Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Hospitals and Funerals

  • Jim Townsley
  • Dec 1, 2015
Visiting the sick and conducting funerals might seem a distraction to starting a church. However, these activities provide an important opportunity to show mercy, get out the gospel, and provide new contacts that can be followed up. People who are hurting are often more open to the gospel and usually they appreciate the spiritual support of a preacher. These difficult times can soften the heart of the most difficult sinner. Showing true compassion toward people at a time of trial can open the door to the gospel.
Visiting patients in the hospital provides a captive audience and you know they will be there. The sick or injured have more time to listen to a gospel presentation and to read Bible materials. When making these visits take with you a gospel tract, a daily devotional, or a book for them to read. Pray for them prior to the visit and ask God to open their heart to the gospel message.  When starting a church there will be few opportunities to make these kind of visits so look for opportunities to visit the ill friends and relatives of your members. 
If someone is in critical condition you may want to go immediately to the hospital to be a comfort to the family. Occasionally people may want you to remain with them during a critical time. It is important to be sensitive to each situation and the needs of the family to know when and how to be a help. More and more surgeries are being  done as outpatient services and it is difficult to visit them in these circumstances. One way to deal with this change in protocol is to visit them before or after the surgery or in their home while they are recuperating. Whenever you do visit make it a point to pray with the patient and offer to read some Scripture. 
Another method to obtain additional opportunities is to contact the local funeral home and make your services available free of charge. There will be some funerals where the deceased has no church affiliation and yet the family would like to have a local minster perform the service. In addition, sometimes the family of the deceased or the funeral home will still provide an honorarium for your services even when you volunteered to do it free of charge. If you are new to conducting a funeral it would be wise to contact a pastor familiar with the culture of your area and solicit ideas on how to best handle a funeral service. Regions of the country do have different practices, so it is important to know the culture of your area.
Visiting a nursing home is another opportunity to make new contacts. Usually you have to sign in and when you do always use your title of "Pastor." Family members may recognize you have been visiting and appreciate your concern. It could lead a family to your church. If you have children it can also be a great blessing to the elderly to see the children and  perhaps hear them sing. The elderly love children and seldom have the opportunity to see or hear them. Follow the guidelines of the nursing home. They may seem restrictive but remember you are their guest and they can ask you not to return. 
Sickness and death changes the behavior of people and every opportunity should be sought to take advantage of these opportunities. In the event your community faces a serious event or even a disaster, be prepared to be a part of the healing process and have a visible presence so that people can see your concern for their community. No one likes to deal with tragedy, but tragedy can provide opportunities for a new church to reach into their community.