Stephen Ministry

One-to-One Christian Care

Stephen Ministry is a program of our congregation that equips lay persons to provide distinctively Christian one-to-one care to those who are experiencing a wide variety of life challenges and circumstances, both in our congregation and our community. For over two decades, Stephen Ministry at Matthews UMC has cared for persons experiencing crises including illness, death, divorce, job loss, depression, and life's many transitions.

If you are in need of a Stephen Minister, please call the Church Office at 704-847-6261 and speak with Pastor Paul Craig. Please watch this special video of one care receiver's story and know that you are not alone.

Please read this Introductory Information if you are considering becoming a Stephen Minister (more details below).

Stephen Ministry FAQs

When was the last time someone really listened to you?

We're talking about that undistracted, full attention kind of listening. That's one of the ways Stephen Ministers care for others. Stephen Ministers work alongside our pastors to care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support to people who are going through a difficult time, such as divorce, grief, hospitalization, unemployment, terminal illness, relocation, chronic illness, or loneliness.

Why is it called "Stephen Ministry"?

The name Stephen comes from St. Stephen, who was the first lay person commissioned by the apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need (Acts 6) Stephen Ministers have been through 50 hours of training in Christian caregiving, including topics such as listening, feelings, boundaries and assertiveness. The training also covers topics such as ministering to the divorced, hospitalized, bereaved, and aging.

Can I Trust a Stephen Minister?

Trust is essential to a caring relationship. Confidentiality is one of the most important principles of Stephen Ministry and what a care receiver tells his/her Stephen Minister is kept in strictest confidence.

What exactly is Stephen Ministry?

A ministry in which trained and supervised lay persons, called Stephen Minister, provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges or difficulties. Who is involved? Stephen Leaders oversee and direct our Stephen Ministers. They recruit, select, train, organize and supervise our Stephen Ministers, identify people in need of care, and match them with a Stephen Minister.

Are Stephen Ministers Counselors?

They are not counselors; they are trained lay caregivers. Their role is to listen and care - not to give advice or counsel. They are trained to recognize when a care receiver's need exceeds what they can provide, and help them receive the level of care they need.

How Can Someone Get Care from a Stephen Minister?

If you or someone you know would benefit from this ministry, you can call the Church Office at 704-847-6261 (If you want to talk about Stephen Ministry for someone else, make sure you get their permission first).

What if I would like become a Stephen Minister?

If you would like to learn how to become a Stephen Minister, interested trainees should complete the application and return it to the Church Office in a sealed envelope marked "Stephen Ministry application."

If you would like more information on Stephen Ministries as a whole, please visit the official website at or click here to watch a video.