Similar to UniversalGiving, I try to be a revelatory as possible. I try to share my life so others can learn, as I am learning. Often when I share, I am in the midst of learning it, too!
So here is one group with whom I serve. It’s called Stephen Ministries. This ministry consists of dedicated people—pastors and laity—from a variety of denominational backgrounds. The goal is to help people who are struggling through a difficult time in life or are experiencing a life crisis. We ministers take one other person under our wings as a “care receiver,” meeting with them weekly. Essentially, they receive our care: Mostly we listen, encourage, and help them see a positive way.
What I like so much is that in this volunteer work, you also get continuous, every-other-week training. It’s a community and a community of learning. We’re all growing spiritually, with the goal of helping others grow, too.
This was part of our recent training, a wonderful exercise which I would like to share. We were asked to write out a blessing or prayer for someone we loved. I chose two people very dear to me, who have lost several dear friends over the past years. It’s hard to have this happen. Yet this remarkable couple demonstrates trust, gratitude and joy for the friendships they have, even in the midst of when so many are ascending.
Here is what I prayed and wrote for them. I hope it may help you, too.️
God is here, present, being with you and companioning you every moment. All your friends are eternally companioning with you, for God created them, and created you. God loves them, and loves you. That love is not past tense, but now. For as the Lord’s prayer says, “As in heaven, so on earth.” As in heaven, all are one with God, so on earth, all are one with God. That means you and all your friends are one with God, wherever you are. All is well, and we are all in the palm of his hand. Nothing is lost, but heaven gained.
Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk founded Stephen Ministries in the 1970s. With a background as a pastor and a clinical psychologist, Dr. Haugk began to train and assign nine lay caregivers to help care receivers. Today, there are more than 170 Christian denominations participating with Stephen Ministries, spanning across the U.S. and Canada and in 29 other countries.
The mission of the Stephen Ministries organization focuses on Ephesians 4:12-13:
\”To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.\”