Stephen Ministry began in 1975 when the Rev. Kenneth C. Haugk, PhD, a pastor and clinical psychologist, trained nine laypersons at his congregation in St. Louis to be Stephen Ministers. They assisted him in providing distinctively Christian care to members of the congregation and community. These trained caregivers were so enthused about their ministry, they encouraged Dr. Haugk to offer Stephen Ministry to more congregations. Over the next few years, Dr. Haugk traveled to congregations and trained Stephen Ministers. This quickly proved to be inefficient, since he could visit only a limited number of congregations. These congregations also were dependent on him to train additional caregivers. There also was little organizational structure to supervise Stephen Ministers after they were trained. So in 1978 Dr. Haugk held the first Stephen Series Leader's Training Course and trained the first Stephen Leaders - representatives of various churches who returned home to train and supervise their congregation's Stephen Ministers. Since that time Stephen Ministers St. Louis has specialized in "equipping the equippers" through the Stephen Series ministry system.
The following statics show the scope of the ministry of Stephen Ministries St. Louis.
- More than 7,000 congregations are enrolled in the Stephen Series
- Stephen Ministries St. Louis serves congregations from more than 90 denominations.
- More than 30,000 Stephen Leaders have been trained at Stephen Series Leader's Training Courses.
- More than 200,000 Stephen Ministers have been trained in congregations.
- Stephen Ministers have cared for at least a half million care receivers.