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ST. JOHN LUTHERAN CHURCH
(The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod)
Alma, Kansas
A family united by faith in Christ gathering around God's Word and Sacraments.
 To reach out in Christ-like concern and Christ-borne love to each other and to those without Christ! 
In This Month's
St. John Witness
AUGUST WITNESS
Theology for the Day / Stephen Ministry
Stephen Ministry

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.”
   George Lund, Architect
  Prairie Village, Kansas

“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
  Madison, Wisconsin




     Reprinted from Church Press Newsletter: http://churchpress.com/

    Jeremiah says, "The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved" (8:20). That is verbalizing a desperate hopelessness. Summer doesn't last forever. Verse 21: "Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me." How does it come to a point where he says to his people that they are not saved both physically and spiritually and they are doomed? They were selling their souls at a very high price. The asparagus was saved, the olives were brought in, the potatoes were saved, but the people were lost!
    They involved themselves in worshiping false gods. They set up idols as they saw fit to suit their own fancies. They worshiped their summer homes while their neighbors and they remained "unsaved" with God. Why aren't people saved? Then and today people want to avoid only the consequences of sin, but they don't want to avoid the sin. Summer can be very deceiving. Everything is cool. Not to worry. 
    Being saved speaks not only of being delivered from the consequences of sin, but deliverance from sin - a willingness to repent and get rid of it as God takes it away. One man who scoffed at that said, "I'll take my chances." He will never say that when he sees the gates of hell, but he is saying it now.
    Do you desire to have the one, true God live inside you? Do you detest your sins and do you want to be free from them? Then believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, all of them, and that His very name, Jesus, means Savior from sin (Matthew 1:22). In the end only one thing matters - that even though "summer has ended," you are saved - saved now, saved in the hour of your death, and saved forever with God. Yes, Christian, you are saved. They are not. Jeremiah is crushed, he mourns, and horror grips him. 
    The great harvest days for America may be coming to an end. But make it personal. Think about this as it applies to your unbelieving relatives, friends and neighbors. For them summer is ending and they are not saved. Think about what is going to happen to them. Be encouraged to share your personal testimony. Why? Because "He that believes and is baptized WILL be saved. And he that does not believe will be (you know the last word)."
    I've spent a lot of time going house to house to share Jesus. On one occasion I rang the doorbell and Mary answered. I shared the Good News when she stopped me. She said, "I don't want to hear about that." I asked if I could tell her what the Bible says about her decision - eternal damnation! She replied, "I don't care if I go to hell. I'll have a lot of company there." For her "summer" was over, and she was not saved. Jeremiah said he was crushed. I was crushed when I walked away from her house. My friend, you should be crushed also when summer is ending for many of the people you know and they are lost.
    Dear brother or sister, have a heart for the lost. You know their future. Jesus is counting on you. Summer is ending. Do it now. Pray for them. Share the wonderful news about Jesus whenever you can. Invite them to church with you. You can do that. I pray that you will.

 My love to you and to Jesus! – Rev. Don Ginkel, Emeritus, Lakewood, Colorado

 
 
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    Half of Americans (51%), including 60% of the religiously unaffiliated, say they’re curious as to why some people are so devoted to their faith, according to a recent Lifeway Research study. Two in 3 Americans (66%) say they’re at least open to having a conversation about faith with a friend. And 51% are even open to those conversations with a stranger. Even with a growing number of Americans no longer believing in God’s existence, most are still willing to have a conversation about faith and religion. 

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This week: tell someone 3 reasons why you believe in his/her work. We all need encouragement.