Stephen Ministry

God’s Love in Action

Hope Lutheran Church is a Stephen Ministry congregation, part of an international organization that trains church members to provide Christian care to those in our congregation and community who are hurting.   Trained lay ministers provide high-quality, one-to-one, confidential Christ-centered care and support to people experiencing a crisis or life difficulty.  This can come from sources such as:

·  Illness

·  Death of a loved one

·  Upcoming surgery

·  Family or relationship challenges

·  Financial difficulties

·  Loneliness

·  Relocation difficulties

·  A sense of loss as we age

·  Even guilt for our own past sins 


Caring People Caring for People

Stephen Ministers provide a listening ear and a caring heart to accompany the care receiver on their life journey.  Sometimes family and friends have moved on with their thoughts and feelings, yet the individual still hurts.  The non-judgmental, Stephen Minister is trained to be an active listener and to deal with difficult feelings.  They can help the hurting one unburden themselves and work through the situation at their own pace. The Stephen Minister can provide emotional support and spiritual care: “Christ Caring for People Through People.”

The Need

Stephen Ministry was founded in 1975 when a newly ordained Lutheran minister realized there were so many hurting people that he couldn’t possibly provide the pastoral care they needed.  His solution was to train hand-picked members of the congregation to assist him in this ministry. The need continues today. There are many hurts that radiate from one or more of a myriad of life’s circumstances. 

Hope’s commissioned Stephen Ministers are available to meet on a weekly basis at an agreed upon time and place.  Meetings always include lots of listening and caring and often include prayer, a devotional or maybe Bible reading.  Each situation is unique.  The Stephen Minister provides the care, Christ provides the cure. 

Who may receive care from a Stephen Minister?

Anyone may receive care from a Stephen Minister.  Just call the church office (352) 750-2321.

Also, if you feel called to this ministry, contact the church office and ask to speak to a Stephen Leader for further information.

What's the time commitment?

Care receivers typically meet with their Stephen Minister weekly, one-to-one, for approximately an hour for a few months or as long as the need exists.


In addition to the meeting with their care receiver, Stephen Ministers complete 50 hours of initial training (conducted each fall) and attend supervision and continuing education from 9:00 to 11:00 each second and fourth Friday.

Contact Information:

Call the church office (352)750-2321


Kathy Smith (352)399-5103