Stephen Ministry

Image by Priscilla Du Preez

What is Stephen Ministry?

Everyone needs someone to care, listen, and share God's love from time to time, to get through a difficult period of confusion, stress, or loneliness. 

Stephen Ministry provides distinctively Christian care one-on-one to those who are experiencing all kinds of life needs or circumstances both in our congregation and our community.

Stephen Ministers are well-trained, caring lay ministers who have responded to Christ's call to "carry each other's burdens and in this way fulfill the law of Christ" found in Galatians 6:2.

I think I need a Stephen Minister

You should consider a Stephen Minister if:

Life is more than you can handle alone right now.


Your health, your attitude, or your relationships are suffering.


You are adjusting to some new life situations such as a new job, recent move, change in marital status, or a health issue.  

What do I do if I need a Stephen Minister or know someone who does?

Contact Pastor Tim Broyles, our referrals coordinator here.

Your inquiry will be kept confidential.

He will meet with you, explain how Stephen Ministry works and arrange for a Stephen Minister to call and set up a first appointment.

You will meet on a regular basis with your Stephen Minister at a time and location that is convenient for both of you.

What is a Stephen Minister?

Stephen Ministers are committed Christian men and women who:

Express God's care through their lives and others.

Receive 50 hours of initial training in fundamental caring ministry skills and concepts.

Are commissioned as Stephen Ministers after completing their initial training.

Meet with their assigned care receiver (on average 1 hour a week) regularly to offer spiritual support and care.

Participate in regular support and supervision under the guidance of trained Stephen Leaders.

Are committed to preserving the confidential nature of the caring relationship.

Serve a minimum of two years.

Receive continuing education and skill building throughout their years of service.

Stephen Ministers are CARE-givers, God is the CURE-giver.

A Stephen Minister is NOT:

A counselor or therapist.

A problem solver.

An occasional visitor.

What is a Stephen Leader?

Stephen Leaders are congregation members or pastors who oversee and direct the Stephen Ministry for our church. 

They keep the Stephen Ministry running efficiently by recruiting, selecting, training, and supervising the Stephen Ministers.

Being a Stephen Leader requires more administrative skills and gifts. Training is provided at a

one-week leaders training course led by the faculty of the Stephen Ministries organization.

How do I become a Stephen Minister?

Training usually takes place in a classroom setting and generally lasts 3.5 months; 50 hours total.

You are asked to submit an application followed by an interview. This process ensures that it is a good fit for the applicant and the commitment required is fully explained.

Who are our Stephen Ministers & Leaders?

Tim Broyles
Stephen Leader

Nothing inspires and blesses me more than seeing God's Holy Spirit working in peoples lives. This is one of the reasons why I am in pastoral ministry, a Stephen Minister and now a Stephen Leader. As such I have been in vocational ministry for over half my life; four years of that on the team at DUMC. I am married to Sharon and have one son. 

A passage that motivates my life and perspective is Philippians 4:4-9, with emphasis on verses 6-7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

David Fensch
Stephen Leader

1 Peter 4:10, "As each one has received a gift minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." This is what drove me to become a Stephen Minister. I truly believe we are all here to help and serve one another as our Lord leads us.

I have lived and worked in this area most of my life except for fie years in Texas. While in Texas, I became a Stephen Minister. God used this time as training ground for I was called to serve in a variety of ministries including prison ministry. We have since moved back to be closer with our children and became members of DUMC in spring of 2019.

Pete Hoekstra
Stephen Leader

I have been with my wife, Lisa, for over 42 years as of 2019! We have had at least 23 addresses across 7 different states. One son, two daughters, four beautiful grandchildren with more anticipated. All of whom make us so proud. I am an engineer by training and trade.

Recently, we both received an incredible portion of God's love and care through small groups and many Christian friends at DUMC. We know we are called to walk alongside those who need care as Stephen Ministers.

Mims White
Stephen Leader

I became a Stephen Minister in 2011. I had finally found my purpose in life. My husband, Paul, and I are very active with DUMC and with out family. We currently have 14 grandchildren and we feel very blessed.

I've worked at Sheridan Books in Human Resources for 38 years. I have a gentle caring personality with a big smile. I love gardening and traveling. I was drawn to Stephen Ministry when I realized my purpose was to serve others with my talents. Love God, Love People.

Eileen Helm
Stephen Minister

In my own life, I have been blessed to have certain individuals come alongside me and walk through some of the difficult periods life sometimes presents. Their support and comfort have helped me beyond words. I love caring for others and doing what I can to be supportive of their needs. As a Stephen Minister, I am privileged to look ahead at the possibility of walking alongside someone else who may need that kind of support and loving care. 

Lisa Hoekstra
Stephen Minister

My husband, Pete, and I moved to the area in 2012. We have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. I felt the calling to be a Stephen Minister for several years before completing the training. I was pleasantly surprised when Pete wanted to join the training also. After having several health-related issues where I needed care, I want to give back to others. Our congregation is full of caring and compassionate people and being a Stephen Minister helps to develop these skills so I am able to use our life experiences to help others.

Gretchen Howe
Stephen Minister

I want to be so full of Christ that if a mosquito bites me it flies away singing "There's power in the Blood"!

I have been married to my husband, Darin, for 22 years, we have six children and six grandchildren. I am a two-time cancer survivor and love participating in Relay for Life. I love to sing, tell jokes and travel anywhere warm. We came to DUMC in 2016, and since I have felt like every sermon is specifically for me. There's something profound about knowing you "belong". Coming to DUMC has been more than just good for our family it has been life changing. Stephen Ministry called me immediately, it fills a place in my heart that yearns to help others heal. I am so grateful to God for giving me the opportunity, and I feel immeasurably blessed to be part of the team.

Neal Huffman
Stephen Minister

I believe that God has called each one of us to become an active listener, be compassionate to others, and be a prayerful brother or sister in Christ. As a Stephen Minister, I want to be available to anyone that needs someone they can reach out to and share their burdens, worries, or concerns with. In essence, I feel I can share in their struggles, pray earnestly, and listen with a caring heart. I've been there and I know that having someone walking with you, can help lift you up and overcome any obstacles in life. I am married to my lovely wife, Gretchen, and we have three amazing kids. 

Jesus said, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Barb Locks
Stephen Minister

My husband, Steve, and I have three children. I retired as a 6th grade teacher and now I am a guest teacher in area schools. I like to smile and I try to see the positive in things. Recognizing blessings is important: I don't "have" to do dishes; I "get" to do dishes. It's a matter of perspective. 

Stephen Ministry fills my desire to serve God in a new way. I want to experience God through caring for others. I knew the training would be valuable in my personal and spiritual life.

Phil Rider
Stephen Minister

I've been blessed to be married to my wife, Lin, since 1995. One year after our marriage, we moved to the Dexter area and immediately started attending DUMC. What an amazing decision this proved to be. Over this time we have raised three wonderful kids. 

I recently became a Stephen Minister after being involved for many years in our church youth and scout programs. I have felt called to walk alongside men who are facing difficulties in their life. After this painful past year it would be my honor to shine the love of Jesus Christ upon a Care Receiver.

Brett Talbott
Stephen Minister

My wife, Mary, and I were married in 1987 and joined DUMC a couple years later, feeling at home the moment we were welcomed by Tom Snyder. My life's path led me to Alcoholics Anonymous, and I saw the power of non-judgmental listening, and healing hat came into peoples lives from having someone share hope and confidence for the future. Steve, asked me to consider becoming a Stephen Minister and I am eager to walk with those of you who, like me, like us all, who face challenges that have knocked you for a loop.

Mary Talbott
Stephen Minister

Brett and I were married in 1987 and were blessed with three wonderful children, and now three grandchildren, who mean the world to me. I love to read, write, grades, and walk, most in the company of our little six-pond Morkie, Gus. In 2020, after a long career in corporate medical sales, we decided that I would retire early, and we moved to beautiful Onekama on the westside of Michigan. We have been going to DUMC since around 1990. Those thirty-plus years have been filled with all the tragedies and transitions that like hands out, and through it all, DUMC friends have been there for me. I'm so grateful for the love and faithfulness that God has shown me, both directly and through others.


Stephen Ministry gives me the opportunity to give back, to support those of you who find yourselves facing the unexpected or difficult, and to bring God's love and hope into life's challenges.