by Karen Paulson

   We will be learning more about the Stephen Ministry in days ahead; we have awesome news to share with you! Our intent is to promote awareness and understanding through many venues and we started when Judy Hams shared her story of our experiences in CA. We’d like all of our faith family to eventually be comfortable to summarize Stephen Ministries to others in our congregation, community, and acquaintances.

We would like to remind you who the Stephen Ministers are that have completed training and are working with caregivers. So far Pastor Jean commissioned and placed caregivers with five people at United Lutheran Church: Jessica Poyzer, Elaine Nelson, Nancy Hahn, Judy Hams and Karen Paulson. Ardis Stark and Sandy Koentop from Messiah Stephen Ministries in Hoffman are the Leadership Trainers who conducted our training.

Pastor Jean graciously offered to train more members of our church and members of Grace Free Church across the street to the East of us. We are very excited to have 2 men in that group! We need more good men- hint, hint! Grace Free has a leadership male trainee going to the next Conference of Stephen Ministries in the St. Louis, Missouri location.  That person will then be qualified to teach their member classes as Grace congregation will do their own program on their own.  Judy and I were commissioned March 11 as Stephen Ministries Leadership.  We will help Pastor with leading trainings and other shared duties. We hope to relieve her of time consuming tasks but have high esteem for her leadership. We look forward to commissioning time for our church members doing training now.

Judy and I thank everyone in our congregation for the privilege of going to Anaheim for Stephen Leadership Conference. It was a privilege for several reasons: We have confidence in the potential of Stephen Ministry to augment our church goals to provide caring alongside people struggling in our congregation and community.


  1. We have confidence in Stephen Ministry because it has been in use for 43 years and never lost its focus for empowering lay people in almost 13,000 churches in every US state and 29 other countries. Stephen Ministry has trained 74,000 pastors and lay leaders and equipped 600,000 Stephen Ministers to help millions of people.
  2. We have confidence in the 245 men and women who trained with Judy and I in Anaheim. They are from 29 denominations and 151 congregations in the Unites States, Canada and China.
  3. We have confidence in the mission of the Stephen Ministry taken from 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 the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ”.

  1. We have strong confidence in the leadership. All staff presenters modeled the mission. The founder of Stephen Ministries was present at our training. I understand this is not true for every Leadership Training.

Dr. Kenneth Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist saw the needs for care that exceeded what he alone as a pastor could provide. The first ministers were nine members trained by Dr. Haugk to work with him in providing caring ministry. The ministry was so successful that some of the Stephen Ministers suggest that this be shared with other congregations. With their encouragement and suggestion he founded Stephen Ministries St. Louis to equip congregations to train laity for ministry. Dr. Haugk told us the history of Stephen Ministry from its 1975 beginning in a spare room in the home he shared with his wife Joan. Several books are written by Dr. Haugk to augment the ministry, the latest of which is “Cancer-Now What? Dr. Haugk drew from his learning walking alongside his wife, Joan, during her battle with cancer. He built the book on the foundation of a 16 person research team that gathered knowledge and real-life experiences from more than 3,500 people and medical professionals. His humble demeanor credits God for what has come of this ministry endeavor.