stephen-ministry-2Stephen Ministry is a distinctly Christian one-on-one care giving relationship between a trained layperson and a member of the congregation who is suffering from a need, pain or crisis. Stephen comes from St. Stephen, who was the first layperson commissioned by the apostles to provide caring ministry to those in need.

Learn more about Stephen Ministry at Watch a two minute video and hear care receivers tell their stories and learn about Stephen Ministers?

Why would I need a Stephen Minister?

If you are a member of Potomac Presbyterian Church and you have a crisis such as a death or serious illness, a Stephen Minister can walk along side of you to listen, pray and care. A Stephen Minister can also be a healing presence during other difficult times and transitions such as anxiety over a job loss, struggling with being a caregiver for a spouse or parent, being lonely, worried about caring for a new baby, or challenged by teenagers. There is no need too great or too small.

How would a Stephen Minister help?

A Stephen Minister would meet with you once a week for about an hour to listen without judgment and encourage you through the challenges you are facing, recognizing that God is the Curegiver.

Visits in person may be supplemented with telephone or electronic communication when appropriate. Support can be for a few weeks or stretch into a year or more. Everything you say and even your identity is confidential.

How are Stephen Ministers trained?

They are laypeople from our congregation that complete 50 hours of instruction in Christian care giving prior to commissioning. Topics include listening, confidentiality and boundaries as well as ministering to specific situations such as divorce, terminal illness, and grief. Training is followed by 18 months of continuing education and peer supervision during which time the Stephen Minister may have a care receiver.

How did Stephen Ministry begin?

Stephen Ministry began in 1975 when the Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, Ph.D., a pastor and clinical psychologist, trained nine laypeople at his congregation in St. Louis to be Stephen Ministers. They assisted him in providing distinctively Christian care to members of the congregation and community. These trained caregivers were so enthused about their ministry; they encouraged Dr.Haugk to offer Stephen Ministry to more congregations. Currently more than 10,000 congregations are enrolled in the Stephen Series. These congregations represent more than 150 different Christian denominations and come from all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 23 other countries.

When did Stephen Ministry start at Potomac Presbyterian Church?

We began Stephen Ministry in 1999 and have trained 69 members of our congregation to be Stephen Ministers. Our current class of six Stephen Ministers from Potomac Presbyterian was commissioned in the spring of 2016 and will serve through the spring of 2018. Stephen Ministers from prior classes continue to serve as well. Our Stephen Ministers typically support from about 4 to 8 Care Receivers at any given time. In addition, the large volume of Stephen Ministers trained since 1999 has resulted in a very compassionate caring church congregation.

Who can I talk with to get more information about Stephen Ministry?

If you would like to inquire into receiving care from a Stephen Minister or if you feel called to serve as a Stephen Minister, please contact a pastor or one of the Stephen Ministry Leaders: Sherry Johnson (, Karen Karch (, or Bob Stow ( All requests for care are confidential.