I wonder . . . what makes visiting church members so difficult?
Maybe visiting is easy for you (and therefore I’ve already begun to resent you), but it drove me batty. Hospital and emergency visits? No problem. Follow-up on the first-time worship visitor? Easy enough. But it was the general visiting, the checking-in with people that was like soap scum on my to-do list. I’d try to clean the list up, but more visiting lingered.
Was e-mailing an appropriate “visit?” Was a phone call sufficient?
If you’re not a pastor reading this, and therefore on the other side of the door/computer/phone, what do you think? (Don’t worry, your pastor never reads this blog…)
In every church I served, large or small, I could identify folks I “should” regularly visit. Some things worked for a while . . . I made a database and tracked my progress . . . I had my secretary call and make appointments. But most things never succeeded. I know one reason why visiting seemed a struggle. In Barbara Brown Taylor’s LEAVING CHURCH she reflected on people she never knew at the last church she served. At a farewell party . . .
I wound up with a couple I had always thought I would enjoy but whom I never really got to know since they did not serve on any committees and were never, as far as I knew, in crisis. … I did not wonder why I had not sought them out earlier because I already knew the answer. By my rules, caring for troubled people always took precedence over enjoying delightful people, and the line of troubled people never ended. Sitting there with corn stuck between my teeth, I wondered why I had not changed that rule sooner.
It was the same for me. How do we balance the never-ending “troubled” visits with the “delightful?” Or can we? What do you do?