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 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.
For more information or to ask for a Stephen Minister, talk to or call our Stephen Leader, Nell Twiggs at the number listed in the church directory. You can also tell Pastor Ken or talk to any of the Stephen Ministers you see around church and they will pass on your request.
By Nell Twiggs
As I said in last month’s Lamplighter, we find ourselves in need of more Stephen Ministers and are beginning the recruitment process with the expectation of starting a training class in January. Last month we covered what our Stephen Ministers here at Chestnut do. This month’s article will answer some questions you might have about the specific responsibilities of being a Stephen Minister.
The following questions and answers may help you consider whether to become a Stephen Minister:
Question: How much of my time will it really involve?
Answer: There are 50 hours of training. As a Stephen Minister you will visit about once a week (for about one hour) with the person you are caring for. You will also attend a monthly meeting for supervision and continuing education.
Question: How much money will this cost?
Answer: The training materials cost $55. If this creates a hardship for anyone there are resources available to help.
Question: Will I have to spend money on the person I am caring for (the care receiver)?
Answer: No, you are not expected to spend any money whatsoever on the care receiver. You are also not expected to personally provide any other specific services for a care receiver, such as transportation or babysitting, for example. As a Stephen Minister, you may at times assist in arranging for such services.
Question: Will my phone be ringing constantly?
Answer: No. You will care for one care receiver at a time. If the care receiver were to begin calling too often, you will learn how to respond to too many phone calls or excessive demands in a loving, assertive manner and with the assistance of a Stephen Leader.
Question: Will Pastor Ken still help and counsel people?
Answer: Most definitely! Stephen Ministers complement the pastor’s ministry and provide even more care to those who need it.
Question: What if I get in over my head, with people who need more care than I can provide?
Answer: First of all, you will never knowingly be assigned to people who might be in those situations. The Stephen Ministry training also helps you to know exactly when and how to help your care receiver get professional help when necessary. The Supervision Group, the Stephen Leader, and the pastor are also there to help you to make such decisions.
Question: Do I have to stop being a Stephen Minister after two years?
Answer: No, many people decide to continue as Stephen Ministers after two years. Your and your Stephen Leader will make that decision when the time comes.
Question: Who will be the care receivers?
Answer: Members of Chestnut who are experiencing times of special need and occasionally other people within our community who may turn to us for help.
Question: Will the care receiver really want my care?
Answer: Yes. Pastor Ken or a Stephen Leader, Connie Thompson or Nell Twiggs, will meet first with the care receiver. Only after the care receiver understands Stephen Ministry and has agreed to meet with a Stephen Minister will you be contacted.
Question: Are other people as scared as I seem to be about this undertaking?
Answer: Probably so! But the training will eliminate much of this fear because you will not only learn what to say but also, and more importantly, how to listen.
Question: How do I apply?
Answer: Reach out to one of our Stephen Leaders, Connie Thompson or Nell Twiggs, and we will start the process.
Thank you for prayerfully reading this and considering becoming a Stephen Minister here at Chestnut.