United Methodist Church of Libertyville

Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry is a ministry in which people with special gifts for a caring ministry can share those gifts in an organized way, bringing Jesus’s love and care to those who need it most. Stephen Ministry is based on the idea that all Christians are ministers, that all Christians have the responsibility for passing on God’s love. God has given us all gifts for ministry and called us to put those gifts to use. Stephen Ministers provide focused care, encouragement, and support to someone experiencing a life challenge or crisis.

“Christ Caring for People through People” is the motto of the Stephen Ministry. The Stephen Minister’s role is to listen, care, support, encourage, and pray. In the midst of this confidential one-to-one caring relationship, God’s healing love comes pouring through.

Stephen Ministry was developed in 1975 by Dr. Kenneth Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist, who understood that he alone as a pastor could not provide for all of the caring ministry needs in his congregation. He began training lay people, called Stephen Ministers, to help provide Christian care. UMCL has had an active Stephen Ministry since 1990 and is one of more than 10,000 Stephen Ministry congregations worldwide. We support the Stephen Ministry because God calls every one of us to love and care for one another. The Holy Spirit has blessed us all with gifts for ministry. Stephen Ministry provides a place where those who have the gifts for caring ministry can put them to use in a meaningful way.

Upon completion of 50 hours of training, which includes listening, feelings, boundaries, assertiveness, distinctively Christian caring, and confidentiality, these lay people are commissioned as Stephen Ministers. After training, Stephen Ministers participate in monthly peer supervision meetings and continuing education.

Each Stephen Minister is linked with a care receiver – a member of the congregation or community who is in need of quality Christian care. A Stephen Minister normally is assigned to only one care receiver at a time and meets regularly with the care receiver. The caring relationship lasts as long as the person needs care. Stephen Ministers listen, accept, care, and walk with a person who is going through a difficult time. They provide support – prayer, scripture, forgiveness, unconditional acceptance – in appropriate ways to meet the needs of the care receiver. The Stephen Minister serves wholeheartedly, which includes prayer, thought, consideration, study, and commitment.

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of Stephen Ministry. Everything a care receiver tells his or her Stephen Minister is kept in strict confidence. Through the sharing of this confidential information, God works miracles of healing and peace.

If you or someone you know is facing a crisis or life challenge – large or small – and could benefit from the caring presence of a Stephen Minister, please click here to contact Pastor Jamie Williams or click here to contact Pastor Steve Williams or call 847-362-2112.

Follow the links below to hear amazing stories from individuals who share what it has meant for them to receive care from a Stephen Minister.

Michelle's Story

Jim's Story

Our Stephen Ministers are here to care for you.