Why do we do what we do? What is important to us?
Core Values of Stephen Ministry at First United Presbyterian Church
- God does not want any of us to suffer alone, but wants us to love,
encourage, and care for one another.
- We want our church to be a place where hurting people can receive compassion,
care, and Christ’s healing love.
- All God’s people have been blessed with spiritual gifts and God calls us all to active ministry.
- High-quality, distinctively Christian lay ministry. We demonstrate this value by equipping people through Stephen Ministry.
- People. We want them to experience the love of Christ, especially when they are hurting, troubled, or in need. We demonstrate this value by ministering to people through Stephen Ministry.
When Jesus called His first disciples, He walked along the seashore and approached two fisherman who were casting their nets into the sea. He didn’t say to them, “Go save the world, care for people, heal the sick, and preach the gospel.” He simply said, “Follow Me.”
When Jesus approached Levi, a tax collector and therefore to the Jews a traitor, He didn’t chastise Levi. Jesus could have told Levi to quit His despicable job. He could have demanded that Levi pay back the money he had stolen. But He didn’t do any of those things. He simply said, “Follow Me.”
At the end of John’s Gospel Jesus spoke with Peter. This was Jesus’ last time to talk to Peter face to face. You would think He would have discussed plans for all that Peter would do, like preaching sermons that will convert thousands of people, or being the leader of the church in Rome, or even how to handle all the persecution Peter would be facing. Even after all they had been through together and with all that was to come, He simply said to Peter, “Follow Me.”
It seems to be pretty important to Jesus that people follow Him. So what exactly does that mean, to follow Jesus? Jesus lived a life of obedience to God. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to complete His work.” (John 4:34). Jesus walked the path of servanthood, and He invites us to do the same. Jesus calls us to follow Him to His cross. This may not mean that we will be martyred for Him, but it certainly means that we will die to ourselves, again and again, in order to find the life He has for us. Following Jesus not only means walking the path He walked, it also means reaching the same destination that He did, an eternity of joy with His Father.
Jesus says, “Follow Me.” He invites you, He commands you, He entreats you: “Follow Me.” And as you follow Him, He will use you to care, to heal, to comfort, to bring joy, and to empower others to become His followers also.
A vision is a descriptive picture of the future based on what God is calling His people to be. It involves a ministry prayerfully discerning what God wants it to become in order to carry out the work of His Kingdom.
Our Stephen Ministry exists to serve God by bringing Christ’s healing love to individuals who are experiencing life’s challenges and difficulties.
The FUPC congregation’s Stephen Ministry will do everything we can to make sure that everyone who needs care receives it.
However, the reality is that we have people in our congregation and community who are in need of care from a Stephen Minister, and we don’t have enough Stephen Ministers.
Therefore, our direction is to recruit more effectively so that we add 5-8 Stephen Ministers to the 13 we have now, in the next two years.
To achieve this, we plan to hold a Stephen Minister Training Session in the fall of 2018.
We equip laypeople to provide one-to-one Christian care to people in our congregation and community who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. This is a confidential ministry. The identity of those receiving care and everything they discuss with a Stephen Minister remain private.
Is God calling you to be a Stephen Minister?
Talk to one of the Stephen Leaders: Ruth Neagle, Launa Engelbrecht, Jim Boland.
Along with Ironworks, Stephen Ministry is a ministry of Congregational Care. Stuart Neagle, Elder.
My faith has grown, my prayer life has doubled, and I know how to really make a difference in people’s lives. I’d encourage anyone who has the chance to become a Stephen Minister.
God gave me a heart for other people. Stephen Ministry gave me the skills I needed to minister to other people and bring God’s love into their lives during a time of deep need. I’m humbled and awed God can use me like this.
Stephen Ministry has given me a way to serve God more faithfully by being His presence to those in need. In the process God has blessed me with skills I didn’t know I had, and enriched my life in more ways than I could ever imagine.