Stephen Ministry provides one on one confidential care which involves: meeting weekly to listen, support, pray and care for those of you that are experiencing a difficult situation in their lives.
This is such an important role that our Stephen Ministers are required to: complete 50 hours of training, read several books and training manuals, participate in bi-weekly peer supervision and continuing education. These individuals have a heart and passion for ministering and caring for people and we want to equip them to do the best job they can. Anyone that chooses to have a SM will be blessed and ministered by these individuals. If there is anyone sitting here today that is going through a difficult situation in their lives; whether it be the loss of a loved one, a diagnosis that has been scary and difficult to hear, the loss of a marriage, challenges with children, other situation that has been difficult.
*our heart is that you have someone to walk through this journey with you. Please contact myself (Sue Bennett) or one of the pastors here and we would be happy to set you up with a SM or answer any questions you may have about this ministry.
Here is the testimony of Judy Cottrill:
Hi Harbour! My name is Judy and I’ve had the privilege to have completed the Stephen Ministry training. Why have I chosen to be a Stephen Minister? It’s more like why did God choose me? After walking closely with my Dad through his illness and passing as well as my friend’s journey with her husband’s illness with A.L.S., I’ve realized that I felt absolutely privileged in both cases to give care, encouragement and a listening ear in these difficult circumstances. When I was approached about Stephen Ministry it really resonated with me as a way to serve God and Harbour in a way that already seemed quite natural to me. In fact I know I can speak for my fellow ministers in the realization that all of us have already been Stephen Ministers for years.
As Wendy says: It’s really just about having a caring and listening ear. For myself – I have been excited about being reminded of the importance of prayer, comforting words and most importantly REFLECTIVE LISTENING! In fact when Michelle would come each Monday for training – her daughters were known to say – Oh, Mommy’s going to learn to be a better listener! Believe it or not I myself have some learning to do in the listening dept. In James1:19 it says “Let everyone be quick to listen and slow to speak” I’ve taken baby steps toward this! I will be forever grateful for the hours of training by Wendy and Sue! Lest you think there was no fun involved, let’s just say there were many moments of laughter – good natured joking – and great food! We did a lot of role playing in order to learn skills – I really enjoyed getting overly dramatic as I played my parts – to the point where no one wanted to be my partner anymore – apparently I was too scary!
From time to time – at the beginning of the training – I would have thoughts like – Who do I think I am giving advice to others when I often don’t have my own act together? Then on the 2nd or 3rd week of training I threw up my hands and blurted “Oh I get it, we don’t have to fix anything – it’s up to God!” I’m sure Wendy was thinking “Da” – It took you long enough! Because over and over in our training manuals in capital letters is the line “remember we are only the caregivers – GOD is the cure-giver!” What a relief! Since this realization and further training I have come to acknowledge that PRAYER is the number one component of this Ministry! We 4 have bonded as we have surrendered ourselves in prayer as we pray for each other, humility, strength to do God’s will and ultimately for the care-receivers God will send our way!
One personal example of how the training has helped me to avoid making a very hurtful mistake took place in Texas where I was visiting a very sick friend several months ago. Upon saying goodbye I asked her if I could pray for her – I was just about to pray for God to take away her pain and give her peace – when the Stephen ministry light went off in my brain reminding me that we had just learned a few weeks before that we should ALWAYS ask the care-receiver exactly how we should pray for them. When I did that she responded quite firmly “Only healing”. That’s exactly what I did – and left with the realization that I had cared for her in the way she needed and that no matter how well meaning I was I had averted a thoughtless and hurtful error. The Lord reiterated to me then that we are to have one hand in his and the other in the care-receivers hand as we bring their petitions to him.
Some truths that have focused themselves through training are: there is no timeline for grief, crisis and stress. It finds all of us eventually and that process-oriented caring is much more helpful than result-oriented care.
WE Stephen Ministers are “wounded warriors” – in other words we have as a group experienced the death of loved ones, depression, family crisis, financial disappointments and illnesses that may not be physically healed – this side of heaven, The training has given us a vast list of Bible verses that speak of God’s presence in so many of life’s difficulties. I’ve realized that though God never promised to take away the storms of life, he did promise to be our close companion as we navigate the waves.
We Stephen Ministers are committed to being in that lifeboat with you when the storms come!
Eccl. 4:9 &11 “Two are better than one. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion”.