Due to the pandemic, many churches in China stopped meeting in person for three years. Now, many churches are meeting in person again. But for a variety of reasons, attendance was much lower than it was before the epidemic. For some, the number dropped by more than half. How do we find those "lost" believers? Visitation is an important initiative.
A chairman of TSPM in a prefecture-level city in North China said that although the church did not weaken online pastoral care during the epidemic, the loss of more than half of the city's believers is still quite serious. A local church in Liaoning has started to visit believers who did not attend the church.
The pastor of a township church in Dandong, Liaoning, saw that many people couldn't get together because of the epidemic, so he went to different villages to pastor and comfort the worried believers. This made them more passionate about their faith and ensure that the church would get offerings.
The senior pastor of a church in Changchun also said that the church's visitation team did most of the work to keep believers connected to the church when there were no on-site gatherings for a long time.
Even when there isn't an epidemic, visitation is an important part of the church's pastoral care. A pastor in Jiangsu who has been in charge of churches for almost 20 years holds that preaching, visiting, and management are the three most important parts of pastoral care. Among them, preaching is a flat form of pastoring everyone, while visiting can carry out more detailed and in-depth care.
Pastor Tian of Daqiao Church in Yangzhou City states that visiting elderly Christians who aren't well educated with poor comprehensive skills is a good way to care for them. By visiting, you can understand the difficulties in their lives and then teach them to apply biblical truths to explain them. In fact, it is difficult for them to understand logical biblical explanations in church meetings.
Elder Sun Zhaocheng, an 82-year-old man from Danyang, Zhenjiang City, argues that love, which is the core of visitation, can revive the church. For example, he said that if a believer does not attend the Sunday worship and then the church staff visits him the next week, the church can grow. Also, he added that pastors and ministers shouldn't only visit Christians with whom they get along well.
Pastor Zhang Yezhong of Guangxi Beihai Church also attaches great importance to visitation work. After a visit, he wrote, "Especially when believers are in need, we preachers should follow the Lord's command to deliver the love of Christ to believers' houses and hearts."
- Translated by Livingstones