Stephen Ministry / Care Partners
Do you have a caring heart? Do you want to help others? Do you wish there was a way to make a positive difference in someone’s life? Do you want to assist church members going through difficult times?
Stephen Ministry is a national program that trains church members how to walk with others that are going through difficult times in their life. This forty (plus) year old ministry is currently active in over 12,000 churches.
Training occurs every spring at FCF. Subjects address such skills as listening, empathy, confidentiality, building a supportive relationship, Christian caring skills, feelings and maintaining boundaries.
Upon course completion you will be given the opportunity to be paired with a person (of the same sex) that is going through a difficult time in their life. You will be able to decide if you want a specific pairing and also if your life is such that you can support others.
The pairing is a one on one confidential – Christ centered relationship. You will have the support of other Stephen Ministers (all that available experience), as well as, timely available support from a Stephen Leader – if needed.
If this information aroused interest or raised questions please feel free to contact the Care Ministry or (more easily) check the Care Partner box on the weekly card in your bulletin. We will contact you to answer any questions and/or further discuss the ministry.
Some commonly asked questions:
•Q: How can I learn how to support others?
•A: The proven training program offered in spring addresses everything from general theory to specific applications – with actual role playing for many scenarios and skills. Additionally, there is continuing education offered once a month.
•Q: Will I be thrown into a pairing right away – before I am ready?
•A: The team meets monthly to discuss pairings in a confidential manner. This peer support allows the experience of all the Stephen Ministers to be available to each paired care minister. Typically, you will attend several of these meetings and listen to discussions before you are offered a chance to be paired.
•Q: What if I have an issue in my pairing that I am not able to address?
•A: If the training and peer meetings have not prepared you for a specific concern you can call a Stephen Leader at any time to obtain support.
•Q: How long do the pairings last and how much time will they take?
•A: The pairings typically involve an hour of face to face time per week. The pairings last as long as the care minister/provider and the care receiver believe they are needed. The Stephen Leader (and your peers) will assist you in determining when the pairing could be slowed (one hour every other week) or ended.
•Q: What happens if I am paired and the care receiver doesn’t like me?
•A: Initial screening of the potential care receiver and logical paring techniques typically result in good parings. (I can honestly say that I have never had to end a pairing and reassign a new care provider.)