My name is Nancy and I will be your Stephen Minister.
I remember greeting my first care receiver with those words about six years ago. Since then I have had the privilege of serving two other care receivers, each in a totally different difficult life circumstance.
When the first Stephen Minister class was started at First Lutheran, I thought it may be something I would be interested in, but I just wasn’t certain. Would I be capable of the training? Would I have the time? Is this what I was called to do? I passed on that opportunity, but the idea of serving just wouldn’t leave my mind. When the second class was started, I knew I was called to serve. I was compelled to serve.
The training was comprehensive with the greatest emphasis on confidentiality, listening and providing Christ-centered care, the crux of the Stephen Ministry program. It was stressed again and again that my role as a Stephen Minister is “to care,” not “to cure.” As a Stephen Minister, I cannot “fix” any problem, but I can care and be present as those I ministered to were going through some difficult times. Maybe it was a serious illness or death, or the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or a divorce, or relationship problems within a family. As a Stephen Minister I am not required to be an expert in any of these situations, but rather I am called to walk with others through this difficult time. I am called to listen, to care, to be present and to pray.
I had heard from other Stephen Ministers that they felt they received far more than they gave. I can only echo that experience. I have learned to be more compassionate, to be a better listener, to really care. I have learned how to pray and to be present in silence. I have grown as a Christian.
If anyone is considering serving as a Stephen Minister, I would encourage you to talk with any of the current Stephen Ministers, with our Stephen Minister leaders, Gloria Kubiak or Randy Nedrelo, or with Pastor Karyn. I encourage you to investigate a class. One will be starting this spring. You will truly be a blessing and be blessed.