Stephen Ministry Matters

Recognizing that God is the ultimate Cure Giver, the Mission of the Highland Hills Baptist Church Stephen Ministry is to serve God and bring Christ’s healing love to individuals who are experiencing life’s challenges through confidential, non-judgmental, one-on-one Christian care.

Anne and Neil Heath hosted the Stephen Ministry Training Retreat at their home this past weekend.

On Friday night, Peggy Williams facilitated Module #3: The Art of Listening. Listening is the foundational skill for Stephen Ministry caregiving. Trainees honed our listening skills and discovered that listening well is extremely helpful and caring, but it is also hard work. We learned to distinguish between open and closed questions and why it is better to rely on open-ended questions in caregiving. We also learned and practiced the skill of reflecting as a valuable listening tool and responded to a listening quiz as a way of exploring many facets of this skill. Talking about our own experiences helped us sharpen our understanding of when listening is effective and when it seems fake or makes us uncomfortable.

Saturday, Cheryl Sjoquist facilitated two sessions on Module #4, Distinctively Christian Caring, based on the book Christian Caregiving—A Way of Life. Stephen Ministry is distinctively Christian in character and thus warrants an intense emphasis on using the tools of the faith in caring for others. During the morning session, we discovered effective ways to use resources, such as prayer and Scripture, as tools in caring ministry. The afternoon session focused on using Biblical Stories and Promises as caregiving tools.

We thank God for calling such a dedicated group to participate in our first Stephen Ministry training class. Continue to keep our Stephen Ministry trainees in your prayers as we learn to use our gifts, the skills we are learning, and the tools of faith God provides as resources to better care for our care receivers.