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BeFrienders Ministry

Someone who cares about you.

At times, life is a difficult journey for just about every person. Many need, now and then, a caring companion who will listen, empathize, and be a living witness of a caring community.

  • Are you or someone you know struggling with life’s challenges?
  • Would you or someone you know like someone to talk to?
  • BeFriender Ministry is a parish resource ready for just such a need.
  • A BeFriender Minister is a volunteer who enjoys one-to-one (person-to-person) caring ministry.

At Bethel Lutheran Church, specific training is required for BeFriender Ministry. It includes topics such as Grief and Loss; Spirituality; Confidentiality; and Communication.

BeFriender ministers are trained in listening and supportive skills.

Since the early 1980s, BeFrienders have been providing skilled pastoral care in churches throughout the nation.

This is a national ecumenical ministry with its main office in Minnesota.

The BeFriender Ministry has been a strong part of Bethel Lutheran Church for over 2 years. During this time many parishioners have used this parish resource in support of their individual situations. Many Bethel members have trained and become BeFrienders.


Frequently Asked Questions

BeFriender Ministry is a lay pastoral care program. Trained lay persons enter into caring relationships with those in need of pastoral care, providing emotional and spiritual support.

BeFrienders provide a nonjudgmental listening presence to those they visit.

BeFrienders are trained to provide a listening presence to others, not to be experts in whatever situation they might encounter. BeFrienders accept people as they are without telling them how they should be, listen with compassion without giving advice, and allow others to make their own decisions without trying to decide for them.

Anyone experiencing grief, loss, transition or other concerns due to:

  • A single parent struggling with raising children
  • Job loss/career change
  • Divorce or separation
  • Relocation
  • Addiction
  • Buying/losing a home
  • Cancer or chronic illness
  • Depression
  • Financial concerns
  • Parenting challenges
  • Abuse
  • Death of a loved one
  • Getting married
  • Stress of care giving
  • Support from the faith community
  • Confidentiality
  • Trained, compassionate listener
  • Insight into his or her own values, strength, wisdom
  • Empowerment to make choices, move forward

BeFrienders are not counselors and do not give advice. They listen and acknowledge.

BeFrienders listen; they do not solve problems or impose solutions. BeFrienders also discern with those they visit whether referrals to professionals or other agencies are appropriate.

BeFriender candidate receives more than 20 hours of training and serves a short internship before becoming a BeFriender.

The BeFriender training addresses issues such as listening, grief and loss, spirituality, and confidentiality. Many of the skills learned are applicable to any relationship in a person’s life in addition to BeFriender relationships.

Being a friend does come naturally to many people. However, skills such as active listening and offering respectful, nonjudgmental responses can benefit from training. BeFriender Ministry training enhances gifts and qualities the person already has. And God always has more in store for us to learn!

Yes. BeFrienders meet regularly in supervised small groups for reflection on their ministry and continuing education.

Yes. BeFrienders learn to appreciate both the commonality and individuality among people. Respect for others is deepened, as is awareness that we are called to be fully present to each other, not only in this ministry but also in all parts of our lives. BeFrienders often gain a deeper understanding of unity in Christ by learning to more deeply value the experience and perspective of each person they encounter.

A BeFriender is someone who:

  • Listens with compassion

  • Accepts people as they are

  • Respects another's spiritual journey

  • Embodies the caring presence of God

Benefits to the person befriended:

  • Feeling supported

  • Feeling encouraged

  • Feeling valued

  • Know they are not alone

  • Listened to

  • Feeling of acceptance

  • Companionship

  • Being cared for

  • Feeling stronger

  • Sense of inner strength

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