Visitation is the best way for the shepherd to learn of the particular needs of the flock. Yet it does take wisdom and a good ear to pick up on the hidden needs of a member.
Sometimes the pastor has the mistaken idea that he is to do all the talking during a visit but when it comes to visiting he best serves by being a good listener and a good observer. The average church member needs an opportunity to express themselves. On occasion I get feedback that someone really enjoyed our visit and I remember back that I only contributed 10% to the conversation. To jog my memory I jot down thoughts and impressions on a 3×5 card after I leave, being careful to keep all my notes in a very private place. I take care not to bring up any issues ( in a sermon ) raised during visitation, at least not for several weeks or months later. Even then I mix up the things that I have learned in a way so that the listener does not make a personal connection.
John Kissinger [01/11/2016 8:04 PM]
in 1990s pastoral home visits (27%, down from 34%), a phone call from a church (24%, down from 34%)— there’s resistant to other forms of outreach https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/685-five-trends-among-the-unchurched#.VpRQeLYrIUQ