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On Pastoral Visitation

A lot of church members need to read these words from John Hobbins, and some need to stick them on their refrigerator:

But are we doing enough as a church to reach out to the community and to meet the needs of our membership? Am I doing enough as a pastor? No, I am not.

In particular, I am sure that there are unmet pastoral needs that I don’t know about. Even when I do know about them, they are often beyond my ability to meet unless I am asked to do so. I can’t step into family crises unless asked. When a life change is proving to be a challenge, a health crisis or the loss of a loved one, from the outside, I cannot always figure out when the right time to visit is, or whether a visit is desired.

I have tried reading people’s minds before, but I am not that good at it. I greatly appreciate the fact that I am able to visit the entire membership thanks to the persistent invitational calling of x and y. This project has been going on for 12 months, and as long as y and x are up to making the arrangements, I will continue to make the rounds. I also depend on people like a, b, and c who let me know when they think someone who has not asked for a visit secretly hopes for one.

Speaking for myself, I secretly hope that my doctor will start making house calls, like doctors used to do. Furthermore, I want him to call me and make the arrangements, without a request on my part. I don’t want to call him.

But it’s not going to happen.

Do read it all, and then forward it to whoever puts together your church’s newsletter.

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