Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place at Zion Lutheran Church using the Stephen Series system. Stephen Ministry caregivers are lay people within the congregation who have attended an approximately 50 hour workshop whichequips and empowers them to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting in some way. They visit their assigned care receiver once a week and listen to them, pray with them and provide nonjudgmental support for them. Many care receivers are people who arefacing a crisis in their life such as death of a significant other, divorce, changes in their lifestyle which promote stress or are aging and may be lonely. These care receivers do not have to be members of our church to reap the benefits of having a caregiver. To receive a care giver, a person who is hurting may fill out a form in the pew, contact any of the Stephen Ministers or Leaders or talk to Pastor. If someone is the congregation knows of someone in the congregation or outside and thinks they might benefit from having a caregiver, he/she can also follow this process. The referral coordinator will then call upon the potential care receiver to verify their acceptance and then be assigned a care giver. All information shared including the name of the care receiver is kept confidential. Stephen Ministers will all be identified by their name tags which are worn on Sunday to church. Stephen Ministers meet the 2nd Wednesday of every month for a continuing education session and to facilitate advice for other caregivers to be more effective. No names are shared or specifics of a situation which might identify the care receiver. Classes for learning to be a Stephen Minister meet from October through April once a week on a Monday. These classes are given in coordination with 6 other churches in the community also participating in the Stephen Ministry Series.