Stephen Ministry

We have many needs in our congregation and community: people experiencing divorce, grief, terminal illness, loss of a job, relocation, empty nest, retirement, hospitalization, loneliness, disability, homebound, spiritual crisis, and many other stresses. In times like these our coping mechanisms may be intact but stretched to the limit. Too often we suffer silently or do not request or receive the level of care we really need.

Through our Stephen Ministry program First Church equips a team of lay members who work alongside our Pastors and expand the care we can offer to those in our congregation and community who are in a time of need.

Our care team members listen, understand, accept, and pray for and with the person working through a tough time. They are not there to counsel, advise, or solve problems. They are not a substitute for a mental health professional where that may be needed but can be a valuable addition in holistic care. We listen without judgment and share the burden at hand helping to strengthen the care receiver. How often have you experienced or heard someone say how much it helped just to have someone listen and know they cared? That process helps a care receiver find their own path to healing and wholeness.

Do you wish to receive care? Please contact our Senior Minister, Rev. Nanette Pitt. Please note that our Stephen Ministry program is in hiatus as we reconfigure and train new leadership. In the interim, our pastoral staff continue to be available to offer support and pastoral care.

Are you interested in being part of our care team? Please contact Senior Minister, Rev. Nanette Pitt. Our care team consists of members of First Church who have completed extensive training in providing focused care to persons experiencing a crisis or challenging circumstances. Clearly compassion and empathy are necessary characteristics of members of our care team. The ability of keep confidences is crucial as is a non-judgmental attitude. Care team members need to be continuous learners with a commitment to pastoral and peer supervision to support, encourage, and maintain the program. Finally, an immediate qualification is commitment. There is a substantial commitment of time and prayerful intention. The initial training is typically a 2½ hour class each week for 20 weeks. After that is a commitment to 1½ hours every month for supervision and continuing education plus the one hour per week to extend care to care receivers. Generally speaking, the commitment is about 5-6 hours per month and care team members are expected to make a two year commitment.

The History of Stephen Ministries

Stephen Ministries, an independent ministry program, was started in 1975 by Ken Haugk, in order to expand a church’s capacity to meet the many individual needs within a congregation. Stephen Ministries is now in over 9,000 congregations across 100 denominations as well as some secular organizations such as health-care and long-term care facilities. Learn more >>