One member of Community Christian Church in Camdenton were among 250 pastors and congregation leaders at a Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course held form June 9 -15 in Orlando, Fla. Cyndi Porter attended the one-week training event hosted by the St. Louis-based Stephen Ministries organization. Participants came from across the U.S. and Canada to learn how to implement and direct Stephen Ministry, a system of Christian caregiving, in their congregations.
“Stephen Ministry gives First Church an effective way to train and organize members to provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals struggling with a crisis like grief, divorce, loneliness, relocation, hospitalization, a terminal illness, or unemployment,” said Rev. Miller. “The need for this type of care greatly exceeds what pastors alone can provide. All Christians are called to care for and love one another-it’s not just the pastor’s job. By equipping laypeople we can help tem fulfill their calling as Christians and also expand the amount of caring ministry available through First Church.”
Porter was trained as Stephen Leaders at the event. One of their next steps will be to recruit, select, and train members of Community Christian Church to be Stephen Ministers, the ones who will provide one-to-one care. They will then match each Stephen Minister with an individual in need of care and provide the Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education.
Stephen Ministry began in 1975 when Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist in St. Louis, Missouri, trained parishioners to help meet the needs for care in his congregation. The ministry was so successful that other congregations became interested, and Haugk founded the Stephen Ministries organization. Since then, More than 11,000 congregations have become involved in Stephen Ministry. They represent over 160 Christian denominations and come from all 50 states, ten Canadian provinces, and 24 other countries.
The Stephen Ministries organization annually hosts six Leader’s Training Courses across the U.S. At these courses, more than 65,000 pastors and church leaders have been trained as Stephen Leaders. They in turn have trained more than 600,000 church members as Stephen Ministers. It is estimated that more than one-and-a-half million people have received the formal care of a Stephen Minister, and millions more have been touched in an informal way.
“One of the highlights of the Leadership Training Conference was that people from dozens of denominations set aside their differences for seven days and became unified in a single mission: how to bring Christ’s healing love o hurting individuals,” said Lucy Leader.
Cyndi Porter joins the team of four Stephen Leaders at Community Christian Church, which started its Stephen ministry in 2004. Since that time, 24 members have been trained as Stephen Ministers and more than 4 people in crisis have received the formal care of a Stephen minister.
Page 2 of 2 - For more information about Community Christian Church’s Stephen Ministry, contact Cyndi Porter at 573-836-0918. To learn how your congregation can become involved, contact Stephen Ministries, 2045 Innerbelt Business Center Drive, St. Louis, Missouri, 63144, (314)428-2600 or visit www.stephenministries.org on the internet.