The Stephen Ministry Way

September 13, 2019 by Caryn Rivadeneira

Not long ago, a congregant emailed to ask which room a group met in. The congregant had invited someone new to the group and wanted to walk their guest in to make her more comfortable.

To most people, this seems like a small act of kindness — simple hospitality, merely good manners. But to me — someone for whom walking into a room full of strangers is how I imagine Hades — this was the greatest act one person could do for another. And my social awkwardness aside, I don’t think I’m wrong.

Walking with another person — whether literally or metaphorically, whether into a difficult physical space or through a difficult “season” — is a huge gift. In fact, it’s part of our Christian calling.

This is why I’m so excited that we’re re-launching Stephen Ministry at ECRC after a 20-plus-year hiatus. Stephen Ministry is a “care ministry,” engaged in the simple but beautiful act of sharing the love of Jesus through the gifts of time, listening, and being with others.

Right now we’re focused on recruiting potential Stephen Ministers — who receive 50-hours of training and commit to spending an hour every week for up to a year with a “care receiver,” that is, a person who needs a listening ear.

The beauty of Stephen Ministry is that the ministry and blessings go both ways. While “care receivers” are being ministered to, they are also an essential part of ministering to others. While Stephen Ministry is completely confidential and anonymous (beyond the Stephen Minister, Stephen Leaders, and care receiver), everyone who does step forward and says, “I could use someone to walk through this experience with me” does a huge ( albeit anonymous) service for the congregation.

Just knowing that a congregation has people willing to say “I need help” is a blessing. It’s good to be part of a body that acknowledges that we’re not always strong, that we don’t always have it all together, that we can’t do it all alone.

In fact, that’s just about the healthiest kind of church I know.

I’m looking forward to see the ways that Stephen Ministry can help us live out our weaknesses and strengths to glorify God together.

If Stephen Ministry sounds interesting to you, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] for more information.

Peace—
Caryn

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