Hints for Pastoral Visitation

I think visitation is important. I am trying to get around to visit everybody in my congregation with my family, to get to actually know them in their own homes, rather than just in the church. I was never "taught" how to do visitations, so I thought I'd ask what you folks have found useful in your ministries:

  • Should this be just a chit-chat time, with an emphasis on getting to know folks better? 
  • Should the visit be exclusively Pastoral; e.g. "How can I pray for you?" "What do you need help on in your spiritual life?" 
  • Should it be a mixture? 

I haven't been here long, so I've been pretty much sticking with the first option. I haven't made it a practice to pray with the family at the beginning or end of the visit (is that even required?). I've just focused on trying to get to know them, and to let them see that I'm normal and approachable. Is this bad? Is this good? Help this silly, young Pastor out . . .

Your thoughts?

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Chip Van Emmerik's picture


Just get to know them, and let them get to know you. It's hard to do pastoral visits with the whole family along anyway, but be sensitive in case you become aware of a need. You've probably heard this before, but the most important things is for your members to be confident that you genuinely care about them and what's going on in their lives. However, that only happens in living, breathing relationship. We used to do a fun night about every 6 weeks in the little church I pastored. No devotional or anything like that; there were already times built in to the church' life for that. This was just games and visiting. Sitting around a board game and talking in someone's home. It was a great way to really get to know people without a lot of organizational pressure. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?