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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.

The Stephen Ministry motto, Christ Caring for People through People, surrounds the Stephen Ministry logo. Last week you learned 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.”

Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one lay caring ministry. There are three groups of people involved in this ministry. Stephen Leaders train at a week-long intensive Leadership Training Course (LTC) so that they can return to their congregations to select, train and supervise Stephen Ministers. The Training Coordinator (Cheryl Sjoquist) recruits and trains Stephen Ministers; the Referrals Coordinator (Peggy Williams) meets with potential care receivers to assess their needs, then matches care receivers with Stephen Ministers; the Supervision Coordinator (Renee Bennett) provides Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision; the Awareness Coordinator (Kam Cook) serves as promotion director. Stephen Leader Ruth DuCharme is our Spiritual Formation Coordinator and will oversee special congregational training opportunities. John Jarrard has also been trained as a Stephen Leader. Stephen Ministers have undergone 50 hours of in-house training. They are lay people trained by the Stephen Leaders to provide high-quality, one-to-one, Christ-centered care for people going through tough times. Those who recently completed Stephen Ministry training include: Kam Cook, Martha Fennell, Anne and Neil Heath, Lyn Hicks, John Jarrard, Cheryl Sjoquist, Garry Williams, and Peggy Williams. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for small group peer supervision and continuing education.

A care receiver is a hurting person—congregation member or others in the community—who receives care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life, experiencing grief, divorce, cancer, hospitalization, physical rehabilitation, long-term care, chronic illness, terminal illness, job loss, loss of a home, military deployment, the onset of a disability, spiritual crisis, and other life struggles. The caregiver is there for the care receiver as long as there is a need. The Stephen Minister is not there to solve the problem, but to help the care receiver learn to cope, help himself, and offer hope for a brighter tomorrow.

We always remember we are only the caregivers; Christ is the ultimate cure giver. Please continue to keep our new Stephen Ministers in your prayers as we begin the referral process to start our caring relationships.