stephen ministry

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

what is stephen ministry?

FUMCT’s first class of Stephen Ministers were commissioned Sunday, May 22, 2016. The six Stephen Ministers are ready to begin caring relationships with those in need such as individuals who are facing a life transition, coping with divorce, aging or homebound, grieving, dealing with a long-term illness or terminal illness, or caring for a family member with a long-term illness or disability. At this time, please join us in prayer that those who are hurting will be encouraged to turn to the pastors and Stephen Ministers for help; that those offered Stephen Ministry be receptive; and that the congregation and staff of our church will use discernment to recognize the needs of potential care receivers and refer them so they may be provided with distinctively Christian care. 

Find out more information on Stephen Ministries on our FAQ page.

Stephen Ministers (pictured above)

L-R: Janice Stewart, Todd Zizzi, Shea Zizzi, Beverly May, Janet Griffith, Shannon Templeton

Stephen Ministry Leaders (pictured below)

L-R: Mike Spalding, Terri Boman, Rev. Dan Kilgore, Susan Kizziah


Frequently asked questions

Who are Stephen Ministers?

Stephen Ministers are regular attendees at First Church. They have been interviewed and passed reference and background checks. They have completed 50 hours of training to provide emotional and spiritual care to individuals facing a crisis or difficult situation. They demonstrate God’s love by coming alongside individuals who need a little extra support.

What challenges are Stephen Ministers equipped to deal with?

Stephen Ministers support care receivers who are dealing with all sorts of challenges. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The loss of a loved one, divorce or separation, failed relationships, family stress
  • Hospitalization, serious or chronic illness, aging and dying, recovery after an accident or disaster
  • Birth, adoption, miscarriage, infertility
  • Unemployment or job crisis, financial concerns, relocation

Are any challenges off-limits?

Stephen Ministers are not equipped to work with minors, those who are at risk of hurting themselves or others, or those who need mental health treatment, therapy, or medication. When necessary, Stephen Ministers refer their care receivers to health professionals or counselors.

How do I know if I should request a Stephen Minister?

If you’re facing a challenge you can’t deal with on your own, or if you find yourself wearing out your friends and family with your challenges, a Stephen Minister might be right for you. Stephen Ministers are specially equipped to walk with you through large and small challenges.

I have a friend who could use a Stephen Minister. How can I refer him or her?

First, talk with your friend about the Stephen Ministry and review the program with them. Once your friend is aware of the program and believe it is something they are interested in, they can contact the Stephen Ministry directly either by phone or email. Your friend must contact the Stephen Ministry themselves as you can not make a referral or contact the Ministry on their behalf.  

Do I get a man if I’m a man or a woman if I’m a woman?

Yes, individuals are always paired with a Stephen Minister of the same sex.

My spouse and I have the same issue. Can we work with a Stephen Minister together?

While you may be facing the same issue, you’re probably processing it differently. Therefore, it’s beneficial for each of you to have a unique individual to work with. Therefore, Stephen Ministers are assigned one on one and never couples.

When/where/how often will we meet?

You and your Stephen Minister decide the details when you initially talk. Meetings occur once a week and will last one hour. The location could be at church, in your home, at a restaurant, or on a park bench—wherever you feel most comfortable. Meetings will continue for as long as care is needed whether that is a matter of weeks or months.

How can I be assured of confidentiality?

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of Stephen Ministry and is emphasized in both training and supervision. Stephen Ministers do not share what is discussed in their caring relationships. Only the two Stephen Leaders in charge of referrals know who is receiving care. 

Is there any cost involved?

No. Stephen Ministry is a gift from First United Methodist Church to those in need.