Julie Miller | A Volunteer Spotlight
by: Claire Heath
Julie Miller was my first interviewee for this volunteer spotlight blog. I had set expectations that she’d answer the five questions I had prepared about her volunteer experience at Compass and we’d be done in no more than fifteen minutes.
An hour later, I walked away from Julie sad to be leaving my new friend and feeling thankful to be here at Compass. Why was this?
Julie walked up to me in the lobby of Compass on a Tuesday morning with a blue collared shirt. I asked her if the name embroidered on the front was where she worked and she said, “Oh no, this is a Stephen Minister shirt.”
I asked, “What is a Stephen Minister?”
The rest is history.
The first twenty-five minutes of our “interview” was what I had in mind; however, the latter half was a stranger listening to me talk about my life, asking me questions and giving me attention I didn’t know I needed.
For thirty minutes, Julie became my own Stephen Minister, whether she knew it or not.
What is Stephen Ministry? It’s our One-to-One care here at Compass. One-to-One care provides help, hope and healing for life’s challenges.
Julie’s journey to being involved in Stephen Ministry is one many of us could have. She began coming to Compass in 2013, went on the serve tour a month later and started volunteering in the nursery. She found so much joy knowing that she was serving families by allowing them an opportunity to attend the service that day - she still serves during the 12 o’clock service and all the toddlers love Ms. Julie!
She got involved in Stephen Ministry less than a year later when an information meeting was held. Julie wasn’t quite sure what it was, but truly felt God was speaking to her through the encouragement of others around her.
“I thought I was doing just fine but when others kept saying, ‘Julie this is THE perfect ministry for you’ I felt like I at least needed to learn what it was about,” explained Julie. In the beginning, she questioned if God really wanted her to volunteer with Stephen Ministry. As she went deeper into training, it made more sense.
In order to become a certified Stephen Minister, you are required to attend 50 hours of training. I asked her if she ever felt under-qualified to be a care provider. Julie said, “It’s not the amount of life experiences that you’ve already had that makes you a great Stephen Minister - it’s showing up, being quiet and listening. Listening to both what the other person and to what God is saying.”
Julie has been a care provider for multiple people, but only one at a time. The role of being a care provider to one person can last anywhere from several weeks to months to even years. Ginger Odle, another Stephen Minister, discusses the relationship between a care provider and care receiver beautifully in this video.
My favorite part about Julie is the pure passion she has for volunteers at Compass. It was clear she has a servant’s heart and loves to encourage others to get involved as well.
“As a Christian, it is such a privilege to go and volunteer in the church,” Julie says, “Why wouldn’t you volunteer? You never know if a first-time visitor bringing their child to the nursery is going to decide to follow Jesus that day or not.”
Julie’s heart is geared towards navigating others to God, whether that’s in the nursery, one-on-one with her care receiver or simply giving me some of her time to answer some interview questions. It’s just who Julie Miller is.
Information meetings for One-to-One care are happening soon.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Stephen Minister like Julie, visit us tonight in the Next Steps Room in Colleyville tonight, August 10. If you can’t make it to the meeting tonight, another is being held Sunday, August 27.
Thank you, Julie for sharing your story and being a passionate volunteer for both the nursery and the Stephen Ministry. We are so thankful for you.
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