Pastor Promotes Holistic Care Visiting
By Yetta Yao, February 25, 2017 08:02 AM
"A 30-minute visit is often more effective than a one-hour sermon," Pastor Chen from a church in Shandong said while talking about the importance of visitation ministries in the church.
He said, "pastoral workers should have ears that listen and soft hearts that rejoice with those who are rejoicing and weep with those who are weeping, so that they can move forward together."
Chen described a common situation in urban churches where people go separate ways after the service. The brothers and sisters don't know each other, and the pastors know very little about the congregants as well. This clearly does not benefit the development of the church, so visitation is very important.
Chen divided the ministry into two types from his experience. One was the quick visit, and the other was overall care.
Chen used his own experience in Wenzhou Church. Wenzhou Church has a tradition of two or three believers going to visit others in their homes every Saturday to pray for their families. The group picks a morning or afternoon to visit every believer in the village. However, since there were so many households, they were too busy to discuss many topics. The visits were fast, and so were the prayers. He gave a typical example, "after praying, they would quickly recite John 3:16 instead of the Lord's Prayer. We tried to offer them tea, but they refused, saying there were still too many homes to go."
Chen hoped that the ministry could be updated to care more deeply for the believers, so he offered another ministry idea called "overall care."
Overall Care looks to the needs of the "spirit, soul, and body" in an area or village. It incorporates full knowledge of the believers in order to better pray for their needs, be it in the family, career, spiritual or physical life, or anywhere else.
Chen mentioned that someone proposed carrying a notebook during the visits, to record the things about believers for future communication and prayer.
The example from his church showed the outcome of this type of ministry. Not only did it enhance understanding and friendship between believers, it also motivated them in their love for each other and changed the lives of those that didn't attend services. Chen stressed that this was more important that a sermon on a stage.
He emphasized that pastoral workers should both rejoice and weep with believers. When they hear of hardships and difficulties, they should be there first to help people move forward.
Chen hoped that the visitation ministry would change from simple fast visits to overall care. He finished by summarizing, "The quick visit focuses on quantity, while overall care focuses on quality. Overall visitation must simultaneously cut the number of visits and increase the number of teams to guarantee both quantity and quality."
Translated by: Grace Hubl
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