Stephen Ministry

A young hand holding an elderly pair of handsEveryone goes through periods of difficulty or crisis.  Having someone who cares and listens can ease these experiences of confusion, stress or loneliness.  St. John’s is blessed with an active, strong Stephen Ministry that provides one-to-one support by trained, caring parishioners.

St. John’s has been blessed by Stephen Ministries since 1994.  Scores of people have been supported through challenges in their lives, with Stephen Ministers helping them to experience healing and wholeness. Stephen Ministers are lay (non-clergy) Christians, selected, trained and supervised by Stephen Leaders to provide effective Christian care to others.  They are named after St. Stephen, one of the first deacons (servants) in the early church, commissioned by the apostles to care for the needs of people in the Christian Community.



What is Stephen Ministry?

  • It is a one-to-one ministry by trained, caring parishioners.
  • It is a long-term helping relationship focusing on the unique needs of each person.
  • It is a commitment to caring and supporting one another, to build a Christ-centered, sharing community.
  • It is a response to Christ’s instruction “to love one another as I have loved you.”
  • It is a religious and educational system of training and organizing that is used in congregations world-wide.

A Stephen Minister is…

  • A caring and sharing person who reaches out a supporting hand to the spiritual, social and emotional needs of others.
  • A lay person who has made a two-year commitment to serve and has undergone 50 hours of training to learn skills and develop gifts for bringing Christ’s healing love to people who are experiencing overwhelming stress in their lives.
  • A sharing person who makes an average of one 1-hour visit per week in confidential, in-depth caring.

A Stephen Minister is not

  • A professional counselor, psychologist or pastor.
  • A social worker providing many physical services.
  • An expert in law, church doctrine, finance, etc.
  • A brief, superficial visitor, “touching base” with people now and then.


Who might request a Stephen Minister?
Anyone who is going through a challenging time or stressful time may benefit from the help of a Stephen Minister.  Some of these include those who are hospitalized, bereaved, lonely, depressed, the terminally ill and their caregivers, the homebound or institutionalized, the disabled and their families, individuals in a job crisis or unemployed, those experiencing a spiritual crisis, those dependent on alcohol or other drugs, people who are separated or divorced, experiencing an unplanned or difficult pregnancy, affected by accidental or natural causes, new members in the congregation, the imprisoned and their families, parents with children leaving home, those experiencing the birth/adoption of a child, single parents, those experiencing the stress of moving…and many more.

How does Stephen Ministry work at St. John’s?
A Stephen Ministry training program prepares interested men and women to become Stephen Ministers, equipping them to care for the many needs in our congregation.  Their 50 hours of training includes such topics as:  feeling, listening, assertiveness training, confidentiality, crisis theory and intervention, telecare, use of prayer and the Bible, being professional, the “small step” approach, and how to minister to those with other specialized needs such as grief, divorce, depression, and stress.

Following training, the Stephen Minister is commissioned by our congregation into active, caring ministry.  The Stephen Minister works in continual consultation with the Stephen Leaders and receives ongoing education in the helping ministry. The Stephen Minisers also meet as a group with the Stephen leader for supervision and support twice a month.

To request a Stephen Minister, or if you are interested in serving as a Stephen Minister, please contact our Parish Administrator, Sonya Sowards, at or (610) 933-3947.  You can also learn more about Stephen Ministry at