stephen ministers care

Stephen Ministry was founded in 1975 and has over 13,000 congregations enrolled.  Over 60,000 people have been trained as Stephen Ministers with 50 hours of training and monthly supervision meetings to grow in their ministry of care. 

Stephen Ministers provide confidential Christ-care to help you as you deal with transitions and difficult issues in life.  These transitions and issues might include: going through a divorce, grief, medical issues, monetary problems, job loss, relocating to a new area and leaving friends/family behind, or struggling with what to do next in life.  

A Stephen Minister meets with you at your discretion to offer emotional and spiritual help for as long as you need it.  

To learn more about Stephen Ministry, watch these videos at the Stephen Ministry website.  

If you think you could benefit from Stephen Ministry, please reach out to Pastor Jackie who helps coordinate their ministry.  You can also call the church office at 972-618-2233. 

Meet our stephen ministry team

Stephen ministers are trained lay people who have completed more than 50 hours of course work dedicated to providing distinctively Christian one-to-one care to others. 

These members of our congregation are highly trained to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support.

  • Pastor Jackie Linden-Schade

    I was raised in a suburb outside of New York City and spent my adult life in Illinois and Nebraska.  Ordained in 1985, most of my calls were to rural or small-town churches.  In those congregations, relationships were extremely important.  When people in the community experienced difficult times, friends showed up for each other.


    Called to Preston Meadow in 2011, I was thrilled to learn I’d work with the Stephen Ministry Team.  Our entire group cares deeply about walking with folks going through tough times.


    What impresses me most is the comprehensive training all have received through Stephen Ministries, St. Louis.   I also value the instruction which qualified me to become a commissioned Stephen Leader in 2012.  The program is great, and our Stephen Ministers are outstanding. 

  • mark bernthal

    Raised in Detroit, MI, with stops in Tennessee and Colorado, I joined PMLC in 1996.  I’ve enjoyed teaching Pre-K Kids Connect; Men’s Bible Study; church council; two Pastoral Call Committees; and the Vision Committee.  Commissioned a Stephen Minister in 2017, Stephen Leader instruction followed later that year.  Outside PMLC, I lead meetings with grieving preschoolers through Journey of Hope. 


    The guiding premise of Stephen Ministry is that “We provide the care.  God provides the cure.”   I pray all PMLC members will realize the available loving support this program provides.  Those struggling through divorce, job loss, grief, serious illness, or any trying circumstance need only ask for our help.  Care receivers can be assured their Stephen Minister is a strictly confidential, non-judgmental, empathetic listener with whom they can share all concerns.


    The 23rd Psalm promises that when we stumble through any valley of dire challenges, God always walks beside us, providing support with his rod and staff.   Trained Stephen Ministers sincerely desire to be an extension of Christ’s comforting rod and staff.

  • paul crownhart

    I am a lifelong Lutheran, growing up in Faith Lutheran Church - Grantsburg, WI.   After college, I moved to Bloomington, IL and joined St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1974.  I met and married my wife Fran there!  We worshipped and served in a variety of ways both within the congregation and larger community.  

    I have always had a particular passion for caring ministries, especially in one-on-one settings.  Several years ago, I became deeply involved in St. John’s BeFriender Ministry program.  It’s very similar to Stephen Ministry.   For more than 20 years, I actively ministered in a men’s prison through the Walk to Emmaus program.

    Shortly after Fran and I moved to North Texas, we joined PMLC in February 2020.  I immediately became interested in Stephen Ministry, leading to discussions with Pastor Jackie and Joe McGrane.  The Covid-19 pandemic delayed opportunities for training, but in May 2021, I completed the 4-month course – the first ever conducted entirely via Zoom!  I am excited to be a part of this wonderful congregation and look forward to opportunities to serve.

  • lynne goetz

    I’m originally from the St. Louis area and was raised in a different faith.  My husband, Bob, and I found a new home as Lutherans when we joined PMLC in 2008.  I was blessed to help with Mosaic and manage our former Fair Trade Coffee ministry.   I serve as an usher and am active in Grow Groups and Ladies In Faith Together (LIFT).  I’m a proud grandmother of five terrific grandkids!  


    I have followed a winding road to become a Stephen Minister, with a divorce in my 20's, a painful job loss, and the death of my precious 16-year-old daughter.  People live complicated lives and behind so many smiles are God's children living in pain.  I was commissioned as a Stephen Minister in 2019 and completed Leader training in 2021.  When blessed to be walking with someone who requests a Stephen Minister, I use my experiences to care for them while God brings them His peace and healing just as He brought it to me.

  • judy haven

    In June 1984, my family moved to Plano to initiate the development of Preston Meadow Lutheran Church.  What had its beginnings in our living room eventually progressed to become today’s vibrant congregation, “Connecting people to share in Christ’s mission of grace for God’s world.”  During the first 7 years, I was involved in almost all aspects of our ministry – teaching Sunday School; organizing events to connect youth & adults; creating worship bulletins; setting up and breaking down worship areas as we first gathered in schools; collaborating with architects and our volunteer “decorators” to identify required spaces and their appearance.  It was a busy time, but extremely fulfilling. 

    Our family moved to Oregon in 1991, but we stayed connected with many of our PMLC friends.  I returned to Preston Meadow in March 2010 following a move to Frisco.  Upon retirement in 2013, my involvement at PMLC has included facilitation of the women’s group, serving on the Pastoral Transition Committee, Preschool Board, and Altar Care coordination.  

    I’ve been a Stephen Minister since 2014.  It’s lifted my life-long desire to care for others to a higher level of spiritual growth.  We provide a listening ear and assure Care Receivers that God is walking with them through whatever distressing situation they face.  He continually reveals his love and guidance to both those providing and receiving care.  Any blessings given my Care Receivers are exponentially returned to me as these unique relationships develop.  I am so grateful that PMLC is a congregation that supports and lifts the blessings of having a Stephen Ministry program.  

  • shara margheim

    I was born and raised in Western KS and lived with my family in Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas.  I’ve attended PMLC since moving to Texas from Lawrence, KS in October 2009.  I joined in 2010.


    After my husband died in 2003, I felt lost, with no purpose.  Through God, an assigned Stephen Minister helped ease my grief.  With additional caring support from family, my church and personal friends, God revealed a new purpose.  We belong to him and desire to do his will.  So, I wanted to reach out to others in their time of need as a Stephen Minister.  God has always been my strength through joy and sadness, continually blessing my life in so many ways.   I was first commissioned as a Stephen Minister in 2007 at Trinity Lutheran - Lawrence, KS, and re-commissioned at PMLC in April 2012.  I feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful care-giving program.

  • joe mcgrane

    I became a member of PMLC in 2008, joining my wife Carol, already a long-time member.  I have been active in the OWLS, Men’s Bible Study & our Sunday usher team.  In 2011, I retired from 30 years in commercial construction, the final 20 years of which I supervised, planned, and taught employees to work in a safe manner.

    I have always liked helping others and the idea of being a Stephen Minister appealed to me.  I was commissioned in 2017 and completed Stephen Leader training a few months later.  I continually look forward to helping people through life’s crises with God leading the way.

  • kathy menze

    I became a Stephen Minister in 1986, amazed to discover how much of my training applied to everyday life.  It’s fulfilling to have Christ’s guidance while providing comfort and a listening ear to Care Receivers, assuring them of complete confidentiality.

    I am blessed to be among our caring Stephen Ministers since joining PMLC in 2004.  I completed Stephen Leader training in 2017.   Additionally, I’ve sung in the choir, baked Communion Bread, ushered and greeted members and guests, and enjoyed the LIFT Bible Study.  Assisting at the Willow Creek Fellowship Church Food Bank has also been rewarding.

    Outside activities include over 35 years mentoring and leading intellectually disabled children and adults.  I enjoy the Echo Book Club and recently joined North Dallas Newcomers Club.

  • jennifer miller

    A lifelong Lutheran and former Wisconsinite, I moved to Dallas in 1988.   My husband Steve and our two boys were members at Christ the Servant – Allen for 25 years, and I was commissioned as a Stephen Minister there in 2004.  Steve and I joined PMLC in 2017.  I learned how this ministry could help when I was in the care of a Stephen Minister years ago.  Later, I was invited to take the training.  The knowledge gained from the initial training, the continuing education, and the support of other members of the Stephen Ministry team has been helpful to draw on, not only when I am caring for someone, but in my own life-situations as well.  

  • heather powell

    My family, husband Wayne, Samantha and Brad, have attended Preston Meadow since 2000 and became members in 2003.  What brought us to this church is primarily the reason I became a Stephen Minister – the desire to serve, love and care deeply, as many of the members of this congregation all do today.


    The first day I walked through the door, former member, Betty Darrow, pulled me aside and said, "Come with me.  We have some things for you to get involved in."  Since then, I've always looked for opportunities to connect and build relationships with as many church members as possible.


    In 2007, I heard the call to consider Stephen Ministry.  It was one that I’d brushed aside for a while.  God had also shown me signs of a desire to connect more deeply with people.  One Sunday, during worship, Kathy Miller, a former Stephen Leader, spoke about the program.   I decided to pick up a brochure afterward.  I prayed about the opportunity and felt God’s call to do this.  I quickly became enveloped in the Stephen Ministry course study, excited to begin sharing this gift with others.  I look forward to caring for any one of you, your immediate family, or friends through any difficult times of change in your life!  

  • debbie shock

    I lived my entire life in Pennsylvania, until I retired and moved to North Texas in 2016.  I wanted to be closer to my three grandchildren.  Best thing I ever did! 

    As an active lifelong Lutheran, it was important for me to find a church when I arrived.  I landed at PMLC and quickly became involved in various groups and activities.   I’ve been a Stephen Minister since 1985, with a refresher course in 2012, so I wanted to continue that calling here.

    At PMLC, we say we are blessed to be a blessing.  The reverse is also true.  It has been my experience that when we bless someone, we are blessed in return.   Galatians 6:2 calls us to share one another’s burdens, making the load lighter.  Stephen Ministers are trained that we don’t have the answers to life’s difficult circumstances.  But I feel privileged and blessed to walk alongside someone during challenging times – as God reveals those answers to them.