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Surprising Perks of Pastoral Visitation

Ministry can be both very rewarding and very difficult. Sometimes this even happens within the same day—even within the same hour! Therefore, I am thankful for any opportunity to encourage pastors to be faithful and to encourage church members to be thankful for those who serve them in the ministry of the word. I am grateful that over the years this blog has served to do some of both.

I would like to provide pastors with what could be a surprising source of encouragement. If you want to be encouraged then you should prioritize regular pastoral visitation of your members.

Right away I may have lost half you with that suggestion, but stick with me.

You may be thinking, “What? More meetings, have you seen my calendar?” I know. You’re busy. And, you are tired; which is precisely why you need to hear me out and think this through.

Let me first tell you what I am describing. By pastoral visit I mean that you the pastor go to the homes of your church members. You set up a meeting and come to their house to talk about their Christian walk. You spend some time talking with them about a range of things to gauge how they are doing and how you can serve them. After a time you pray with them and leave. That’s it. Sounds pretty easy right?

It’s also tremendously encouraging. Here are some reasons.

1) These meetings are not because of issues, therefore, they tend to be encouraging. Just fact that we are not meeting because someone is upset or has done something changes the tone. Everyone tends to be at ease and freely able to focus on what is important.

2) They tend to cut through our polite superficiality. Over the years I’ve noticed that when I call the meeting people are much more willing to get down to business about how they are doing following Jesus. If we bump into each other in the hall it’s always polite, but if we are sitting at their kitchen table we are going to talk. I love hearing what our church members have to say.