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 care giving 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 5/23/2021, Peace Lutheran Ministries commissioned three new Stephen Ministers, who join eight Stephen Ministers already serving the congregation. These caregivers 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: Deb Thom, Linda Smith and Casey Smith. Currently serving 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 expand caring ministry here at Peace Lutheran Church,” says Pastor Karolus. “They help our pastoral staff provide quality ongoing care to people in need for the duration of their crisis. For example, in a grief situation, an individual often receives a great amount of pastoral care in the immediate weeks after their loved one dies. But then another death occurs in the congregation, and the first griever is unintentionally forgotten. With Stephen Ministry a grieving person will receive quality care for as long as needed.”
Before commissioning, Peace’s Stephen Ministers received 50 h0urs of in-depth training in Christian care giving 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 care giving.
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.
Pastor Kohn shares additional thoughts about this one to one care ministry. “Christ called all of us to love and care for one another. I’m excited that we’re able to do this in a meaningful way through Stephen Ministry–and that this ministry outreach continues to grow.”
Peace expects their Stephen Ministry Program 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.