To contact a Stephen Minister:
Call the TPC Office at (714)544-7070 and leave a message at Extension 114.
Stephen Ministers Care
What these verses don’t say is that we alone are to live, encourage, build up, and pray for other people. The “one another” wording gives them a reciprocal meaning. It also tells us that we are to allow other people to love, encourage, build up, and pray for us!
But suffering alone is not God’s intent for us. Jesus promises, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We can receive this promised rest when we turn to one another for comfort and help.
Our Stephen Ministers know all about receiving care. Many of them have been on the receiving end of care. They know how difficult it is to ask for help, but they also know the great personal and spiritual growth and healing that follow. They know how to respond in a loving, caring, and nonjudgmental manner. They are equipped, ready, and waiting to provide the comfort and care God very much desires you to have.
If you find yourself facing difficulties in life, don’t succumb to society’s norm of remaining strong and suffering alone. Take the courageous step of seeking help. Open your heart to receiving God’s love and grace through another person. Our Stephen Ministry offers the opportunity for a very confidential relationship with someone who will listen to you and provide you with the care and encouragement you need, while Christ works inside to bring rest to your weary, burdened heart.
For more information on Stephen Ministry, visit the Stephen Ministries' website at www.stephenministries.org. If you or someone you know might be served by a Stephen Minister, please contact one of the pastors or call the church office (714)544-7070. If you call when the office is closed, you can also leave a message at Extension 114.
Do you provide care for a family member or friend? You are invited to attend a caregivers’ monthly support group to help encourage, explore relevant topics, and be strengthened as caregivers. We normally meet on the second Saturday of every month. The next meeting will be on Saturday, January 12, at 10:00 a.m. at the home of Sandy Alford. Normally, fellowship & refreshment time before the meetings is 9:45 a.m., and the meetings run from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, please stop by the Stephen Ministry Table after the worship services or call the church office at (714)544-7070.
The Importance of Confidentiality in Stephen Ministry
Confidentiality is a cornerstone of Stephen Ministry because it is absolutely essential for building safe, healing, caring relationships.
Stephen Ministry is confidential. Stephen Ministers do not reveal what their care receivers have told them — not to the pastors, not to the Stephen Leaders, not to their spouses or friends, and not to other Stephen Ministers.
Why? Because trust is vital for a caring relationship to be effective. Care receivers are experiencing difficulties that leave them feeling very vulnerable. Discussing their innermost feelings is an important step in the healing process. But in order to open up and discuss that which is troubling them most, care receivers need complete trust in their Stephen Minister — and the assurance that what they say will not be circulated to others and become news for gossip.
This assurance builds trust and creates a safe place where care receivers can risk revealing their most painful issues — problems they might not even discuss with close friends or family. Confidentiality helps create a relationship that promotes healing and hope.
Another aspect of confidentiality is that nobody — except the Stephen Minister, the care receiver, and the pastor or Stephen Leader who matched the two together — even knows that a care receiver has a Stephen Minister. Care receivers, of course, are free to tell others about the relationship and who their Stephen Minister is, but the Stephen Minster never tells. This means a care receiver can choose to have complete anonymity so that if he or she does not want people even to know that he or she has a Stephen Minister, nobody will ever know.
One final point involving confidentiality involves the Stephen Ministry model of supervision, where confidentiality is also a key element. (Supervision is twice monthly and is vital to Stephen Ministry so that Stephen Ministers can provide the best quality care possible to their care receivers.) In supervision the focus is on the relationship between the Stephen Minister and the care receiver, rather than the details of what is going on in the care receiver’s life. By not revealing a care receiver’s name or any significant details, confidentiality is maintained, and supervision becomes a place where Stephen Ministers can support and encourage one another in ministry while they provide the best quality care to their care receivers. It’s a model that has enabled life-changing ministry to happen in thousands of Stephen Ministry congregations since 1975.
Why this talk about confidentiality? To build your trust in Stephen Ministry. It is a high-quality care giving ministry that you can count on should you ever have the need. Confidentiality is a cornerstone of good ministry—and of our Stephen Ministry.
If you are interested in talking to a Stephen Minister or are interested in our upcoming 2011 training class, please call our pastoral staff or contact Robin Clardyrcclardy@prodigy.net.
History of Stephen Ministry
Have you read our Identity Statement or Theological Statement of Faith lately? Or even the statement of “Who We Are”? All of these statements underscore the nature of TPC. Within them are values of caring, nurturing, compassion, just to name a few. Your Session and Deacons, along with your pastors look for new opportunities for these values to be expressed in the life of our church. To this end we will be offering Stephen Ministry training. Over the summer you will have a chance to attend a couple of the training classes, with the complete course starting in September.
For those of you who have not heard of Stephen Ministry, it is an exciting ministry that was started in 1974 by Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist, when he was the pastor at St. Stephens Lutheran Church in St. Louis. Fresh out of seminary, he quickly became aware that the needs of the church far exceeded what he alone could provide. He did not like the thought of any of his people falling through the cracks. In talking with fellow seminary friends Ephesians 4 came to mind, and the principle of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.” They realized that God gave gifts for ministry to all people, and that one of his roles as a pastor was to equip others to use these gifts.
Haugk returned to St. Stephens with a plan. In the coming months he recruited nine lay people who had the gifts and heart to do caring ministry. He then used his combined backgrounds in theology and psychology to develop a training program in Christian care giving. By March 1975 the nine were commissioned as “Stephen Minister.” Their first care receivers included a widower with cancer, a truck driver forced to retire early, and an inactive member struggling with faith issues.
The impact was immediate. People began receiving the focused Christian care they needed. Fewer people were slipping between the cracks, and Haugk found he had more time to perform other pastoral duties. The Stephen Ministers were surprised by the spiritual growth they encountered as they saw God working through them to bring love and healing to others.
The story would have ended there, had not two of the Stephen Minister cornered Haugk after a morning service. “This is good stuff,” they said to him. “We’re not going to let you go until you promise to bring this ministry to other churches!” Haugk gave in and agreed to find a way to bring Stephen Ministry to other churches.
In November 1975 Haugk and his wife, Joan, founded the not-for-profit Stephen Ministries organization and began bringing Stephen Ministry to other congregations. It spread like wildfire. Tustin Presbyterian Church will be one of more than 10,000 congregations from more than 150 Christian denominations that now have Stephen Ministry. More than half a million people have been trained as Stephen Ministers, a number that grows by tens of thousands each year. More than a million people across the United States, Canada, and the world have been touched by God’s love through Stephen Ministry. And now we at TPC will become part of that legacy of caring.
If you are interested in exploring the Stephen Ministry training, please talk with Robin Clardy or call the church office at (714)544-7070.
225 West Main Street, Tustin, CA 92780-4319 (714)544-7070 www.tustinpresbyterian.org