I have finally completed my preparation for becoming a Stephen Minister. It has involved over fifty hours of classroom work, weekend study retreats and plenty of assigned reading including three textbooks and two training manuals. Our mission is to be with and minister to the needs of those persons suffering from a variety of crushing emotions. It could be the passing of a love one, a feeling of hopelessness, periods of depression, suicidal thoughts, possibly a devastating illness or the loss of one’s faith. We are trained to offer loving encouragement knowing only Christ can do the healing.
We have been taught, “You – who you are, how you relate to others, how you care for and accept your care receiver, your trust in God – are the most important element you bring to the caring relationship. God will use you to bring Christ’s healing to your care receivers.”
There are twelve of us in the class and I am constantly in awe by the love and concern we have for each other. I pray we remain close throughout time.
Two thousand years ago another group of twelve, selected and inspired by Jesus, was chosen to witness His abundant mercy and compassionate grace.
Listen to the words as written by Luke,
“One of those days Jesus went out to the mountainside to pray,
and spent the night praying to God.
When morning came, he called his disciples to him
and chose twelve of them, who he also designated apostles.”
These soon-to-be commissioned Stephen Ministers are just ordinary folks concerned for their fellow travelers. All of them are blessed with a sensitive and caring nature, ask nothing for themselves and only seek the reward designed by His grateful and silent approval.
Let us together read the words spoken by Jesus,
“But when you give to the needy,
do not let the your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
so that your giving may be in secret.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret,
will reward you.
More sound advice from the Master.
 Stephen Ministry Training Manual, Volume 2 (2000)