A home visit – or a sidewalk-out-in-front-of-a-home visit – helps pastors and elders alike know how their flock is doing. Often an in-person visit reveals needs more clearly than a phone call or a screen-time session. This in turn will help you better pray for people under your care and to see them in your mind as you stare at a camera in an empty sanctuary. (Conversely, it may also make them more receptive to your online sermons, a help that many of us desperately need).
It’s clearly the worst of times. Thousands dying, quarantine tightening, unemployment rising, churches closing – this is the best definition of “worst” that the world has seen for decades. That said, it is also the best of times, at least the best of times for some forms of pastoral care. I especially have in mind home visitation – or to be precise, visits out in front of homes and from a safe distance. Let me offer ten reasons why elderships should see THIS as the moment to visit their flocks.
First, it’s still legal. That seems like a strange thing to say when stay-at-home orders and curfews are becoming the norm. And perhaps in some states or countries what I’m about to suggest will at some point be illegal, and thus off limits. But for the moment, there are few limits for those who are walking on sidewalks, as long as we keep six – let’s be generous, even ten – feet away. It is legal, and pastors should enjoy doing things that are legal.
Second, it is meaningful to members. Knowing that your pastor or shepherding elder took the time to drive or walk over shows love, and a real person is much more meaningful, even at ten feet, than a smiling face on a glowing rectangle. Many people are scared.