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Resistance to Pastoral Visitation

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Paul Kersey, Apr 21, 2013.

  1. Paul Kersey

    Paul Kersey New Member

    Sep 11, 2007
    I posted a thread on a similar subject some time ago, but we are still struggling in this area. I have been serving as pastor of a SBC church in the Midwest (average Sunday AM attendance of about 130-140) for about 1.5 years. I am from the deep South, so this has been a bit of a culture shock.

    Things have gone well, generally speaking, as the church has grown numerically, several have been saved, and many more have been baptized. However, I am still struggling with the issue of pastoral/deacon visitation in this area. We have visitors to our services fill out a card, as most churches do. On that card is this question, "Would you like to receive a visit from a member of the pastoral staff?" The answer to that question is "no" about 90% of the time.

    I brought this up with other Baptists in my area recently, and some said go ahead anyway - who cares if they slam the door in your face? How they treat me is irrelevant. My concern is not being negligent on the one hand by not going to see them, yet I don't want to push people even further away and anger them by showing up on their porch when they have specifically indicated they did not want to be disturbed.

    We are facing the same issue in following up with VBS, Easter egg hunt visitors, etc. Do we go to the house or not?

    This is a heavily Catholic area. We recently mailed out over 2,000 postcards to homes surrounding our church, in about a 2 or 3 mile radius. We were inviting them to a community appreciation dinner, offering a full course hot meal for the entire family at no cost, with no preregistration necessary. They were simply asked to attend the service that morning, which was heavily evangelistic (though they didn't know that). We only had about 4 or 5 people show up out of a pool of potentially 8k people. This experience makes me wonder if the direct approach is going to effective in this area. We send welcome letters on Monday to every visitor.

    Are you having success with in-home visitation with prospects? Many thanks.
  2. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2006
    The problem is the perception of what that means. There is often a concern that if they have a visit from the church they will just try to coerce them into committing to something at the church.

    It would be best not to rely on that question and in fact get rid of it. What you can do is make three points of contact with visitors.

    1. Send them a card expressing excitement and appreciation of their visit.

    2. A phone call making yourself available to answer any questions they may have and to be available for the third point of contact which is a visit.

    They often will not want you to visit. But do appreciate hearing from the church. Be prepared to hear concerns about how the service went for them. Be available but do not push for a visit. That will frustrate them and they may not trust you if you do.

    I say this having been born and raised in the deep south.
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    We do in home visitation when requested.

    That isn't very often.

    Honestly, I've given up on any kind of door-to-door or in-home outreach approaches. They just don't work and end up costing more than they are worth. Maybe they worked great in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Not anymore.

    That's not a bad thing either. Big tent revivals don't work well either. So what do we do? Well, for starters we have an intentional strategy of going where the lost already are and living authentically in their midst.

    Your dinner idea, its a great idea. However, you used a method of outreach that requires people to leave their area of comfort and security and go to your facility. That kinda is a tough sell to begin with, coupled with being a Baptist church they probably saw what was coming. If I had gotten the card, and wasn't a member of your church, I would have tossed it and gone on about my day. Why not go to them instead?

    Redirect the resources and sponsor a booth at a local taste of the town thing. Something like that.

    As we move directly into a post-Christian culture we have to stop thinking and utilizing methodology that is great for a Churched community. Instead we need missionary thinking to reach new people.

    Let's leverage our desire to reach the lost and use powerful tools to help them connect with Jesus where they live, work and play (on their turf) instead of having to come to our turf. :)
  4. sag38

    sag38 Active Member

    Jan 26, 2008
    Home visits still work here in Mobile. However, we try to be very careful with this approach. With the younger couples I find that Facebook and texting get the most responses. They don't really want you to come to their homes and they won't answer their phones. But, after a few posts on Facebook or texting they generally warm up and are more receptive to answering the phone or visits.
  5. RG2

    RG2 Member

    May 12, 2011
    I could see that nothing would turn people off more than someone just showing up at their house unannounced especially if they have told them they didn't want them to visit. I could see them being so upset they would tell all the neighbors about that Pastor from that church who showed up when they didn't want him, and say to all their friends that they shouldn't go to any of their stuff because they will just show up at your house no matter what.

    Personally if I go visit places, I tend to never fill anything out unless I have to because I don't want random phone calls or people showing up. I feel like if I like the place, I'll come back. Either way I don't want to be pressured or hounded about it. If I want to talk to someone about it, I'll take the steps to do that.
    #5 RG2, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2013
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2010
    Where are you in their lives? Are you walking the streets talking to people. Did you see if the old ladies & the widows need rides to the supermarkets, need lawns cut, need a coupla of guys who are handy to help with an oil change & perhaps to repair a car....how bout a roof, or a fresh coat of paint. We are called to look after widows & orphans....James 1:27

    27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    Arrange street basket ball pickup games or perhaps get something going after hours at a local high school, how bout canoe day trips, or host a Scouts meetings. The ladies can possibly teach cooking classes to young wives, or assemble a 2 -5 K run for some poor or in need family. I dont know counseling for troubled families, for married couples struggling, divorced people, people outa work. Touch the flesh of Christ man.

    Three things I will always remember....one, a RC priest in priestly garb coming over to have coffee with my mom to discuss how to help my destitute family & then following through (without embarrassing us---for we were proud even though poor).

    2. Mr Ed Schultz, a member in the community taking me to the Father & Son Church Breakfasts after my father died. God bless his soul.

    3. A older presbyterian pastor in a little town where every body knew everyone & knew their business....A fellow named John (young man) with 2 small kids (one boy one girl) looses his wife to cancer & looses his mind in grief...takes to the bottle. Pastor Little hears of this & comes visiting & will not give up. John, you must come to the church, John you must get a grip, John, we in the community will help you out.....long story short, he bothered this guy back to life, to sobriety, to taking responsibility for his family....(Rev Little loved John back to life is how I see it) God love that man.

    So my friend, Its love that will get their attention. Go to them, dont create schemes for them to come to you....it will be persevered as a trick....nobody likes to be tricked--a sucker.
  7. 12strings

    12strings Active Member

    Feb 10, 2004
    It seems that we have had the most success inviting new people to home gatherings, either just one family inviting over the other, or inviting an unchurched family to a cookout at a home that has several church families. Going to someone's house for food is usually not that intimidating...and yet in our modern disconnected society...is something people don't experience very often.