Visitation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Salty, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. Salty

    Salty
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    Does your church have an organized visitation program?
    Is it on a certain night, Sat Am etc
    Does your church recommend you attend, or even virtually insist you attend?
    Do you think cold door knocking is effective?
    Others comments, suggestions
     
  2. annsni

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    Does your church have an organized visitation program?

    No

    Is it on a certain night, Sat Am etc

    n/a

    Does your church recommend you attend, or even virtually insist you attend?

    no

    Do you think cold door knocking is effective?

    Not in the Long Island culture
     
  3. tinytim

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    Nope... been there done that.. relationship building is much more effective in the long run, unless you are competing for who got the most to say the sinners prayer...
     
  4. Jim1999

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    Door to door visitation worked in the 50's and early 60's, but there are far too many shift workers now, and they don't appreciate a door knocker in the middle of their sleep.

    Planned visitation, knowing to whom you are going, is effective and essential, and should not be ignored. Perhaps the most effective visitation is to your members!

    I visit senior's homes to-day. Many are abandoned by their families and are open to your calling on them. It is a great ministry in itself. May not build the local church, but it is Kingdom work.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    I named my boat "Visitation". That way if someone calls the church office and asks where the pastor is, the secretary can honestly say "I think he's out on visitation".

    ~~
    Door-to-door cold turkey has little/no response (except anger) in our community. We talk with folks and set up mutually-accepted times and plan a visit.

    Life/society has changed. With mama working, when she gets home and the panty-hose come off, she is staying in and does NOT want "formal" company (especially uninvited). Rise in take out or delivery foods add attestation to this shift.

    BTW, if we did have an organized night, it would be Thursday. This seems to have the least secular competition (ball games, plays, programs, rehearsals, etc). We've found that to be convenient for some of our church events.
     
  6. drfuss

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    Does your church have an organized visitation program? Yes

    Is it on a certain night, Sat Am etc Yes

    Does your church recommend you attend, or even virtually insist you attend? Visitation night is announced, but there is no pressure to participate.

    Do you think cold door knocking is effective? No

    Others comments, suggestions: There is no evidence in the New Testament of Christians going door-to-door. For instance, Paul usually went first to the synagogues, and then to public gatherings.
     
  7. DHK

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    And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, (Acts 20:20)
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    We don't do programmatic visitation. It just doesn't work on too many levels.

    1. There are significantly better ways to connect with people than an outreach model from last century imho.

    2. Door-to-door is dead. Unless you enjoy being yelled at, threatened, and hitting a ton of empty homes it isn't worth the leadership capital. (Honestly don't have a clue how Mormons do it.)

    3. For just about everyone I know their home is their private castle and they are reluctant to allow strangers in.

    4. I don't think people sit around and are bothered by the two diagnostic questions from EE. Therefore we have to anticipate communicating the Gospel more effectively and in a manner which connects with a post-Christian society.

    I am thankful for churches who do intentional visitation outreach. From our perspective the barriers for this to be effective were too high given our context to warrant continued planning. Instead of doing visitation we have diverted resources and people into more intentional outreach efforts. This has been more effective for us. :)
     
  9. Steven2006

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    IMHO, it would benefit all churches to do some type of organized regular visitation. There are many various ways I have been part of visitations over the years. These are in no particular order of importance.

    a) Following up with those that were coming to church regularly (especially if they were new to the church) for a time, but have stopped. I have always been amazed how often times they have had some type of hardship or event hit them and/ or life was throwing them for a loop. They are genuinely appreciative to know that their church family care, miss them, and are there for them if they needed to be lent a hand, or be an ear to listen.

    b) Visiting those that have physical difficulties and/or have been sick and can't get out like they used to. For someone other than their normal inner circle (which in some cases is very small) to take some time with them for a visit, or offer help can not be over stated how much it can mean to them.

    c) Visiting those that have visited the church and filled out a visitors card. If someone takes the effort to fill out the card while visiting it is only proper that someone call on them to personally make them feel welcome, and answer any questions.

    d) Combine and adult or two with a teen and visit a youth group member that might have stopped coming, to remind them they are missed, and to see how they are doing. Also maybe meet the parents if they hadn't come themselves.

    e) Visiting the elderly. My wife will sometime do this with our young children, it is a blessing to the elderly to have young happy children visiting them, and I think it teaches the children about loving others as well.

    f) And yes, the dreaded plain old knock on the door. I know most hate to do this, and most think they will be yelled at or something. I have to say though the truth is, I don't think that happens often if you are most of all polite, and not pushy, don't try and get invited inside, but rather just politely introduce yourself. Tell them that if they don't already have a church that they attend you wanted to just personally invite them to "our" church, and then give them a simple church pamphlet with all the details of the church (plan of salvation somewhere in the pamphlet is advised). Then wish them a cheerful good day, and unless they ask you more questions leave. And some people do then visit.

    g) Bus ministry visits for those involved in that.


    One last thought. I think a church having some type of regular visitation is a benefit and blessing for those that participate as well.

    a) Going out on a visitation pared off with someone for a few hours can be a real blessing to spend time with, get to know and learn from someone you might never would have spent any one on one time with.

    b) Can be a real blessing by getting people involved in the church that might ordinarily not be as involved.

    c) Good teaching/mentoring time for high school age youth to go along a couple of adults

    d) Good for little children to learn about loving others, and wanting to help others by going along to visit the elderly.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    How does this apply to "visitation"? This is discipleship of believers, nothing to do with what is called "door-to-door" soul winning today.

    Do you call going to an elder's home "visitation"? If you twist the idea like that, then I am often on visitation.
     
  11. Luke2427

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    Yea, I think Ann has a point. It has to do with culture. It has worked well here in South Mississippi for us.

    But here it is more like the 50's than most places.

    I absolutely agree that it would not work well in more modern cultures.

    In my old stomping ground, Jackson, it would not work real well.
     
  12. glfredrick

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    Does your church have an organized visitation program?
    Yes, but it is not typical of most visitation programs in traditional churches. We go out looking for ways to be Christ personified in the lives of people who desperately need Him and His church.

    Is it on a certain night, Sat Am etc
    Someone from our church goes out every day of the week. At times we have concentrated efforts where we target an entire community and saturate it with visitors.

    Does your church recommend you attend, or even virtually insist you attend?
    We wish for our people to exercise their spiritual gifts, talents, passions, and treasures in the service of our King, which for many is some form of neighborhood ministry. The call is always present, but there is no coercion. As many as 90+ percent of our church participates in some form of ministry activity on and off campus. Our membership is in the 1000 range and we have an additional 1200 visitors every Sunday (many of whom participate with our church, though not yet covenant members) so our labor force is considerable!

    Do you think cold door knocking is effective?

    To some extent, yes. As a church planter, I've knocked on over 20,000 doors in my ministry efforts. I have certainly not "harvested" anything close to that number, of course, but that was not the direct purpose of going out and cold-calling door-to-door.

    Cold-call "evangelism" is worthless IMHO. I cannot recall a time in those 20K+ times where I actually led someone to the Lord from a visit to a home. So, why call it effective? Because the reason I'm going out is hardly ever evangelistic. The most effective technique I've found is a door-to-door prayer ministry. We go out and simply say that "We're from the church around the corner (or whatever) and we simply wish to be obedient to our Lord and go out to people to pray for them, help them, and love them. Is there anything that we could lift up in prayer today for you?"

    The response to this sort of ministry is phenomenal! People will break down in tears. They will invite you in to talk. They will pour out their hearts. And yes, sometimes (rarely) they will just say no and close the door, but we know that we've done nothing offensive and we also know that they now know about our church and have an image of us as a people who are willing to get out of our holy huddles to get to hurting and needy people in our city.

    We go out to find the people that God has given us. We go out because Jesus was out example when He sent out the 70, two-by-two. We go out because one of the purposes of the church is to share the gospel and to minister to the people. And, we go out because we get to meet people face-to-face. It is always a blessing to hear the stories of those who have gone out. They are blessed. It is even better when a new couple walk into the church, kiddos in tow, because we were at their house last week and we seemed nice -- and caring about what God says.

    Others comments, suggestions

    Toss out the old "Do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior" approach, handing out tracts, exploratory questions (EE, FACT, FIRE, FIRM, etc.) from canned programs. Halt visits by stuffy old deacons who -- for anyone not a part of the church (and some of them also!) -- are scary, weird, anachronisms in today's culture, and obviously not living up to what they purport to preach based on their outward appearance.

    Start having regular people, who are someone's neighbor, get to know their neighborhood on a first name basis. Have those people know the neighbor's birthdays and anniversaries. Help them rake their leaves. Go over and pray with them. See what happens!

    As a side note (and I've shared this before on the board, so forgive me if you've read this already), I have a pair of atheist lesbians living across the road from me. I've now built a relationship with them where they come over and ask me to pray for this or that. We talk several times a week. Next comes an invitation to community and sharing the gospel. If I just walked to their door and blasted them with the hard-core gospel and left, we'd never again talk -- ever. As it is now, I've reached out to a family that knows countless other people, and they have a good impression of the Baptist preacher that lives across the street from them. They know that I'm "for real" and not just a Bible thumping blowhard. Guess who will actually have a chance to share the gospel with this household one day soon? :thumbs:

    EDIT: Oh, one last thing... I've done this in multiple small-towns and mid-sized cities, and large cities like Milwaukee in Wisconsin, suburbs of Louisville, inner/old-city Louisville, Ocean Springs, Misissippi, Minneapolis, and several cities in Mexico, Newfoundland, Canada, and I believe it would work anywhere. Mexico was the most interesting and the most life-changing. Newfoundland the easiest! The people there were adorable and their culture is so open that one could just move in and expect dinner in most of the homes (as long as you don't mention church, Jesus, Bible, etc.).
     
    #12 glfredrick, Dec 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2010
  13. Steven2006

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    Great post!

    I think many people say no to something that is uncomfortable for them to do, I have done this myself all to often. It is easy to tell yourself that it wont be very effective in "this circumstances" and do nothing, rather than try and find a method that might very well be a little effective, just as you have done. Additionally we might not very well visibly see the fruits of our labor, it still doesn't mean there are none.
     
  14. mercy4all

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    We have experienced this as well!
     
  15. glfredrick

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    We should not be amazed when we do God's stuff God's way and it works...

    But we are, because we've done what we THINK is God's stuff God's way for so long, and it doesn't work (well, at least).

    Visitation, for instance, the way most people practice it is left over from the era before 1980 when church was the only game in town. Those days are over, like it or not. It was also expected for people to be in church, even if for appearance sake (or to have a ready cemetery for burial). None of that is true these days, so we're forced to adopt missional tactics that are used around the world instead.

    A missionary would not just go out and start visiting people door-to-door until or unless he or she had FIRST checked to see what the local custom was for that practice. IF the local practice favored this sort of "dropping in" technique, then that is what the missionary would do. If not, they would find another way, perhaps meeting in the town square, the village gates, or even the local pub, depending on the culture of those people (and yes, Ed Stetzer, famous SBC church planter started his first church in a local bar!).

    We go around "visiting" people because that is what we've always done, and it worked for grandpa... Bad reason.

    One other thought... Evangelism may not be the primary reason for going out. Same for activities and events in the church. Data shows conclusively that these sort of activities (going out and productions) do not work for evangelism. So, why do them? Because they allow church members to meet and mingle in a safe atmosphere with non-church people so that the saved church members can share the gospel with the un-saved community members once they have a chance. THAT does work!

    For a decent read on the subject, check out "The Unchurched Next Door" by Thom Rainer. I was part of the research team for that book, and we learned some things that actually do work based on the spiritual condition of the person one is trying to reach.
     
  16. Salty

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    There have been some very excellent responses here. The church I have recently joined has not had a visitation program. The pastor has done some "prayer walks" over the past few months. But for all intensive purposes, Mrs Salty and I are the only new folks in months - if not longer. I have encourage the pastor to go on visitation. We have been out once, and plan to go again Sat. I do want to see one teen, who may attend if we have a youth group. - I do plan on have teen class beginning in Jan. Currently only adults attend SS :tear:
    Please pray for us.

    One thing I need to keep in mind is that this is no longer the 1960"s

    Once again thanks
    Salty
     
  17. Arbo

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    Years ago, Wifey and I started attending a church we both really liked. We stopped because of the ceaseless cold visiting by the staff. Many, many times in the course of the few months we were there. They didn't understand that they needed to give us space. Based on our experience on the receiving end of it, I'd say at least sometimes no; but I think ours was an unusual case.
     
  18. menageriekeeper

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    There isn't much my husband hates than a surprise visit by anyone, but someone who "should know better, like the preacher" irritates him that much worse. (yeah, he's antisocial)

    Yes, my church has organized visitation. We call it "Outreach". We do not cold call. If our members don't like surprises we figure no one else does either. We do stop people on the streets like at Tuesday night's town Christmas parade and give them information. We also send cards, visit the sick members or those our members are praying for (with an appointment), make phone calls to catch up with those who have given us permission and that sort of thing.

    We do not force our members to serve! God wants cheerful service, not forced servitude.

    Cold calling can be effective if you have a member who is effective at cold calling. Many are not (myself among them). I do better with folk who are in the midst of daily life. Its much easier to strike up a conversation with someone who is out and about than someone you have to wonder what they were doing when you knocked. :eek:
     
  19. blackbird

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    Here's my favorite way ----- couple days ago I was at the Driver's License place renewing mine ---- as usual, there was a wait and chairs were provided for the happy patrons:type:

    Anyhows----I sit next to a lady and am thinkin'-----OK---I can't just sit here ---- say somethin'----initiate a conversation with this lady

    So I did

    Different ways to initiate conversations---this one went something like

    ME: "Been sittin' here long???"

    Her: "Not too long!"

    ME: "Maybe they'll(the Driver's Lic office) not be too slow today!"
    ------you don't sound like you're from around here----where are you from???"

    Her: "Saint Paul, Minnesota!!!"

    ME: "Really!!! How'd you wind up down here in Alabama??"

    And it just develops from there---in cases like this----there is a initation of conversation---you "jabber" about something----then in a glorious way---develop a line for the conversation to turn to the Lord Jesus and the glory of Heaven!!

    Thats just one way ---- there's plenty of ways to initiate conversation----best way is just do it---try!!!
     
  20. JohnDeereFan

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    We don't, Salty, for the simple reason that we live so far out in the country that it just isn't practical.
     

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