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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 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.


We have six participants who prayerfully considered the Stephen Minister training and have begun their journey to being skilled, trustworthy, compassionate, and full-of-faith caregivers. Not everyone is taking this training for the same reason, but all are looking forward to feeling better equipped to care for those who are struggling, by being an extension of God’s love.

Stephen Minister training is an engaging, energizing experience that features a mixture of presentation, group discussion, skill practice, and spiritual growth activities. The training is fun and the discussions and activities help to build special bonds of Christian community and camaraderie among those in the class. We have formed prayer partners to help participants to share and pray for one another on a regular basis and to help build closer relationships.

Our training began on Jan. 10 and will continue through the month of May with each class lasting approximately 2 ½ hours. This is quite a commitment but it is also a spiritual journey well worth the time and effort. This is distinctively Christian care training and we begin with a devotion and prayer and end with prayer as well. The materials used include two volumes of training manuals and a few other Christian-based books. All are a part of the pre-class reading each week to help with understanding and to enhance the discussions.

This is the first class that Nell Twiggs and I have held as Stephen Ministry leaders and we are enjoying it as much as the participants! We could not have asked for a better group for our first training session. Our Chestnut family is already blessed with these amazing, God-loving spirits and will undoubtedly benefit from their faithful commitment to God and His people. The class consists of Carley Senter, Maureen Archer, Ann Shoemaker, Sean Chang, Jennifer Langdon and our amazing leader, Pastor Ken. This class will be commissioned as Stephen Ministers later this summer/fall.

If you are struggling through a difficult situation and would like one of our commissioned Stephen Ministers to meet with you and walk alongside you, please notify Nell Twiggs, Pastor Ken or myself.

“Stephen Minister training has helped me relate better to family, friends, neighbors — everyone I meet!”

“One of the biggest things I learned is that it’s not about me, it’s about God. I am the caregiver, and God is the cure-giver. My job is to listen — to really listen and care — and rely on God to bring about healing.”

I hope this information will lead you to want to step out in faith to be a part of this ministry and be a part of the upcoming Stephen Minister class starting in January. The training will take place at Chestnut Memorial UMC, will be led by your Stephen Leaders, will be taught in 20 weekly sessions (possibly a Saturday or two to reduce some of the weekly commitment), and will combine pre-class reading, devotions, presentation (by the leaders), discussion, skill practice and video. Please reach out to one of our Stephen Leaders, Connie Thompson or Nell Twiggs, if you want to join us or if you have any questions.