Eleanor Shuping is a vital part of our Stephen Ministry at First United Methodist Church. She has set up the training schedule for all new Stephen Ministers and she has been in charge of continuing education for all of our Stephen Ministers. Here is her Stephen Ministry story.
Ever since I was a teenager attending MYF meetings I felt the call to do something for God. As a Stephen Leader I have learned that many of our Stephen Ministers report that they also felt a calling. In 2008 our church decided to revive our Stephen Ministry. I knew how helpful it had been to a close friend and I had just retired so it seemed like the right time.
I was very impressed with the quality of the training that wedded sound psychological principles with church ministry, particularly the teachings of Paul. I learned to listen and care while walking with the care receiver much like Christ walks with us when we face hardships. God uses these hardships to bring us closer to Him.
I have had several care receivers. Some have struggled with physical issues, others relationship problems. I take Christ with me when I visit and I find that He often leads me to know what to say and do. I use God’s resources—the Bible, devotionals, and other resources that share God’s love.
After attending leadership training, I began developing the continuing education program for the existing Stephen Ministers. Every time we train new ministers I come to appreciate the strength of the program and the skills we learn. As a Stephen Minister I am growing in Christ as I care for others. We are all becoming more caring and Christlike in our other relationships.