Since October, four people have gathered every Monday evening and completed another module of the Stephen Ministry training series. Sandra Woods prepared for and led the discussions. Jackie DeCou, Kim Ulrich, and Rachel Runyan have accepted the invitation to explore and participate in the training.
Each week the Stephen Ministers and those in training have prepared by reading a “pre-class” assignment. Christian Caregiving- A way of Life and Speaking the Truth in Love are the two books that have been read so far. Both are available in the church library. These books have helped lay the foundation for the life and work of this ministry: 1) unconditional acceptance as Christ accepted us, and 2) assertive communication.
The next modules will introduce boundaries, confidentiality, and other ways of being supportive to the care receivers. The scripture basis for the next modules come from Galatians 6:2 & 6:5: “Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ,” and “For each one shall bear his own load.” At first those verses seem at odds with one another, but both verses give Stephen Ministers some important guidance. A Stephen Minister does not take over his or her care receiver’s life or impose expectations that the care receiver act in a particular way. Rather, they listen and affirm God’s love and His care for the one experiencing difficulties or burdens of the heart and soul.
The training will conclude near the end of March and will culminate with the commissioning of the newest Stephen Ministers. Please pray for all of the trainees and other Stephen Ministers as this committee prepares and provides care to those in need.