Services in-person & online at 8:30 and 11:00am at Florida's Oldest United Methodist Church

Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry is coming back to First Church in 2024!

Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry
He himself granted that some are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)


To begin providing Stephen Ministry care to our congregation in 2024, we need to complete the first two phases. 

Phase 1: Recruiting & Training Stephen Leaders
Phase 2: Recruiting & Training Stephen Ministers

We are currently in PHASE 1 and are looking for those in our congregation that would like to be part of our leadership team. An important part of what makes Stephen Ministry work is having a strong Stephen Leader Team. Stephen Leaders can come from a host of backgrounds, with a wide range of ages, professions, and life experiences. What they share is an ability to lead people in a caring ministry and a commitment to ensure that people who are hurting receive Christ’s love. Stephen Leaders are mission-focused leaders. Their goal is to make ministry happen by leading a highly effective, God-honoring Stephen Ministry that supports and helps carry out the mission of the church. 

The next online Stephen Leader training, via Zoom, begins in January 2024.  After our leaders receive their training, we will then begin the next phase of recruiting and training our Stephen Ministers, who will in turn, provide care to our congregation.

Interested in becoming a Stephen Leader or Stephen Minister?
Contact StephenMinistry@FUMCPensascola.com or use the form below.


Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations. Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. In Acts 6, Stephen was among those chosen to provide caring ministry to those in need. Since Jesus’ time, caring ministry has been a hallmark of the Christian faith community

How Stephen Ministry Works…
The best way to understand how Stephen Ministry works is to learn about three groups of people involved in this ministry: Stephen Leaders, Stephen Ministers, and Care Receivers.

STEPHEN LEADERS
Stephen Leaders establish and direct Stephen Ministry in a congregation. They—
• build awareness of Stephen Ministry within the congregation and community.
• recruit and train Stephen Ministers.
• meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs.
• match care receivers with Stephen Ministers.
• provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education.

Stephen Leaders attend 25 hours of online training using resources from Stephen Ministries in St. Louis which covers managing the care receiver selection, program publicity, continuing education, and supervision programs for the Stephen Ministry organization. 

STEPHEN MINISTERS
Stephen Ministers are congregation members very well trained and supported by Stephen Leaders. Stephen Minister training is an enriching, enjoyable, spiritual experience. It will provide Stephen Ministers with a high-quality level of emotional and spiritual care to share with people experiencing a wide range of life difficulties. Stephen Ministers provide care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education. People typically become Stephen Ministers out of a desire to help others, but along the way, they find that they experience tremendous growth themselves–personally, spiritually, and relationally. 

CARE RECEIVERS
Care Receivers are people—congregation members and others in the community—who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life—experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.

Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:
• The relationship between a care receiver and a Stephen Minister is confidential.
• Men are matched with men; women with women.
• When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.

CARE RECEIVERS TELL THEIR STORES

“I Can Tell Him Anything”
“My Stephen Minister Is Truly a Gift”