Traditional: 8:30 & 11:00 RISE Worship: 9:45

Care & Support

“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

Many members of Buford First are deeply involved in caring for others both within the church and through community outreach programs. Buford First seeks to provide Christ-centered help through our Stephen Ministry, Church Care Groups, and other tools of compassion and assistance to anyone that is experiencing life’s difficult and trying times.

If you believe you have the spiritual gift of caring for others or if you are hurting and would like some guidance or help, you can find information below or contact our church office at 770-945-7438 or office@bufordfirstumc.org for more information. For pastoral care concerns, you can contact our Senior Pastor, Rev. Jim Buckman, at jim.buckman@ngumc.net.


Stephen Ministry

“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Stephen Ministry is a confidential, one-to-one, pastoral care ministry for people going through a crisis. We provide a trained layperson to walk beside you through grief, separation and divorce, job transition, childbirth, family issues, empty nest, retirement, and any number of challenges life throws at you. These trained laypersons are members of Buford First UMC and will listen, care, encourage, pray with and for you, and provide weekly support for you as long as your need persists.

Loving others in Jesus’ name is a challenge and an opportunity for all who are God’s children. Likewise, the joy of helping others is the privilege of all Christians, for the Holy Spirit has given gifts to each Christian to use in service to others and to build up the church (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). Stephen Ministry relies on the gifts the Holy Spirit has given to our lay members so that, as more people are equipped to care, Christ’s love for us is able to go out from us in ever greater and more effective ways.

Your BFUMC Stephen Ministers are:

  • Joe Best
  • Mike Casper
  • Priscilla Davis
  • Connie Hardee
  • Sue Jones
  • Beth Langston
  • John Marbury
  • Ann Reichert
  • Deena Rindfusz
  • Pat Stanley
  • Mark Redstrom
  • Ken Stewart
  • Celina Countess
  • Mary Von Strasser

If you have any questions, please contact one of our trained Stephen Leaders:

How can I request a Stephen Minister?

You can contact either Pastor Jim at jim.buckman@ngumc.net or one of our Referrals Coordinator (Ashley Crossett at thecrossetts@att.net or Suzanne Best at suzanne.ellisbest79@gmail.com) so that someone can explain the benefits of Stephen Ministry and offer guidance to you in your particular situation. To receive care, you’ll be asked to fill out a few short forms (you can download the forms HERE) upon which a Stephen Minister may then be assigned to you after review by either the Pastor or our Referrals Coordinator.

Stephen Ministry is a Christ-centered, one-to-one, listening ministry that offers those in need STRICT CONFIDENTIALITY. This confidentiality is at the heart of Stephen Ministry. Only the care receiver, the assigned Stephen Minister, Pastor Jim, and the Referrals Coordinator will know of the assignment and identity of the recipient.

How can I become a Stephen Minister?

If you are interested in being a Stephen Minister, please download and complete the confidential Stephen Minister Application and return it to one of our Stephen Leaders listed above. For more information on this ministry, please contact Ashley Crossett at thecrossetts@att.net or Suzanne Best at suzanne.ellisbest79@gmail.com) or check out some of the information in the documents available for download here:

1. Download >> Stephen Ministry – Media Fact Sheet
2. Download >> Stephen Ministers – The After People

Homebound Ministry:

Many homebound members have been lifelong members at Buford First and served our church faithfully for years. The Homebound Ministry provides an opportunity to minister to these, love them, and give back to them as they have given to others throughout their lives.

Members of our Homebound Visitation Team usually have one to three homebound members they visit or talk to over the phone at least once a month. During our visits, we can inquire if they need any small home maintenance repairs and if so we pass along this information to volunteers in our church. We also provide a copy of the Upper Room Daily Devotional Guide and, if they so desire, communion can be served by one of our Stephen Ministers.

The Homebound Visitation Team visits homebound members who have been referred to us. Referrals can be made to a church staff member, Pastor Jim, or by contacting our Homebound Ministry coordinator Sandra Burgess at 770-271-0136 or slburg48@gmail.com.

This ministry is a blessing to the homebound members, but God also continues to use these people to bless the volunteer caregivers.

Church Care Groups:

Our church membership is divided into small groups, arranged geographically, called “Care Groups”. Every member of Buford First is placed in a group.

Each group has a designated leader who will be in touch with the group members for various reasons. If a member of the group is ill, or has had a death in the family, the group is called so they may pray and perhaps arrange to provide food for the family. Births are also celebrated with meals.

Care Groups are designed so that, as BFUMC grows, we continue to care for one another in a personal and intentional way. As leaders contact members about prayer concerns within the church they are able to hear how each member of their group is doing and if the member has any needs the pastor should be made aware of.

For more information, please contact staff member Suzanne Clegg at AdultMinistry@bufordfirstumc.org if you have any questions about this important ministry. Together we can build a strong fellowship of caring!