If you have any additional questions not covered below, please contact the National Office.
In what setting would I find BeFriender Ministry?
BeFriender Ministry is transferable to many settings. BeFriender Ministry is found in churches, hospitals, senior living communities including all levels of care, or other organizations.
Which denominations have BeFriender Ministry programs?
BeFriender Ministry is ecumenical so all are welcome to participate. You will find BeFriender Ministry in a variety of denominations such as Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Evangelical Covenant, and non-denominational to name a few.
Can BeFriender Ministry be implemented in churches or organizations of any size?
Churches and organizations of any size can have BeFriender Ministry. Very small churches or organizations have an option to partner with other small local churches or organizations to form a shared program. Each church or organization in the shared program sends participants to the “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” Leadership workshop.
Who attends “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” workshop?
A team of 2-5 from your church or organization including at least one staff person such as (clergy, chaplain, deacon, parish nurse, director of pastoral care, pastoral minister, etc.) and one or more lay volunteers. This team will serve as program leaders for BeFriender Ministry in your church or organization. Your leadership team will then train BeFrienders in your setting.
Information about forming a leadership team can be found on Selecting your Leadership Team.
New program leaders for existing BeFriender Ministry programs also attend the workshop.
Where and when does training for BeFriender Ministry leaders take place?
The “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” workshop for leadership teams is offered virtually. You may participate from the comfort of your home or office.
Each person attending the “Foundations” workshop receives a comprehensive set of leadership materials. There is no enrollment or annual fee. Workshop fees include a full set of leader materials and shipping costs.
How much time do leaders need to invest to ensure a successful program?
Hours are manageable for staff and volunteers with busy schedules. A leadership team of 2-5 people carry out the program leader functions and divide responsibilities according to each person’s gifts and abilities.
While each setting will be somewhat different, an average of 20 hours per month is divided among the leadership team. This includes monthly BeFriender gatherings, as well as periodic one-to-one BeFriender support.
How are BeFrienders trained?
The National Office trains BeFriender Ministry Leadership teams. Members of the leadership team who have attended the “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” workshop return to their settings and train BeFrienders.
The leadership team assesses pastoral care needs and calls forth potential BeFriender candidates using the discernment process learned in the Foundations workshop.
BeFriender candidates are trained by your leadership team. After commissioning, BeFrienders gather once per month for continuing education, ongoing learning and spiritual growth.
Empowered to conduct training for BeFrienders, your leaders have the resources to train new BeFrienders as the need arises. This allows for a sustainable ministry in your setting.
Periodically the National Office offers training for new BeFriender candidates.
What is the time commitment for BeFrienders
BeFrienders participate in approximately 20 hours of initial training followed by an internship. After training, BeFrienders meet together for approximately 2 hrs each month. The leadership team determines an appropriate monthly commitment for ministry visits based on the needs of your program.
How are BeFrienders held accountable for their ministry on behalf of the church or organization?
BeFrienders receive training in preparation for their role. After training, BeFrienders meet together once per month with program leaders for ongoing learning and support for their ministry. BeFrienders are accountable to their program leaders and the staff program supervisor. Confidentiality is of utmost importance in BeFriender Ministry and is covered extensively in training. Each BeFriender is expected to honor confidentiality.
What is the cost of the program?
There are no enrollment or annual fees. Refer to Current Fees and Discounts.
Training materials and ministry resources are available from the BeFriender Ministry National Office.
Most other expenses are at the discretion of the leadership team; for example, costs for continuing education and for publicizing the ministry within your setting. As the program grows or when there is turnover within the leadership team, new program leaders will attend the “Foundations for BeFriender Ministry” workshop.