Stephen Ministry

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Stephen Ministry

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NRSV).

Christ Caring for People through People

Stephen Ministry is a pastoral care program of our congregation that equips lay persons to provide distinctively Christian one-to-one care to those who are experiencing stressful circumstances. We offer care to individuals both in our congregation and in the broader community.

Brief History  

Stephen Ministry is named after Stephen, one of the first deacons in the early church to be commissioned by the Apostles to care for the needs of church members. The Stephen Ministry program was started by Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, an ordained minister and clinical psychologist, in 1973.

Stephen Ministry at VAPC

Our first two Stephen Ministry Leaders were trained in April 2016 by attending a week-long session in St. Louis. The first Stephen Ministry training at VAPC began in September 2016. A group of 5 congregational members were commissioned as Stephen Ministers (caregivers) in February 2017 after completing 50 hours of training. Another Stephen Ministry Leader received training in June 2017 and a new 50-hour training session will begin in September 2017 for new Stephen Ministers joining the team.  This will bring our team to three Stephen Leaders and eight Stephen Ministers (caregivers).

Stephen Ministers are committed Christian people who…

  • express God’s care through their care for others
  • receiver 50 hours of initial training in important caring ministry skills and concepts
  • are commissioned as Stephen Ministers after completing their initial training
  • visit another person regularly and dependably, offering Christian support
  • participate in regular support and supervision under the guidance of trained Stephen Leaders
  • are committed to preserving the confidential nature of the caring relationship
  • serve for at least two years
  • receive continuing education and skill building throughout their years of service.

Stephen Ministry Meets the Needs of People

There are times when each of us needs the care of another person, a Christian friend, a Stephen Minister.
These times include but are not limited to…

  • a stay in hospital
  • a terminal illness diagnosed for a member of our family or for ourselves
  • a time of grief due to death or a significant loss in our lives
  • when we are home-bound or move to a retirement or nursing home
  • when we lose our job
  • when we are dealing with new disabilities or are looking after a family member who has a disability
  • when we are facing a life transition, be it a new child, a new job, retirement, separation and divorce


Each of us face change differently, and some changes bring us into stress more than others. In Stephen Ministry we recognize that we are not only care-givers, we are also care receivers. We treat each person who asks for care as we would want to be treated.  For this reason, we stress the confidentiality of our caring relationships. Those receiving care can be sure that their identity and what goes on in the caring relationship will remain private.

‘Encourage one another and build one another up.’
I Thessalonians 5:11



VAPC’s Stephen Leader referral/contact person is Rev. Rod Ferguson, VAPC Pastoral Associate, who can be reached at 403-288-0544 or

One in Christ, Reaching Out to Many