I have been on staff at my church for aroud 4 years now. During that time my Pastor has repeatedly told me that I should be visiting the kids in our ministry. Over and over again he would reiterate the importance of this practice. Dispite this it was easy for me to find an excuse not to do it. I wasn’t really rebelling against what he was telling me, I just didn’t place a high priority on it.
This all changed a couple weeks ago. You see I decided that I was going to start placing a priority on visiting. I set out to get into the home of every child that was actively involved in our church. My wife even stepped up and volunteered to handle scheduling of these appointments. So, the phone calls started and the first couple appointments were set. I was not prepared for what was about to happen.
Anxiously I drove to the house. This was a family that I had known for a number of years. They had been a part of our church a few years ago, but had moved away and only recently returned to the area and to our church. The husband/father was someone I knew quite well having gone to college with him and worked together for some time. Still I was a little nervous.
What would I say?
What if they had questions I can’t answer?
Did these people even want me in their house?
Well, turns out the answer to this last question was a resounding YES. In fact the 8 year old girl that I was there to visit was so excited that Pastor Matt was coming over that she could hardly stand it. But she wasn’t the only one. As I sat with the family and talked, it became clear that my presence there meant just as much to the parents.
Who knew? You see I had been carrying around this belief that no one was really interested in a visit from me. Sure they would be willing to let me drop by, but the visit wouldn’t really carry much meaning for them. Certainly they wouldn’t be looking forward to it with anticipation.
Boy was I wrong!
This visit and the next one I did had a clear impact on the child and on the family. Recently we had a family leave our church that had been there for a number for years. They left under good terms. They had no complaints about the church or anything that we did or did not do. It was simply a matter of economics. They were driving over 30 minutes each way to get to church and with gas frequently hovering around $4 per gallon it was becoming increasingly difficult for them to be involved at the level they would like. In spite of all of this, I can’t help but believe that if our children’s ministry had offered enough value for their children then they would have stayed. If we were ministering to their children in the way that I believe we should then they would have been willing to make the sacrifices necessary to keep them in our church. I believe that visiting is part of the value that was missing for this family.
If you are not in the habit of visiting the children or youth in your ministry I highly recommend that you start. It may be ackward at first. Start with the easy ones. I know that there were children in your ministry whose parents you are friends with. Visit a couple of them first, then move on to the ones you don’t know as well. I believe that after you have done a couple visits then you will begin to look forward to them. That’s what has happened to me.Matt Norman
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