a brief history of Stephen Ministry
Stephen Ministry at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church is part of a larger nonprofit religious organization founded in 1975 by Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist. While serving as pastor of a St. Louis congregation, Dr. Haugk saw a need for care that exceeded what he alone could provide. The very first Stephen Ministers were nine congregation members trained to work with him in providing caring ministry. The ministry was so successful that the decision was made to offer the program to other congregations. Stephen Ministries St. Louis was founded to equip congregations to train laity for this ministry.
Since Stephen Ministries was founded in 1975, more than 13,000 congregations from many different denominations have enrolled in the Stephen Ministries program. More than 70,000 pastors and lay leaders from those congregations have been equipped to lead the programs at Leader’s Training Courses. More than 600,000 lay people have received Stephen Minister training and more than 1.5 million people have had a Stephen Minister to walk with them providing one-to-one Christian caring during a rough patch in their lives.
Orchard Park Presbyterian Church has been continuously enrolled as a Stephen Ministry Congregation since 1986. This makes us one of the longest serving continuous Stephen Ministry programs in the country. Since enrollment, we have sent 13 members for a week consisting of 50 hours of Stephen Leader training at Stephen Ministries regional training conferences. Those Stephen Leaders have trained 121 Stephen Ministers to provide confidential, high quality, one-to-one Christian care for hurting people in our congregation and community. However, we cannot tell you how many persons have had a Stephen Minister. Because we take confidentiality so seriously, all records regarding a person who is receiving care are destroyed once the relationship ends.