Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pastoral Visitation: The Lost Work of Shepherding

GPTS President Joseph A. Pipa Jr. has written a series of two articles on Pastoral Visitation, now posted at Reformation 21:

"Pastoral Visitation: The God-Given Responsibility to Shepherd":
God has given to the elders of His Church the responsibility to shepherd His flock. Paul says in Acts 20:28, "Pay attention to yourselves and to all of the flock among which the Holy Spirit has set you to be overseers to shepherd God's church, that He acquired with His own blood." Similarly, Peter wrote in 1 Peter 5:1-3, "Therefore, I urge the elders among you, as a fellow elder and witness of Christ's sufferings and as a sharer of the glory that is going to be revealed, to shepherd God's flock among you, exercising shepherdly care over it, not out of obligation but willingly, as God would have you do it; not out of eagerness to make a personal profit, but out of eagerness to serve; not lording it over those allotted to your charge, but by becoming models for the flock." Read full article
"The Lost Work of Pastoral Visitation":
My first pastoral visit was the first one I made as a young pastor. By that time, I had been in the church eleven years. My case was not unique then or now. I am certain that many of you identify with my experience. In fact, many readers will not recognize that they are being deprived of something that was an essential part of church experience. In our day, the work of the pastor is greatly neglected. Many would-be pastors fill up their lives with administration or study so that they have little time for the people of the flock. Others have churches so large they cannot begin to pastor the members of their congregations. Increasingly, such men are adopting the Chief Executive Officer approach to congregational oversight. But even in our smaller reformed churches the minister often neglects the important work of pastoring. Many church members only receive a visit when they are ill (if then). We cannot know the condition of our flock or minister effectively to them without carefully doing the work of family visitation. Furthermore, this work is necessary for the cementing of truth and its results in the lives of our people. Read full article.