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Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one lay caring ministry. Twin Lakes Church equips and empowers lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. Two groups of people are involved in this ministry: Stephen Ministers, who are also called Caregivers, and Care Receivers.
More than 12,000 congregations have Stephen Ministry—representing over 170 denominations, all 50 states, all 10 Canadian provinces, and 29 other countries. Many of these congregations have had Stephen Ministry going for more than 30 years. Our church started our ministry in 2003.
Stephen Ministries is a not-for-profit Christian education organization founded in 1975. At the international office, a staff of 40 carry out the mission to “equip God’s people for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
To learn even more about Stephen Ministries go to www.stephenministries.org
Below is specific information for those interested in becoming a Stephen Minister (Caregiver), and those interested in receiving care from a Stephen Minister (Care Receiver).
Stephen Ministers, or Caregivers, are congregation members who receive 50 hours of training to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. After completing the training and an exit interview with Stephen Leaders, a new Stephen Minister is commissioned by the church to offer care to a hurting person.
A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour to listen and offer encouragement and support.
Also, twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.
A Stephen Minister is asked for a two year commitment to the ministry.
Stephen Ministers are not counselors, therapists, clinicians, pastors or physicians. They do not give advice, legal or otherwise. They do not make recommendations, though they may make suggestions and present resources. They do not serve as 12-Step recovery sponsors, solve Care Receiver’s problems, counsel, run errands, lend money or provide transportation. Rather they offer distinctively Christian care by listening, sharing bible passages, offering blessings, praying, and pointing to Jesus as the Cure-Giver.
Two specific guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the Care Receiver and the Stephen Minister or Caregiver:
When a Care Receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team may make a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.
To become a Stephen Minister, please contact the leadership team:
Care receivers are church attendees who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life. Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:
Stephen Ministry is appropriate for people experiencing
TLC’s program requires anyone with a recent history of alcohol or substance abuse to be clean and sober for no less than one year before becoming a Care Receiver. The Stephen Ministry program may not receive any persons having serious mental health issues as Care Receivers.
To request the care of a Stephen Minister please contact the Care staff in the church office:
Stephen Ministry is lead by TLC Pastor of Care, Dan Baker, and a group of Stephen Leaders who have significant experience in Stephen Ministry and have attended a one week training course to prepare them for this role.
What Stephen Leaders do:
To contact the Stephen Leaders:
To contact the Church Office Care Ministry Team: or 831-465-3368
Why the name Stephen?
In the book of Acts, Stephen was chosen to provide caring ministry to those in need. Since the time of the Apostles, caring ministry has been considered a hallmark of the Christian faith community.
Who makes a good Stephen Minister?
A Christian who is a member of Twin Lakes Church, and has a compassionate heart for those who are hurting and feels the call from the Holy Spirit to listen, care, pray, encourage, and offer emotional and spiritual support to others makes.
In what types of situations does a Stephen Minister offer care?
Stephen Ministry is appropriate for people experiencing
What does the training consist of?
The 50-hour training is an intensive broad-spectrum course of caring approaches. Classes are held every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 9:00 from January through May. Stephen Leader teachers present topics and class members participate in role playing and discussion to prepare them to minister. There are also outside class reading assignments.
Will anyone commit to all that training?
Yes—and more than 600,000 have done so since 1975. Laypeople are eager to use their God-given gifts in meaningful ministry to others. The ministry is fulfilling. Stephen Ministers also discover they can use the training to meet the needs of the hurting people in their own personal lives. It equips them to deal well with their own loved ones.
Isn’t a two year commitment a heavy responsibility?
Many individuals have been with the ministry much longer than that. They find it rewarding to help others and feel being involved leads to great personal growth. There is camaraderie among the group of Stephen Ministers and serving with these people is a pleasure.
Once I’m trained will I be on my own?
No. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education. In addition, the Pastor of Care and the Director of the ministry are always available to answer questions and discuss concerns.
Am I just assigned to a stranger without any introduction?
The ministry has Referral Coordinators, one for men and one for women. This person prayerfully matches an available Caregiver with a waiting Care Receiver. Then the Referral Coordinator calls the CG with the proposed match and asks the CG to pray and seek God’s will in the pairing. The CG is able to say yes or no depending on what they hear from the Lord. Then at any time during the caring relationship, either party can contact the Referral Coordinator about any problems or issues in the relationship. No one is ever stuck in a caring relationship. Both parties have the right to say the relationship is not working for them.
Will I just be handed another person’s problems to try to solve?
No. Stephen Ministry is about caring, not about fixing problems. The focus is always on the process and not the results. All a SM is required to do is to show up consistently and listen. It is amazing how this process strengthens another person to address their own problems.
The Stephen Ministry logo is so odd. What does it mean?
The Stephen Ministry logo represents a care receiver’s journey from brokenness toward wholeness through the cross of Jesus. In this way, it illustrates “Christ caring for people through people,” which is the Stephen Ministry motto.
I see the Stephen Ministers on the prayer team. Is this part of the commitment?
No. Praying with others in church is not on a Stephen Minister’s job description. This is purely voluntary.
How many Stephen Ministers does our church need?
Stephen Ministry headquarters suggests an ideal ratio is ten percent of a congregation serving as Stephen Ministers. That mean our ideal at TLC is to have around 300 trained Stephen Ministers. Our church presently has more than 50.
Do Stephen Ministers care for people outside our congregation?
Our ultimate goal is to provide care for people in the broader community, enhancing and expanding our congregation’s outreach in a powerful way. However, in our present reality, we do not have enough Stephen Ministers to meet the need in our own church. So our focus is not on outreach at this time, but on meeting the needs of those already connected with Twin Lakes Church.