What is Stephen Ministry? Congregations equip lay caregivers to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting or are experiencing grief, divorce, cancer, job loss, loneliness, disability, relocation, and other life difficulties. Stephen Ministers serve in a one to one relationship of trust, care, and Christ-like concern. If you think you might benefit from having a Stephen Minister, please call Pastor Grimm, or talk with one of these servants of God. - Don Frank, Charlie Gann, Judy Peddicord, Junior Stuewe, Carol White.
If you would be interested in becoming a Stephen Minister, please contact Pastor Grimm.
Below is more information about the Stephen Series & Stephen MInistry.
- Why is it called the Stephen Series?
Stephen was one of the ﬁrst laypeople commissioned by the Apostles to provide caring ministry (Acts 6). Series describes the steps a congregation follows to implement the caring ministry system, which is commonly called Stephen Ministry.
- How many congregations are using Stephen Ministry?
More than 11,000 congregations are enrolled, with hundreds more enrolling each year. They represent more than 150 denominations and come from all 50 United States, 10 Canadian provinces, and 24 other countries. Many congregations have had Stephen Ministry going strong for 20 or 30 years—or longer.
- What size congregations are involved?
Stephen Ministry congregations range from fewer than 100 members to more than 10,000. Churches of any size have opportunities to care for hurting people in the congregation and community.
- What are Stephen Ministers?
Stephen Ministers are laypeople who commit to two years of learning, growing, and caring. They receive Christian caregiving training in their congregation and then provide one-to-one Christ-centered care to hurting people. Each Stephen Minister typically has one care receiver at a time and meets with that person once a week.
- What types of caregiving situations are Stephen Ministers used in?
Stephen Ministers provide high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing a variety of crises or life challenges—people who are experiencing grief, divorce, cancer, ﬁnancial difﬁculties, hospitalization, chronic illness, job loss, disabilities, loneliness, a spiritual crisis, or other life struggles.
In addition to caring for members within the congregation, Stephen Ministers can provide care to nonmembers, reaching out to unchurched people in crisis.
- What are Stephen Leaders?
Stephen Leaders are pastors and lay leaders who direct Stephen Ministry in their congregation. They attend a one-week Leader’s Training Course (LTC) where they learn how to effectively lead their congregation’s Stephen Ministry.
- What is the meaning of the logo?
The Stephen Series logo symbolizes that we are all broken people and that we are only made whole through the cross of Jesus.
Since 1975 nearly a half million Christian men and women from all walks of life have trained and served as Stephen Ministers in their congregations. Most decide to become Stephen Ministers as a way to help hurting people in their congregation and community—but very quickly discover that God gives them amazing blessings in return.
- What do people say about Stephen Ministry?
“My faith has grown, my prayer life has doubled, and I know how to really make a difference in people’s lives. I’d encourage anyone who has the chance to become a Stephen Minister.”
“Being a Stephen Minister has taught me to rely on God instead of always trying to ﬁx things myself. I’ve learned what to say, how to listen, and what to do during a crisis. It’s a great feeling to provide people with the spiritual care and support they need.”
John Eichelberger, Physician Greenwood, South Carolina
“The assertiveness skills I learned through Stephen Ministry gave me the courage and conﬁdence I needed to be a more effective supervisor in my secular job—and to be more assertive in my personal relationships. Thank you for helping me develop these vital skills.”
Elizabeth McMillion, Rehabilitation Counselor
Theology for Today
The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther
The Ninth and Tenth Commandments.
292 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is his.
293 These two commandments are given quite exclusively to the Jews; nevertheless, in part they also concern us. For they do not interpret them as referring to unchastity or theft, because these are sufficiently forbidden above. They also thought that they had kept all those when they had done or not done the external act. Therefore God has added these two commandments in order that it be esteemed as sin and forbidden to desire or in any way to aim at getting our neighbor’s wife or possessions; 294 and especially because under the Jewish government man-servants and maid-servants were not free as now to serve for wages as long as they pleased, but were their master’s property with their body and all they had, as cattle and other possessions. 295 Moreover, every man had power over his wife to put her away publicly by giving her a bill of divorce, and to take another. Therefore they were in constant danger among each other that if one took a fancy to another’s wife, he might allege any reason both to dismiss his own wife and to estrange the other’s wife from him, that he might obtain her under pretext of right. That was not considered a sin nor disgrace with them; as little as now with hired help, when a proprietor dismisses his man-servant or maid-servant, or takes another’s servants from him in any way.
296 Therefore (I say) they thus interpreted these commandments, and that rightly (although their scope reaches somewhat farther and higher), that no one think or purpose to obtain what belongs to another, such as his wife, servants, house and estate, land, meadows, cattle, even with a show of right or by a subterfuge, yet with injury to his neighbor. For above, in the Seventh Commandment, the vice is forbidden where one wrests to himself the possessions of others, or withholds them from his neighbor, which he cannot do by right. But here it is also forbidden to alienate anything from your neighbor, even though you could do so with honor in the eyes of the world, so that no one could accuse or blame you as though you had obtained it wrongfully.
297 For we are so inclined by nature that no one desires to see another have as much as himself, and each one acquires as much as he can; the other may fare as best he can. 298 And yet we pretend to be godly, know how to adorn ourselves most finely and conceal our rascality, resort to and invent adroit devices and deceitful artifices (such as now are daily most ingeniously contrived) as though they were derived from the law codes; yea, we even dare impertinently to refer to it, and boast of it, and will not have it called rascality, but shrewdness and caution. 299 In this lawyers and jurists assist, who twist and stretch the law to suit it to their cause, stress words and use them for a subterfuge, irrespective of equity or their neighbor’s necessity. And, in short, whoever is the most expert and cunning in these affairs finds most help in law, as they themselves say: Vigilantibus iura subveniunt [that is, The laws favor the watchful].
300 This last commandment therefore is given not for rogues in the eyes of the world, but just for the most pious, who wish to be praised and be called honest and upright people, since they have not offended against the former commandments, as especially the Jews claimed to be, and even now many great noblemen, gentlemen, and princes. For the other common masses belong yet farther down, under the Seventh Commandment, as those who are not much concerned whether they acquire their possessions with honor and right.
301 Now, this occurs most frequently in cases that are brought into court, where it is the purpose to get something from our neighbor and to force him out of his own. As (to give examples), when people quarrel and wrangle about a large inheritance, real estate, etc., they avail themselves of, and resort to, whatever has the appearance of right, so dressing and adorning everything that the law must favor their side, and they keep the property with such title that no one can make complaint or lay claim thereto. 302 In like manner, if any one desire to have a castle, city, duchy, or any other great thing, he practises so much financiering through relationships, and by any means he can, that the other is judicially deprived of it, and it is adjudicated to him, and confirmed with deed and seal and declared to have been acquired by princely title and honestly.
303 Likewise also in common trade where one dexterously slips something out of another’s hand, so that he must look after it, or surprises and defrauds him in a matter in which he sees advantage and benefit for himself, so that the latter, perhaps on account of distress or debt, cannot regain or redeem it without injury, and the former gains the half or even more; and yet this must not be considered as acquired by fraud or stolen, but honestly bought. Here they say: First come, first served, and every one must look to his own interest, let another get what he can. 304 And who can be so smart as to think of all the ways in which one can get many things into his possession by such specious pretexts? This the world does not consider wrong [nor is it punished by laws], and will not see that the neighbor is thereby placed at a disadvantage, and must sacrifice what he cannot spare without injury. Yet there is no one who wishes this to be done to him; from which we can easily perceive that such devices and pretexts are false.
305 Thus it was done formerly also with respect to wives: they knew such devices that if one were pleased with another woman, he personally or through others (as there were many ways and means to be invented) caused her husband to conceive a displeasure toward her, or had her resist him and so conduct herself that he was obliged to dismiss her and leave her to the other. That sort of thing undoubtedly prevailed much under the Law, as also we read in the Gospel of King Herod that he took his brother’s wife while he was yet living, and yet wished to be thought an honorable, pious man, as St. Mark also testifies of him. 306 But such an example, I trust, will not occur among us, because in the New Testament those who are married are forbidden to be divorced, except in such a case where one [shrewdly] by some stratagem takes away a rich bride from another. But it is not a rare thing with us that one estranges or alienates another’s man-servant or maid-servant, or entices them away by flattering words.
307 In whatever way such things happen, we must know that God does not wish that you deprive your neighbor of anything that belongs to him, so that he suffer the loss and you gratify your avarice with it, even if you could keep it honorably before the world; for it is a secret and insidious imposition practised under the hat, as we say, that it may not be observed. For although you go your way as if you had done no one any wrong, you have nevertheless injured your neighbor; and if it is not called stealing and cheating, yet it is called coveting your neighbor’s property, that is, aiming at possession of it, enticing it away from him without his will, and being unwilling to see him enjoy what God has granted him. 308 And although the judge and every one must leave you in possession of it, yet God will not leave you therein: for He sees the deceitful heart and the malice of the world, which is sure to take an ell in addition where-ever you yield to her a finger’s breadth, and at length public wrong and violence follow.
309 Therefore we allow these commandments to remain in their ordinary meaning, that it is commanded, first, that we do not desire our neighbor’s damage, nor even assist, nor give occasion for it, but gladly wish and leave him what he has, and, besides, advance and preserve for him what may be for his profit and service, as we should wish to be treated. 310 Thus these commandments are especially directed against envy and miserable avarice, God wishing to remove all causes and sources whence arises everything by which we do injury to our neighbor, and therefore He expresses it in plain words: Thou shalt not covet, etc. For He would especially have the heart pure, although we shall never attain to that as long as we live here; so that this commandment will remain, like all the rest, one that will constantly accuse us and show how godly we are in the sight of God!
Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: German-Latin-English. The book was published as a memorial of the quadricentenary jubilee of the Reformation anno Domini 1917 by resolution of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921). Taken from: https://bookofconcord.org/large-catechism/ [public domain]