Discipleship: Stephen Ministry

At some point in our lives we will all go through a crisis, probably several.  The death of a spouse or parent or child, career transition, bankruptcy, divorce, serious illness…  just a few examples.  Wouldn’t it be a blessing to have a Christian friend walk with you during that lonely journey, to listen, share scripture, pray together, show compassion, just be there for you!  What a blessing to bless and be blessed.  Not a counselor, but a Christian brother or sister who provides friendship and spiritual support during difficult times.  Stephen Ministers have special spiritual gifts and receive many hours of practical training.  They are under the auspices of the church ministry, with regular peer and ministerial review.  All Stephen Ministry relationships are confidential and anonymity is protected throughout the entire process.  Stephen Ministry relationships can last for weeks or months, depending on the crisis situation dynamics.  Christ calls us all to minister to one another in times of need, but Stephen Ministers are especially trained, gifted and experienced to do so.  As Christ said, “As you do unto the least of the brethren, you do unto me.”  (Matthew 25:40).   It is one of the “proof” texts of the Bible, that we and others will know that we are Christians because of “our love for the brethren [our fellow believers].”  (1 John 3:14).  If you are going through a crisis, let your pastors know. If your church does not have a Stephen Ministry program, pray about starting one.  Love Jesus?  Love others.  Jesus said, “Love one another: Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35)

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