11/14/22 Devotional from Ed – What is Stephen Ministry?
November 14, 2022
Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13
Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother or sister living irresponsibly and not according to the tradition that they received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not irresponsible when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living irresponsibly, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.
Two things happened yesterday that made me want to revisit the Scripture we read together in yesterday's worship. In the Words after the Word class, a participant lifted up the following near the end: "Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living." And last night, a Disciple I participant asked about the role of Stephen Ministry at Forest Lake, which gives us the opportunity to think about Stephen Ministry in relation to Paul's words above.
Paul's words above fit Stephen Ministry. Forest Lake's Stephen Ministers work for God quietly, anonymously, and confidentially. Each Stephen Minister and Leader has received extensive training in order to walk alongside those who are facing hard challenges, including loss, grief, anxiety, depression, and trauma. Stephen Ministers sit alongside their care receivers weekly to be a caregiver (not "cure" giver), and while it is tiring work for both the care receiver and Stephen Minister, it is God working through their head, heart, and hands.
Forest Lake is fortunate to have a group of dedicated Stephen Ministers who meet monthly to support each other and receive continuing education. In the these meetings, confidentiality is the centerpiece, as the integrity of Stephen Ministry depends upon our Stephen Ministers keeping confidential what is shared between the Stephen Minister and care receiver.
Many of our care receivers have met with their Stephen Ministers weekly for more than a year, demonstrating the strength of the relationship and the role a Stephen Minister can play for someone.
The holidays can be a dark time for many. If you find yourself needing to talk to someone as we approach the holidays, please remember we have Stephen Ministers at Forest Lake. Therefore, please reach out to me at any point to help you get plugged into receiving care from someone at Forest Lake: email@example.com.
Thanks be to God for our Stephen Ministers and all others who do God's work quietly to walk alongside God's children.
Prayer: Holy God, we give you thanks that you have given the gifts of compassion, empathy, and listening to our Stephen Ministers and all others who work quietly for you. If we find ourselves needing to reach out to someone to talk, give us the strength to do it. Amen.