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Stephen Ministry

What is Stephen Ministry?



Stephen Ministry is a confidential, caring ministry provided by trained lay-people grounded in Jesus' command to love one another.

People who are hurting receive love and support through one-to-one caring relationships. The ministry is named after Stephen, one of the first deacons in the early Christian church, who was commissioned by the apostles to care for the needs of people in the Christian community.



History of Stephen Ministries

In 1975 Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., a pastor and clinical psychologist, saw that people's needs for care in his congregation and community far exceeded what he alone could provide.

He developed materials to train nine of his congregation members to provide quality, one-to-one Christian care to individuals experiencing a life crisis. When they completed their training, he commissioned them as "Stephen Ministers" and linked them to people with a variety of needs for care. "Stephen Ministry" was so successful in his church that other congregations wanted to create similar programs. Dr. Haugk then founded the Stephen Ministries organization and developed the Stephen Series, which has been implemented in more than 10,000 congregations representing more than 150 Christian denominations. More than 500,000 laypersons have been trained as Stephen Ministers, who in turn have ministered to more than a million care receivers.

When is Stephen Ministry needed?

  • Crisis Care - for those dealing with unexpected events that bring about threatening change, such as serious illness, death of a loved one, relationship issues, loss of a job, or an emergency.
  • Follow-Up Care - for people facing the challenging period of adjustment that occurs after an urgent crisis has passed, such as coping after a surgery, learning to live without a loved one, or adjusting to an empty nest. Stephen Ministers offer care as long as needed, even after family and friends have heard your story one too many times but you still need to talk it out.
  • Chronic Care - for those suffering the unique demands associated with long term challenges that can seem like crises that never end, such as disability, aging, and chronic pain.
  • Preventive Care - for people concerned about predictable life crises - events that we all must face - that can leave us feeling upset and disorganized and in need of new ways of coping. Examples are moving, starting new jobs, getting married, childbirth or adoption, entering the military, facing retirement, facing physical changes or death. By serving as a good listener to someone anticipating a life change, a Stephen Minister can help provide clarity, direction and confidence.
  • Supportive Care - for people who care for others - parents of a special needs child, parents supporting an adult child through the pain of divorce, the man caring for his dying wife, the child agonizing over moving a beloved parent to a nursing home - who have special needs for nurture and encouragement.

Frequently Asked Questions about Stephen Ministry

Questions and answers many people have about Stephen Ministry.

How do I become involved?

Stephen Leader Contacts


  • Trish Paul, 414-351-2468
  • Donna Ritke, 414-334-0081
  • Barb HolzHauer, 414-793-6385