Stephen Ministers: The After People
Stephen Ministers are the “After People”! They come alongside us after the phone call we hoped we would never get, after the funeral is over and folks have all gone home, after life falls apart, after the doctor delivers a terminal diagnosis, after the nursing home director welcomes a new patient to his or her new home, and after our family and friends have heard our story one too many times but we still need to talk it out. We all need “after people” to come alongside us and provide comfort and support for as long after as needed.
God’s Love in Action
The risen Christ told his followers to teach, heal and give hope to people wherever they meet them. As Christ’s disciples, we are directed to do likewise. St. Paul said we should bear one another’s burdens. These directives from the early Christian church shape and mold the ministry of offering care and comfort in today’s world just as they did so long ago.
Stephen Ministry was begun in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1975, to ensure that lay ministers caring for people approach the concerns of others using time-tested approaches for offering comfort, acceptance and understanding in a ministry supported by the church’s clergy and by trained Stephen Leaders.
Here at Lakeview we care for people until we say a final goodbye to them. There may be a mis-perception that older people don’t need much help, but the challenges of aging and loss are very, very difficult to confront. We prize the ministry of our members who are committed to journeying as companions alongside of any of our Lakeview family during a time of need.
Sometimes, people’s needs are brought about by a personal crisis; sometimes, a person isolated and lonely finds healing in the company of trained Stephen Ministers. Most of us have known times in which it would have been a great comfort to have someone who would walk alongside of us and just be present for our feelings and thoughts, comforting us by their presence and encouraging us by their faithfulness. It is a great gift to have someone nearby in times of difficulty and uncertainty, someone willing to sit and listen so we can resolve for ourselves whatever our concerns may be. These companions are called Stephen Ministers.