Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Pastoral Visits

  • Jim Townsley
  • Dec 3, 2014
There are certain times that people expect the pastor to visit them such as when they are in the hospital. The purpose of this visit is primarily to let them know you love and care for them. Sometimes members may be  fearful that their medical condition is life threatening. You, the pastor, can bring comfort to them in this time of crisis. Though it may be difficult to know what to say or what to do, your mere presence can be a calming influencing upon them.
At a time when Christians face weakness often they are more attentive to spiritual things. God can work in their lives specifically through this time of trial. Some of the most spiritual people I have known are going through some crisis as they face a serious medical issue. God has gotten their attention and they are responding by listening and heeding to spiritual influences. This provides an opportunity for them to get on track with their spiritual life and you can help them do so.         
Reading Scripture and offering prayer are always appropriate during this kind of visit. In some situations people may have a stellar testimony and you may find that they are an encouragement to you. I can remember several instances visiting a godly saint who was nearing death where their faith was so exuberant that I felt unworthy of my calling.
Another instance for a pastor to minister to his flock is when a loved one passes away. These visits are some of the most difficult a pastor will make. Some families are strong during this time and greatly appreciate the preacher's presence while at other times family members are out of control and beside themselves. Your presence can give stability to the situation. Calling or visiting the deceased's next of kin should be done as soon as possible. In addition, being present at the viewing (wake) is important. Coming early when the family first comes to see the deceased just prior to the viewing should be considered in some situations. Funeral directors have indicated to me that the first time the family sees their deceased family member in the casket is the most difficult time for them. Perhaps ending the viewing with a devotional and prayer can help the family during this time of bereavement.  
Another instance where a pastor's presence is needed is during a family crisis. A teen may have run away, a marriage may be torn apart, or a financial crisis may arise. Visiting an elderly person in a nursing home, a person in prison, attending a graduation, or a ball game can let people know that you are interested in their lives. There are many instances where a pastor is needed to minster to his flock and every preacher should recognize the importance of these visits.
Pastoral visits are different than soul-winning visits, but many times in the process of making these pastoral visits soul-winning opportunities arise. In fact, some of the best opportunities to win souls comes through the connection of your church members as you routinely care for them in their time of need. In reality, many soul-winning opportunities arise during the normal course of serving your church family. Preachers must remember the importance of shepherding their flock as one who watches for their souls. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you." - - Heb 13:17