Joseph Pipa, Jr., writes an excellent article at Reformation 21on pastoral visits from the perspective of the one whom your pastor visits. This served as such a breath of fresh air, because I so much want the visits to be more than social calls where we catch up on family, last night’s game, the weather, and so forth.
Now, please understand: this is my church family, and I do want to talk to them about mutual interests, and especially their interests. But as you see from the excerpt below, I have a responsibility to the flock as their undershepherd to help them grow in the grace and knowledge of the Good Shepherd (2 Peter 3:18; John 10:10; 1 Peter 5:1-4).
God has given to the elders of His Church the responsibility to shepherd His flock. Paul says in Acts 20:28, “Pay attention to yourselves and to all of the flock among which the Holy Spirit has set you to be overseers to shepherd God’s church, that He acquired with His own blood.” Similarly, Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:1-3, “Therefore, I urge the elders among you, as a fellow elder and witness of Christ’s sufferings and as a sharer of the glory that is going to be revealed, to shepherd God’s flock among you, exercising shepherdly care over it, not out of obligation but willingly, as God would have you do it; not out of eagerness to make a personal profit, but out of eagerness to serve; not lording it over those allotted to your charge, but by becoming models for the flock.”
This is no small task. Church officers will give an answer to God for the discharge of their office. In fact, Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them. They are keeping watch over your lives as men who will have to give an account.” One of the principle ways this oversight is exercised is in pastoral visitation.
Yet, sad to say, pastoral visits are not always used in a manner that allows the parties involved to reap the greatest spiritual benefits. One thing you may do to increase the profit of a pastoral visit is to prepare for it. If families prepared for pastoral visits, then the time spent would be extremely more profitable. How then does one prepare?
Read the rest here.
What other ways do you believe you can make visits with your pastors and elders more fruitful?