Visitation

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by GBC Pastor, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. GBC Pastor

    GBC Pastor
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    I am curious about an "idea" that was posed to me by one of my deacons. He believes it would be a good idea to give a weekly report (either verbally or in the church bulletin) of the visits I make during the week. Now I know this isn't coming from a desire to "check up on me" because he and I makes visits together quite a bit. He knows I'm out visiting. He believes that it would be good for the church to hear a report of it though. I'm not sure what it is, but something just doesn't feel right about it. It almost feels like I would be promoting myself (look what "I" did) or something like that. It has not been a practice of mine at my previous two churches, and it was never an issue. So I was curious whether or not any of you pastors practice any type of visitation reporting?
     
  2. Steven2006

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    I agree with your gut feeling, I think it would be an odd thing to do.
     
  3. Deacon

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    I had the opportunity to develop a personnel manual for a church about 10 years ago and during the process I happened across the original manual made sometime during the early 70's.

    What was most curious was the way the pastor's time was delegated, much of it towards visitation of members or potential members... literally hours each day were to be spent in visitation. I thought that quite odd.
    I personally don't think a pastor's time should necessarily be spent in visitiation.
    Once in a while is fine; during time of crisis or family need or even just socially as friends.

    Today an unannounced visitation is a pariah! ... something out of the norm, something to dread.
    And that's how it was frequently done back then.

    With the privacy issues surrounding counseling and medical care (as well as other areas), reporting who was seen and reciting the various incidents that occurred during weekly visitation would be considered inappropriate and invasive.
    I woudn't want you to visit me if I knew you'd be blabbing about it to others later in the week.

    Rob
     
  4. rbell

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    I think it's worth asking, "Why do you feel like I should publish them?" Who knows? Maybe your predecessor was lazy.

    In no way would I admit who I am visiting...that's privileged. But sharing with people "what you do with your day" might be helpful.

    It's not quite the same for me, since I'm not a senior pastor...but i give my pastor a report as to how many visits & contacts I've made (not who, but how many.)

    I find it to be a positive thing...it answers the question, "What did you do with all your time this week?"

    So, back to the beginning: I'd gently ask why they felt like they needed to know this info.
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    I would not do this. It sets up an entitlement. See the church has a right to expect that they receive ministering but they do not get to determine who it is that comes and ministers to them. You may need to send someone on your behalf like a deacon. You cannot always be the visitor.
     
  6. fbcodr

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    Me too!!! :thumbsup::jesus:
     
  7. TomVols

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    At our business meetings, I present a report showing how many ministry related miles I travel, sermons preached, special items of note (Led X conference, attended seminar on ABC, etc.). However, unlike some other fellow pastors, I do not list "doors knocked on" or "witnessing attempts" or "visits made." These can get into (1) Privacy issues, (2) Pride Issues and (3) Practical issues. When you list some visits and people know someone was in trouble or something, they start gossiping. When you puff up how many doors you've knocked on, you have your reward. When you list that you made 7 visits, that's a lot - but I can do that within one mile of the church's office. On the other hand, I can travel 100 miles for a round trip hospital visit. So I guess it equals out, but which took more time.

    I would be hesitant to do this. I'd want to know why the deacon wants an accounting. Mine was to show accountability because I had three predecessors who did nothing and was accountable to no one. It was a special circumstance. Ask for a reason why you should do this. Explain it's highly extraordinary. Then listen. Don't just hear what he says.
     
  8. GBC Pastor

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    I appreciate the advice. I think a lot of this may stem from a general view held in the congregation that the previous pastor did little to no visitation. I have only been here four months so it's hard to determine whether there are any ulterior motives. I gave some thought to the idea of accountability being the purpose for doing this, but I'm just not sure it's needed. Those I visit in the hospitals know I've been to see them, and home visits I almost always make with a deacon so I see that as accountability. I have grown up in rural churches in the south so I know how much they place importance on visitation by the pastor. I'm just leaning towards my view of this as being unnecesary at best and an attempt to keep tabs on me at worst. I also can't help but feel that to stand before my congregation to tell them of all the visits I have made is bordering on self promotion.
     
  9. TomVols

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    Indeed.

    Don't underestimate the powerful testimony of looking for something tangible (though you could fake it). If it's that big of a deal to them, do it (I'd do mileage rather than visits). It could be part of the cost of doing business. But, if you think it will lead to other metrics, that could be problematic.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    Frankly, if I had to give account for my ministry to the Board or congregation, I would move on.

    On the other hand, the most effective visitation to-day is made by the membership. They should be witnessing in the church neighbourhood, at work and at play. It is supposed by all that a preacher will obviously be "religious" and relate "religious" things. Far better to train the so-called lay-people to "go unto all the people."

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. SaggyWoman

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    Although I am a fan of accountability, this deacon is just plain nosy.
     
  12. Hardsheller

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    I agree with Jim. This is an attempt to control you - no matter how benign it seems.
     
  13. dh1948

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    In almost 36 years of pastoring I have never given a report to the church regarding my ministry activities. If a pastor is not carrying out his responsibilities, it will show. No report will be needed.

    If his motivation for doing the work of the ministry is so that he can give an impressive report....well, he should re-examine why he does what he does.

    If I was the op, I would keep an eye on the deacon who made he request.
     
  14. Bob Dudley

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    That seems strange but here is something we do that is similar but for very different reasons. I run the outreach at our church. Every Sunday evening I am given about 5 minutes for a salvation testimony. I tell of someone that has come to Christ that week through our visitation program or just from an everyday encountr of one of our members.

    This testimony time keeps personal evangelism on everyone's mind. It sems to be motivational.
     
  15. SaggyWoman

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    Maybe it would be good for the person who was saved to share the story of getting saved.
     
  16. Crucified in Christ

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    Dear brother,
    I think that we often do not realize the damage poor pastoring can do to a church. I have seen a very similar situation. A previous Pastor who had done almost no visiting for a few years...when asked, he would always talk about the people that he was planning on visiting in the next couple of weeks. Of course, these people never received visits; by the end of his time at the church, trust was shattered within the congregation toward a pastor. When this happens, I have seen churches put up something of a shell (supervising their subsequent pastors). It seems to me that churches start to see their pastors as employees...while this is unBiblical and wrong, it is an understandable reaction to the presence of the hireling that was there previously. Incredible damage can be done by a hireling which is why our Lord warned us about them.
    If the Deacon that said this to you is trustworthy (and my guess is that you sense he likely is), he is probably trying to assist you. He knows that there are real trust issues within the congregation and he is attempting to help you show the church that you are busy working. Trust takes time, effort and leadership by example. When your church sees, over time, that you are busy about the Lord's work, these issues will subside. My advice in the meantime is to thank the Deacon for his help, explain why you disagree, continue to visit with him...over time, the church will see that you are not simply there to collect a paycheck.

    You and your ministry are in my prayers,
    Your brother,
    Crucified
     
  17. Trotter

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    Trust is one thing, but being called to give an account of every minute is way beyond that. If a pastor is doing visitation it will be known by those who have been visited.

    Not every pastor is a "visitor", anyway, nor should each one be one. Some have a heart for visiting people in their homes, but some just do not take to that. Either one can still be a great pastor. Those who spend a good deal of their time in visitation often have very close congregations, but that congregation will only grow as large as the number of people the pastor can handle seeing; anything beyond that and he begins to feel he is letting the church down. A pastor who does not spend a great deal of time in visitation may not be as intimate with the congregation, but he is still able to connect in his own fashion; a larger congregation is not a problem for him.

    As to the OP, offer for the deacon to accompany you on some visits, or for any other deacon to do so. Let them see firsthand your visitation and make them involved in it at the same time. Odds are a few will go with you a few times, but I seriously doubt that they will commit the time and effort to ride shotgun for very long. Either way they will see what you do for visitation and can let that be known.

    But as for a weekly (or even monthly) "account" of visitation, there is no way I would bow down to that. If the church was that uncertain of me then they should not have extended a call to me. Either you are the man God wants there or they are trying to play God themselves.
     
  18. Bob Dudley

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    we do that at times, also.
     

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