The New York Time writer Peter De Vries has been credited with writing a quote I have had posted on my wall for many years. “We are not here on this Earth to see through one another, we are here to see one another through”.
This quote popped into my head more than a few times as I began my training as a Stephen Minister and as I have carried on in this role it seems a great description of what I have experienced in the last year. Being a Stephen minister has enabled me to experience being present for someone in need and seeing them through whatever it is that they are living in their life at this time. A Stephen minister listens, encourages, keeps confidence, prays, supports and walks beside.
As I have witnessed the unfolding of this ministry at the United Churches of Langley, I truly do understand how much it enhances the congregational life and I encourage those seeking to consider this ministry.
We have been a Stephen minister congregation for the last year. What this means is that we have organized and trained some of our members to provide quality pastoral care and extended our caring ministry beyond what our own ministers can provide. It is based on the idea that all Christians are ministers and that the responsibility to pass on God’s love to those in need goes beyond our ministers ability. It is a way for lay people with gifts for caring to be given the support they may need to provide for others in our congregation who may be experiencing stresses or challenges. All of the care that is provided is also done in complete confidentiality and as you provide care for those in need you also have the support of the entire Stephen ministry team to help you along.
Our ministers cannot do it all… nor should we want them to. We all have abilities and gifts to offer to another. You may be someone in need or you may be someone who can care. If you are, we have a network available for you. Those of us in the Stephen ministry program have responded to Christ’s call to care for people through people and you can be involved.
Pray for our Stephen ministers, help us stay sensitive to those in need, make others aware of what we have available and consider God’s direction as to whether you should become a Stephen Minister.
We are all here to see one another through, maybe this is the time to ask yourself, why not you?
Written by: Kellie Warnock