Every good pastorÂ and church will find themselves frequently visiting people in the hospital.Â At my church, we visit people who are in the hospital or shut-in every single day.Â Â Every church sets up their visitation ministry a bit differently.Â I explain how we set church’s visitation ministryÂ here:Â How to Organize a Church Visitation Ministry.Â But, what do those individualÂ visits look like?Â I recently gave our staff some best practices:
- Pray before you arrive.Â You are representing Jesus, ask how He wants to use you.
- Sanitize your hands.Â Observe signs regarding masks and other contact precautions when entering a room. If you have been sick talk with the XP about whether you should actually visit.
- Turn off your cell phone or set it to silent.
- Have a plan.Â Know what verses you are going to read.Â Always have anointing oil.Â When visiting shut-ins always take communion.Â Â
- Introduce yourself.Â If you donâ€™t know the person, be sure to identify yourself and the fact you are from Calvary.Â If the door is shut when you arrive, knock before entering.Â
- Complete the visit, but donâ€™t obstruct the flow.Â Let the hospital staff do their job, at the same time make sure you do yours, even if you have to be assertive.
- Keep it short.Â Being a patient can be exhausting.Â Keep your hospital visits to about 10-15 minutes.Â For shut-ins, a lot depends on the situation, but 30 minutes is a good rule of thumb.
- Donâ€™t rush out the door, or even seem rushed.Â Take the time to sit down, always in a chair and never on the bed.Â Take your coat off and donâ€™t make it seem like you are stopping by just to do a job.Â If you sense you should stay, then stay.Â Even if that means you are sitting quietly with the person, not even talking.
- Be sensitive, but not timid.Â Ask questions about what is going on in their life, but if you sense they are being private donâ€™t press.
- Pray.Â Always pray for the person you are visiting.Â Ask permission, but always offer to anoint with oil.
- Remember the family.Â They often require pastoral care too.Â A great practice is to call the family after visiting with their loved one.
- Send your report.Â You should email a report of your visits to *******@*********.***.Â
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