Stephen Ministry

What is Stephen Ministry

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system.

Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers-called Stephen Ministers-to provide high quality,

confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.

How Stephen Ministry Works

The best way to understand how Stephen Ministry works is to learn about three groups of people involved in this ministry:

Stephen Leaders, Stephen Ministers, and care receivers.

Watch Stephen Ministry Members of McLean Bible Church explain this ministry

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Stephen Leaders

Stephen Leaders establish and direct Stephen Ministry in a congregation. They…

   build awareness of Stephen Ministry within the congregation and community

recruit and train Stephen Ministers

meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs

match care receivers with Stephen Ministers

provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education

People learn to serve as Stephen Leaders by attending a Leader’s Training Course- a one-week

conference that introduces the resources used to lead Stephen Ministry, develops key skills, and

gets people excited about this caring ministry.

Stephen Ministers

Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality,

one-to-one Christian care to people going through rough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides

care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour.  Twice a month,

Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.

A Pastor Shares His Personal Relationship With Stephen Ministry 

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Care Receivers

Care Receivers are people-congregation members and others in the community-who receive

care from a Stephen Minister.  These are people struggling through a difficult time in life-

experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.

Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:

The relationship between a care receiver and a Stephen minister is confidential.

Men are matched with men; women with women.

When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry

team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.

A Vibrant, Lasting Ministry

You’ll find Stephen Ministry in congregations from more than 160 Christian denominations,

       across the U.S. and Canada and in 24 other countries.


Since Stephen Ministries was founded in 1975:

More than 12,000 congregations have enrolled in the Stephen Series.

More than 65,000 pastors and lay leaders from those congregations

have been equipped at Leader’s Training Courses.

More than 60,000 laypeople have received Stephen Minister training.

More than on-and-a-half-million people have had a Stephen Minister to walk with them,

providing one-to-one Christian care during tough times.