Pastoral Visitation in Full Swing at Fujian Church

Tangqiao Church paid a visit to an elderly believer in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, on February 7, 2024.
Tangqiao Church paid a visit to an elderly believer in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, on February 7, 2024. (photo: Suzhou Municipal CC&TSPM)
By Thomas ZhangApril 24th, 2024

Recently, during an exchange, I heard an introduction to the practical experiences of a church that formed a pastoral care system through visitations. This system includes nurturing through target visitations, refining management through visitations, and promoting evangelism through visitations.

Located in the old town center of a coastal city in East China, Church C hosts a thousand believers during its gatherings, being the only church in the city. They establish five visitation teams in five pastoral areas, which cover the entire city. Pastoral care, cultivation, weddings, and funerals are carried out in each pastoral area.

Senior Pastor L introduces that each group, comprising one pastor and one staff worker, has several smaller visitation groups, each with three to four volunteer believers.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the church organizes visitation programs. All volunteers form teams according to their leaders' arrangements, visiting each believer or making return visits. When encountering believers who are ill or facing challenges during their visits, volunteers first report to the leader of their pastoral area, who later quickly visits the believer's home for support, comfort, and assistance. After an assessment, if it is believed that some people need pastoral intervention for support and care, the pastor responsible for the visitation group must personally visit for counseling and encouragement.

"If any believer specifically requests the senior pastor to visit, whether or not it is the district I oversee, I will definitely go," Pastor L added.

"Now the church has more than a thousand volunteers participating in visitation ministry, with an average of two to three hundred in each group. So there's no need to worry about a lack of volunteers; sometimes we have to consider how to get the most out of volunteers."

"Visitations are not just about conversations and prayers. During each visit, regardless of the size of the visiting group, we must praise, pray, and comfort visitees," the pastor said. This way, when facing believers of different situations and spiritual levels, the visitation team can provide comprehensive care for body, mind, and spirit. "If believers do not fully understand the truth or have important life events such as weddings or funerals, our pastors also lead the team to conduct services at their homes."

Additionally, every Monday morning, the church organizes a Bible study for the group leaders and key members. Receiving spiritual food, they also discuss difficult situations occurring during visitations. The pastors answer questions and share pastoral experiences with the core members, who then pass them down to the grassroots volunteers.

"Through visitations and Bible studies, our internal communication can be carried out for better management. Our pastors can also promptly understand believers’ status and develop appropriate pastoral strategies at different stages," said the pastor.

In recent years, besides caring for registered members, they have also begun visiting migrant Christians in need. Additionally, the pastor leads teams into hospitals and nursing homes to provide pastoral care for believers, as well as non-believers sharing the same hospital ward or even the same floor.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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