  • More than 12,000 congregations have enrolled in the Stephen Series.
  • More than 70,000 pastors and lay leaders from those congregations have been equipped at Leader’s Training Courses.
  • More than 600,000 laypeople have received Stephen Minister training.
  • More than one-and-a-half-million people have had a Stephen Minister to walk with them, providing one-to-one Christian care during tough times.

Trained Laity

Stephen Ministers are laypeople—Christian men and women—trained to provide one-to-one care to people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, or separation due to military deployment.

Stephen Ministers come from all walks of life. Their commonality? A passion for bringing Christ’s love and care to people during a time of need.

Training consists of 50 hours of classroom lectures, role play and outside speakers to  equip and empower lay caregivers to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.

Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour.  The schedule and frequency are decided by the Stephen Minister and the Care Receiver.  Stephen Ministers gather monthly with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.

Care Receivers

Care receivers are congregation members and others in the community who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life—experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.

Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:

  • The relationship between a care receiver and a Stephen Minister is confidential.
  • Men are matched with men; women with women.
  • When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.

If you have questions or comments, please contact a pastor or call Ruth Swingle 972.727.8261 x106