#pastoral #ministry, visits and growing edges

The truth is no pastor ever makes enough visit. If we can start with that as a given, then this conversation will go a lot smoother.

I always want to make a lot more visits. But I have a feeling that a lot of the things I end up doing….like planning the entire session retreat by myself, creating a couple of youth group activities, doing the children’s sermon (although really, I’d never give that up), meeting with the children, and most importantly filling in for any ipso facto committee that used to exist (write a budget? sure, create a new set of bylaws: hmmm if you give me a week to do nothing else, find all the information to get a loan) etc. etc.

I say this, because I always worry that I am not visiting enough. I always know that I should be fitting it in more, but between all the meetings, all the daily tasks and then that thing called personal spirituality and care I barely have time to breathe. And yet the visits are few and far between.

And calls just aren’t the same.

Recently our deacons have not been as together as usual (they do visits too) which means practically no one is getting visited 😦

Of course I’ve had 3 business trips in the last 8 weeks i.e. post Easter and 3 funerals to do in the last month, but I still feel the disconnect. I want to visit. I want to be able to spend time with those who can’t get out. I want to have to freedom to spend the time needed. I thought at this point (about 4 years in) I’d have mastered how it is I go about it. Sometimes I fear I’m getting worse instead of better though!

Here is what I have learned

1. Visits have to be scheduled

2. Visits  can last anywhere from 10minutes to 3hrs, which means I need a large chunk of time prearranged to visit.

3. They can use up emotional juice or be rewarding, its hard to tell what will happen til you go in.

I tend not to know what the schedule is for the week until my husband gets his work schedule a day or two before Sunday, and to set aside a large chunk of time is really difficult, but…..I’m working on it. I continue to try to arrange for care so I can get out and see people, I try to be clear about how long I’m available to visit, I will get back to calling people.

But honestly I wish we could meet over coffee hour and catch up….and I’m sure that they do too!

In the meantime, hopefully its never too late to visit!



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Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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