Stephen Ministry

stephen ministry

Chestnut Memorial UMC is a Stephen Ministry church. A Stephen Minister is a member of our congregation who is trained to listen, care, encourage, pray, and walk alongside you during difficult times. It's confidential, free and very helpful.

We all face challenges in our lives. Some we cope with more easily than others. Are you facing one of life's difficult challenges? A death in the family, divorce or separation, loss of a job, a difficult pregnancy, chronic illness, terminal illness, hospitalization, loneliness, aging, relocation or some other life crisis? If you think you would benefit from having someone visit you once a week, listen to you, encourage you, and pray for you, then request a Stephen Minister. You can ask for one by telling our spiritual leader or any Stephen Minister or Stephen Leader at Chestnut. Once you have made your request, one of the Stephen Leaders -- who are Cathy Southwell, Sharon Petitt and Michele Grossenbaugh -- will contact you and give you more information and assign you a Stephen Minister. Everything you say to a Stephen Minister is strictly confidential; no one else will know your "business." Having a Stephen Minister means you won't have to bear your burden alone.

By Sharon Petitt

We are excited and happy to announce that Nell Twiggs is to become our newest Stephen Leader to join our Stephen Ministry Leader Team. After she attends and completes the Stephen Series Leader's Training Course (LTC) in Pittsburg, PA on Aug. 4-10, she will join Michele Grossenbaugh, who attended LTC last summer, as a key Team Leader. Cathy Southwell and I, while remaining active, will step back to more consulting, supportive roles as Nell and Michele gradually assume all the responsibilities of this complex, caregiving ministry in the coming year.

Having new Stephen Leaders will be like a breath of fresh air for our team. Nell and Michele will bring new perspectives, insights, and skills that will strengthen the Stephen Ministry and keep it vibrant and strong as it continues to grow in the coming years. Cathy and I are thrilled that these two ladies were willing to become leaders and grateful to Chestnut for agreeing to fund the expense to send them to LTC training. We know Chestnut's Stephen Ministry will thrive under their leadership.

The role of a Stephen Leader is to direct Stephen Ministry in the congregation. They are the ones who recruit, select, train and supervise Stephen Ministers, and they help, along with the pastor, to locate people with needs and to match them to a Stephen Minister. They organize all the meetings and plan the programs. They manage the administrative aspects of the ministry and try constantly to build awareness of what we offer.

It is mandatory that to become a Stephen Leader, you must attend one of the LTCs, offered six times a year in different U.S. cities. Most attendees arrive a little overwhelmed, both by the week ahead of them and by the fact that they have agreed to accept this leader role at their church. Each attendee is given a 35-pound, 3,000-page leader's manual and by the end of the week, they will have gone through most of it. The presentations are top-rate, very professional, polished, quite entertaining and varied enough in teaching method that you are able to stay focused. And at the closing ceremony you DO realize you have been equipped to do this job and all the answers to everything you might face are in that manual.

When I went to LTC in 2006, it was unlike anything I have ever been a part of. The whole event is indescribable. You really have to experience it to believe it. It was very intense, overwhelming, thought provoking, exhausting and at times, funny. It touched my heart and changed my life. The course started off with the statement "God will do what you cannot do" … and I believe that down to the tips of my toes.

So as Nell leaves to go to Pittsburg for the week, we ask the congregation to join us in lifting her up in prayers for safe travels and a Spirit-filled learning experience. We are looking forward to hearing about her experiences at LTC when she returns. We know she will bring her unique outlook and a whole different set of experiences and skills to our team. So add what Nell brings to Michele's gifts and strengths that have already added a new dimension to our ministry and it equals a strong and enduring new leadership for a caregiving group that is "rooted in faith and reaching out in love."