Peace Lutheran Ministries Expands Care through Stephen Ministry
FOR THE ANTIGO TIMES
Peace Lutheran Ministries in Antigo, WI has recently begun Stephen Ministry, a new and exciting ministry that will allow it to reach out to more people with one-to-one Christian care. Through Stephen Ministry, a team of Peace’s members, known as Stephen Ministers, has been equipped to provide quality Christian care to people facing a variety of life difficulties. Some of the situations in which Stephen Ministers provide care include the loss of a loved one, divorce, unemployment, medical crisis, and difficulties in starting or adding to a family.
Stephen Ministry is a transdenominational caregiving ministry developed by Stephen Ministries St. Louis. Begun in 1975, Stephen Ministry is now in use in more than 13,000 congregations from 183 different Christian denominations.
On Sunday 11/1/2020, Peace Lutheran Ministries commissioned eight members as Stephen Ministers. These caregivers will serve under the leadership of Pastor David Karolus, Pastor Dan Kohn (Director of Care Ministries and Stephen Leader Team Coordinator), and Stephen Leaders Larry Ehlert and Dan & Sarah Stoehr. The newly commissioned Stephen Ministers include: Scott Blemke, Karen Bornfleth, Carol Griffiths, Darlaen Jansen, Lori Leider, Ronda McDougal, Sandy Nielsen and Dennis Rochwite.
“I’m excited about the way Stephen Ministers will expand caring ministry here at Peace Lutheran Church,” says Pastor Karolus. “They will help our pastoral staff provide the quality ongoing care people need for the duration of their crisis. For example, in a grief situation, an individual often receives a great amount of care in the immediate weeks after their loved one dies. But then another death occurs in the congregation, and the first griever is forgotten. With Stephen Ministry a grieving person will receive quality care for as long as needed.”
Before commissioning, Peace’s Stephen Ministers received in-depth training in Christian caregiving skills, covering topics such as active listening, distinctively Christian care, feelings, confidentiality, and crisis theory, as well as ministering to people in specific situations such as divorce, grief, and medical crises. After they begin providing care, Stephen Ministers continue to meet twice a month with their Stephen Leaders for continuing education and supervision as they strive to offer the highest-quality Christian caregiving.
A major emphasis of Stephen Minister training and supervision is on confidentiality. Stephen Ministry is a confidential ministry; those receiving care can be sure that their identity and what they talk about in the caring relationship will remain private.
The people at Peace Lutheran Church are excited about this new dimension of their ministry.
“I’ve always been a caring person, but sometimes wasn’t sure what to do or say,” says Scott Blemke, one of the new Stephen Ministers at Peace. “Stephen Ministry training has been very helpful in that regard. I feel confident I can make a real difference in somebody’s life at a time when they really needed a shoulder to lean on.”
Carol Griffiths, another Stephen Minister, says, “Christ called all of us to love and care for one another. I’m excited to be able to do this in a meaningful way through Stephen Ministry.”
Peace expects their Stephen Ministry to be a source of warmth, care, and blessing for many years to come, enabling the entire congregation to grow as a nurturing community where people are cherished and cared for and their needs taken seriously, all in the name of Jesus Christ.
If you are interested or have questions about Stephen Ministry at Peace Lutheran Ministries, please contact Pastor Dan Kohn at Peace Lutheran Ministries 715-623-2200. For more information about starting Stephen Ministry at your congregation, call Stephen Ministries in St. Louis at (314) 428-2600 or visit their website at stephenministries.org.