What Stephen Ministry Is All About

What Stephen Ministers Do

After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.


Stephen Ministers pray daily for their care receivers and strive to worship God always in word and deed. They reveal the love of God to those who most need to see it.


Stephen Ministers are assigned to care receivers—people in crisis who need caring support. Stephen Ministers care for those in moderate difficulties. The Stephen Minister’s care helps the care receiver resolve the difficulty and achieve growth. Most Stephen Ministers meet once a week with their care receivers for about an hour at a time. They may also check in with the care receiver by telephone, particularly when the care receiver is going through a difficult time. Stephen Ministers use special skills to care for their care receivers.

Is God Calling You to Be One of the "After People"?

Stephen Ministers are the “After People.” They are there with you:
…after the phone call you hoped you’d never get.
...after the funeral, when everyone has left and the emotions you’ve held at bay come crashing in on you.
...after the relationship falls apart and the bottom falls out of your life.
...after the doctor says, “I’m sorry but there’s nothing more we can do.”
...after the nursing home director shakes your hand and says, “Welcome to your new home.”
...after the last child honks the horn, waves, and drives away—and the house suddlenly seems empty.
...after the gavel comes down, the handcuffs go on, and your loved one is led away.
...after the baby arrives, demanding more of you than you ever dreamed possible.
...after you find a pink slip with your final paycheck.
...after your family and friends have heard your story one too many times, but you still need to talk about it.

--© 2016 by Stephen Ministries St. Louis. Used by permission.

If you find yourself in one of the “after situations” of life, do not experience the loss and hurt by yourself. Woodlawn has trained Stephen Ministers available to walk beside you during any of life’s difficult times. Do not hesitate to seek help from those God has called to serve. For more information contact Kelly Gifford at 316-708-0961 for strictly confidential information.

Stephen Ministers 2023

The above Stephen Ministers are ready to walk alongside you to provide comfort and support for as long after as needed. Our church is committed to providing that support for each one who seeks it.
However, will we have enough Stephen Ministers to be able to meet each need? At Woodlawn United Methodist Church, we believe that God is able to meet whatever need God’s children might have. It just takes people willing to say, “here I am Lord; send me.” If you can volunteer to be God’s hands, we at Woodlawn will supply the training. Is God calling you to become a trained Stephen Minister, becoming an “After Person” in His service?

Please carefully consider God’s call in your life to become a Stephen Minister, helping hurting people bear their burdens.

Learn More

Stephen Ministry has been in service at Woodlawn United Methodist Church since 2002. The ministry of the Stephen Ministers has been a blessing to individuals, to the lay ministers themselves, and to the whole congregation. In order to continue and expand this ministry of care, we are planning for another training class in the fall of 2023. Take advantage of this opportunity to share the love that God has given you. You will find that being a Stephen Minister will not only be helpful to others, but it will also be one of the most fulfilling and joyful experiences that you will ever have.

Applications to take the training for Stephen Ministry will be available at the Stephen Ministry bulletin board or in the church office. Interviews will be scheduled for each candidate of the class. Stephen Leaders will review each application and will schedule interviews with each interested individual. The interviews give the Stephen Leaders a chance to meet each candidate and provide responsibilities and details of training. After the interviews, those selected will receive class schedules and all Stephen Ministry materials necessary will be ordered at no cost to the participant.

Classes are held each Tuesday evening from 6-8:30 pm. Attendance is expected, and makeup is required for any class missed. All lessons must be completed. Stephen Leaders are the instructors. Time off during and Holiday Season is built into the class schedule. Training takes 20 weeks, with 50 hours of class time. Expectations are that each student will attend all class sessions and then serve as a Stephen Minister for at least 2 years. Class size is limited.

Those who have completed this valuable training have often said how much it has enriched their own lives. The skills learned can be applied to all situations, not just assigned care receivers. Everyone benefits from receiving this training. Please prayerfully consider your role in this vital care giving ministry.

Contact Roylene Klein at 316-250-0135 or Connie Sneeringer at 316-737-1793 to learn more.
Applications are available in the church office or at the Stephen Ministry bulletin board in the church foyer.

Stephen Ministries Job Description

Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one Christ-centered care. They have a compassionate heart for those who are hurting, and they’ve been equipped with caring ministry skills by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders. A Stephen Minister typically has one care receiver at a time and meets with that person once a week to listen, care, pray, encourage, and offer emotional and spiritual support.

Stephen Ministers meet twice monthly for Supervision Group support and continued training on topics that improve compassionate Christian care.

Care for the Care Receiver


Most care receivers need someone simply to listen—really listen—as they talk through their difficulties.

Dealing with feelings

Stephen Ministers reflect the care receiver’s content, feelings, and ideas and ask open-ended questions to help the care receiver recognize, express, and accept his or her feelings.

Sharing distinctively Christian caring resources

Stephen Ministers may share a prayer, a Bible verse or story, or other caring gestures that the care receiver would welcome.

Remaining process-oriented

Stephen Ministers do not try to fix the care receiver or his or her problems; they focus on the process or care giving and rely on God to achieve results.

Relating assertively

Stephen Ministers respect both the needs of the care receiver and their own needs as well.

Maintaining boundaries

Stephen Ministers set appropriate boundaries in the caring relationship, helping the care receiver remain as independent as possible while being there for the care receiver as needed.

Recommending professional care when necessary

Stephen Ministers are not trained to care for those who are suicidal, severely depressed, abusive, or homicidal, or who are abusing drugs or alcohol. If Stephen Ministers recognize that their care receiver’s needs exceed the care they are able to provide, they see that the care receiver receives professional care.

Maintain Confidentiality

Stephen Ministers understand that confidentiality is crucial in any caring relationship. The care receiver needs to know that what he or she says to the Stephen Minister will remain in confidence. Stephen Ministers maintain confidentiality and encourage other Stephen Ministers to do the same.

Help Identify People in Need of Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministers act as ministers of referral, helping to find people who would benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister.

Participate in Twice-Monthly Supervision and Continuing Education Sessions

Stephen Ministers participate faithfully in Small Group Peer Supervision and continuing education, coming prepared to every supervision session unless illness or emergency make attendance impossible. Supervision provides Stephen Ministers with support, guidance, and accountability for their caring relationships. There are no unsupervised Stephen Ministers.

Help the Congregation Understand and Appreciate Stephen Ministry

Through their service, Stephen Ministers help the congregation appreciate Stephen Ministry and encourage members to become ministers of referral who help those in crisis receive the care they need.

How the Congregation Supports the Stephen Minister


Through its trained Stephen Leaders, the congregation supplies Stephen Ministers with 50 hours of training for this ministry before they are assigned a care receiver, and further supplies continuing education twice monthly for as long as the Stephen Ministers serve. The training is comprehensive, and Stephen Ministers can feel confident in their skills for this ministry.


The congregation formally commissions Stephen Ministers at one or more worship services. This allows the community to recognize their efforts, affirm and support their ministry, and pray for them as they begin their caring ministry.


Small group Supervision provides Stephen Ministers with encouragement and ensures that no Stephen Minister will ever have to carry the responsibility for his or her care receiver all alone.


Stephen Ministers rely on the prayers of the congregation for keeping God’s presence foremost in their caring ministry. Sometimes the going will be tough for both caregivers and their care receivers; the Stephen Ministers will need the additional support of knowing that others are lifting their needs as caregivers to God in prayer.

Stephen Leaders

By accepting Stephen Ministry as part of its overall ministry, a congregation agrees to supply the resources that allow for the training of Stephen Leaders. These Stephen Leaders in turn provide guidance for Stephen Ministers. They train them and ensure that the supervision and continuing education sessions progress smoothly. They are available to consult with Stephen Ministers when they have questions, face challenges, or suspect that the care receiver’s needs exceed the care they are able to give. Stephen Leaders offer support, advice, and affirmation to the Stephen Ministers and ensure the smooth operation of Stephen Ministry in the congregation.

Recognition and Appreciation

The congregation recognizes and appreciates Stephen Ministers for the service they give the congregation.