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Stephen Ministry Workshop offered April 30

Want to learn to be an active listener and reach out to others in a distinctively Christian way? On Saturday, April 30, First United Methodist Church, Fargo, will host a Stephen Ministry Workshop from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and refreshments will be served. The half-day workshop consists of three sessions designed both to enhance participants' caregiving skills and to help congregations explore ways to expand their caring ministry.

"The needs for care in our congregation and community were much more than the pastors could handle alone," said Jim Nypen, one of three Stephen Leaders who oversee First United Methodist Churches Stephen Ministry. "So we enrolled in the Stephen Series and are now equipping our members to provide quality one-to-one Christian care."

The workshop is sponsored by Stephen Ministries, the St. Louis-based Christian training organization that has been providing congregations with training and resources for Christian caregiving for more than 30 years. The workshop will be led by Amity Haugk.

In the first session of the workshop, "Ministering to Those Experiencing Grief," participants learn about the grief process - the stages of grief and how to minister to people in each of those stages. They'll gain the skills and confidence to better care for individuals who are grieving.

"Stephen Ministry helps our members fulfill their Christian calling to love one another," said Pastor Rich Zeck. "Loving and caring for people isn't just the pastor's job - all Christians are called to minister to one another. We really look forward to this workshop as a way of helping others become aware of this calling."

The second session provides an introduction to the Stephen Series, a system of lay caring ministry through which congregation leaders can equip members to provide one-to-one Christian care to people in need. Since 1975, more than 10,000 congregations representing more than 150 denominations have implemented the Stephen Series.

"Being a Stephen Minister has been a blessing to me," said Stephen Minister Shirley Boom. "I have grown so much spiritually through the experience of seeing God work through me to touch the life of my care receiver."

The final session of the workshop explains "How to Care in a Distinctively Christian Way." Participants learn what makes Christian caregiving unique and how they can use resources like prayer, blessings, and Scripture in their caring for others.

The cost of the workshop is $15 per person or $50 for a group of four or more from the same congregation. For more information, or to register to attend the Stephen Ministry Workshop at First United Methodist Church, 906 1st Ave. S, Fargo, contact Stephen Ministries at 314-428-2600. You can also register online at

"I encourage people to attend," said Pastor Zeck. "Participants will go home with practical ministry skills and an excellent understanding of how they can organize the members of their congregation for caring ministry through the Stephen Series."