We are blessed as a church family at RB Community to have Dr.’s Bob and Jeanette Lauer with us. In addition to teaching a popular bible study on Sunday mornings, they will conduct a Stephen Ministry Training Course starting in January 2020. I trust as you read this article you will prayerfully consider taking this course offered Saturdays from 10 to 11:30 am at RB Community Church.
Stephen Ministry is a one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations throughout the U.S. The training is structured to teach you to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.
Here are comments from two Stephen Ministers who have taken the Lauer’s Stephen Ministry training:
Jim D’Aoust: “I was recently reminded of the Stephen Ministry training that I received from Bob and Jeanette Lauer in 2011 when I heard a story from the book entitled: ‘The View from the Hearse’ by Joe Bayly where he talks about a man’s grief: ‘I was sitting –torn by grief – and somebody came and talked to me of God’s dealings and why it happened, of hope beyond the grave. He talked constantly, and he said things that I knew were true, but I was unmoved – except to wish that he would go away. He finally did.’ ‘But another person came and sat beside me. He didn’t talk. He didn’t ask me leading questions. He just sat beside me for an hour or so –and listened when I said something: answered briefly, prayed simply, and left. I was moved. I was comforted, and I hated to see him go. What kindness.’ “As a candidate Stephen Minister, the Lauers taught me how to be that second person.”
Pam Coons: ‘The Lauers have a warmth and kindness about them that is more than casual. They always have time to talk and never trivialize the subject that is brought to them. They have patience to listen, and compassion to understand. They are both remarkable in their love for Christ. And most of all they walk the walk.
I took their Stephen Minister training, and read their book on forgiveness. I listen to Dr. Bob every Sunday for Bible study, but more importantly for inspiration and guidance. Clearly they are professionals, intelligent, and knowledgeable about psychology and religious studies. They are devoted to one another. They are very, very special people.”
The Lauer’s got involved with Stephen Ministry 25 years ago at La Jolla Presbyterian church. A member of that church encouraged them by saying, “You should look into Stephen Ministry, it is really really good.” They looked into it and agreed -- it is really really good. They took the training and began teaching the training soon after that.
I asked the Lauer’s for a favorite story of the blessing of Stephen Ministry. They said the letters they receive, sometimes years after the training, from Stephen Ministers. The letters would tell of various people who had been helped and a common comment from those receiving care was:
“I appreciate your care during this time of my life, you being with me was just like God being with me.”
Another of the blessings people have shared after taking the training was how much the training meant in terms of their marriage relationships, family relationships, work relationships. The course is very spiritually sound, very Biblically sound and very psychologically sound. That makes sense as Dr. Kenneth C. Haugk who started the ministry is both an ordained minister and a clinical psychologist.
I asked Dr. Lauer what he would like to say regarding the upcoming training in January 2020, and he said,
“The thing I would emphasize, is that when you enroll in the training there is no expectation that you will decide to function as a Stephen Minister. You will always cherish the training that you got - will value for the rest of their lives.”
Robert H. Lauer, Ph.D., and Jeanette C. Lauer, Ph.D., have co-authored nineteen books and numerous articles on a variety of topics. Their articles have appeared in such popular publications as Psychology Today, Self, Family Weekly, Ladies Home Journal, Readers Digest, Modern Bride, and Marriage Partnership.