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Whether it's a hospital or home visit, there are some critical guidelines every pastor or elder should follow.  Recently, Cameron Koronko, Pastor of the Rutland Adventist Church provided training to his lay leaders.  He shared the steps he used with his leaders.  

Elements of an Effective Pastoral Visit

By Cameron Koronko

Special Note: In order to be a spiritual blessing to someone else you will need to be spiritually connected to Jesus yourself. Read and ponder John 15. Do you have a healthy connection to Jesus?
  1. Get to know what is important in their lives in a relaxed/informal way.
  2. Ask questions about their families, hobbies and interests etc.
  3. Be observant while taking in your surroundings (pictures, knick knacks, special interest items etc.) that you can converse with them about.
  4. How are things going for you and your family?
  5. Be a good listener as they share what is happening in their lives.
  6. Try to ask leading questions which encourage them to open up instead of responding with just a yes or no answer.
  7. Be attentive to body language, facial expressions, tonality in their voices, or tears in their eyes as they share. Be aware that approximately 80% of our communication is conveyed in nonverbal ways.
  8. Probe gently how they are doing spiritually.
  9. A good question to use could be: “Is there something that you have discovered recently that excited you in your personal devotional time?”
  10. If you determine that they are not having personal devotional time, share with them something you discovered in your devotional time that has encouraged you in your spiritual journey.
  11. You may want to suggest a few resources they could use for their personal devotions: Read through the New Testament(Gospel of John is my favorite), Steps To Christ, Desire of Ages, Patriarchs and Prophets etc. We have all of these resources at the church for sharing.
  12. Share some promises from God’s Word with them:
  13. John 14:1-3; Jeremiah 29:11-13; Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 43:1-7; Romans 5:8; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9: Romans 15:13; Philippians 4:6-7, 13, 19; Hebrews 13:5-6. Use your personal favorites as well.
  14. Pray with them and for them.
  15. Ask them if there is anything specific that they would like you to lift up to God in prayer for them or their family. People generally want their children(and grandchildren if they have them) to be remembered in prayer.
  16. Be sensitive to their time.
  17. A visit that can have eternal benefit does not have to take an eternity. Keep your visit short, succinct and to the point. (15-30 min. max).