Member Visitation Training
HOUSTON, TEX. – As a lay person or elder, have you ever experienced feelings of inadequacy or awkwardness while visiting sick or shut-in members? Perhaps you felt that your presence meant something to the individual, but you were unsure about whether the right words of encouragement were expressed or made a difference to the individual or even to their family.
Members of the Fondren and Berean Seventh-day Adventist churches in the Houston area were recently given training sessions by Steve Thomas to assist with member visitation (pictured top right). Thomas is the pastor of the Peckham Seventh-day Adventist Church in London, England. His chaplaincy journey has brought him to Texas where he has spent the last year in Clinical Pastoral Education Studies and clinical work at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center.
Thomas was invited to share his vital knowledge base with interested members this summer. The course,“Intentional Pastoral Care” was sponsored by Jacqueline Bryce (top left) and Rupert Etienne (bottom right) of the Fondren church’s Pastoral Care Ministries.
About 30 individuals were given the basic keys in two sessions which included recognizing that individuals who are visited have needs varying from spiritual, emotional and relational. Sometimes, the most valuable element while visiting may be that of being a good listener as people appreciate someone who can genuinely listen with their ears and not with their mouth.
In the sessions given at the Berean church, “Healing the Hurts Like Jesus,” Steve Thomas continued to emphasize the type of interventions needed during a visitation which can lead to successful interactions in bringing about mental or emotional healing. Members attending the seminars were fully engaged in interactive sessions which consisted of theoretical as well as collaborative exercises.
Much appreciation is expressed to Steve Thomas from all of the participants who have been encouraged and empowered to participate in this critical arm of the gospel–that of reaching out to lift the hopes of those who are suffering and leave them in a better place.
By Cheryl Harris