Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pastoral Visitation (Part II) - Scheduling the Meetings

(Post one is here.)

For the longest time, the greatest hinderance to making "elder visits" was finding a time to do it. My co-elder and I had the best of intentions, but we could only seem to muster a visit here and a visit there kind-of-thing.

At one of our FRPS meetings, a brother shared how his pastor organized these visits. It was quite simple - but revolutionary to me! We adapted his model to this:

1. We elders meet and plan a block of time where we will perform elder visits with members.
- we try to put this in a not-so-busy period (i.e. not during December and the Christmas rush!)
- and this "block of time" mentality means we know we will be out a lot of nights for several weeks, but not for an endless period of time... that really helps when you have small kids at home and it helps us to prepare for that time in prayer

2. We determine the specific nights or days (right down to the start and end times) of when we will be able to meet.

3. We either:
a) Carry around a sign-up sheet for members to sign up for one of these specific times, or
b) Have one of us call members and ask if they are available for any of these specific times.
- lately it has been the second option as we are trying to systematically get around to all of our members

4. We meet with the members!

The advantages to this type of organized visitation are many, some of which I have already listed. Other advantages include:

1. Your members know that you are "making the rounds" and that you will eventually get to them.

2. Members struggling with particular issues know they can request a meeting time and be offered a specific date and time.

3. You get to spend time with "non-issue people" - meaning those foundational folks that never squeak or swerve, are at every service, and would never think of adding to your duties by asking for a visit! Those folks still need close shepherding and this method makes a way for you to get with them in their homes one-on-one.

4. Your members see some of your shepherding and this can be very comforting to them, even if they are not the ones being visited this round.

There are more benefits, but I will leave off there.

Next time I will try to post on what we actually do in a visit.