Dear Riverside Family:
Several weeks ago Riverside formally became a Stephen Ministry congregation. Through Stephen Ministry’s complete system for equipping laypeople we will develop a team of capable caregivers to provide Christian care to hurting people. The Stephen Ministry (Acts 6) model of ministry is already working in thousands of congregations.
In the months to come, Riverside will have several leaders receiving formal training through a one-week Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course. Sara Rottler and Lisa Harker will train in St. Louis from April 7-13 and Ann Shaw and Mike Amato will train in the summer. At this training course, these leaders will receive the instruction and materials necessary to implement and sustain a Riverside lay caring ministry.
Following the one-week Leader’s Training Course, a group of lay people from our congregation will undertake 50 hours of training in Christian caring skills. This training will prepare the participants to care for others, covering such areas as how to listen effectively, how to deal with feelings, how to use traditional Christian resources in caring, how to maintain confidentiality, how to deal with people experiencing crises, and many other areas of concern. A Christ-centered approach to caring and the need to care for the whole person will be stressed throughout the training.
Upon completion of the training, these lay caregivers will be commissioned as “Stephen Ministers” and will become an important part of how Riverside loves one another. These Stephen Ministers will provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care for people experiencing challenges in their lives such as hospitalization, loss of a loved one, loneliness, divorce, unemployment, birth of a child, and many other life events for which a person could benefit from an effective helping and caring ministry.
This is an exciting time for Riverside. Our Stephen Ministry will both multiply the amount of caring ministry that goes on in our congregation and deepen the level of participation by lay people in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. If you have questions about Stephen Ministry, please feel free to ask me or any of our Stephen Ministry leaders. In the meantime, I would like you to keep Riverside’s Stephen Ministry leadership and our congregation in your prayers as we prepare for this major step forward in our capacity to truly love one another.