It was 11:00 p.m. and I was answering the phone. A lady's voice asked if this was the pastor and quickly requested that I come out to her home. It's nearly midnight and this church member wants a visit now? She went on to explain.
"My husband is shooting at the kids and I need for you to come out here," she pleaded. I asked if she had called the police and she informed me that she had called, but they had just left. Her husband was shooting at the children once again.
"Your husband is trying to kill your children?"
"Well," she admitted, "he's not really trying to kill them. They're sitting on the couch and he's shooting between them."
Well, that certainly put my mind at ease. LOL I learned the man had been drinking heavily and that he was, indeed, firing his pistol very near to the children. After telling my wife the situation, I called a deacon and asked if he would accompany me on the errand of mercy. So, down the dark road we traveled; me and my wide-eyed deacon into the unknown night.
It was nearly 1:00 a.m. when we arrived at the rural home far from town. I exited the car and saw the lady's husband approaching me. He'd seen us drive up the lengthy driveway area. I called him by name and asked what he thought he was doing scaring his children. He bowed his head, dug the tow of his boot into the ground and apologized saying, "I know pastor, I shouldn't ought to do things like that."
After agreeing with him and seeing that the situation was stabilized, I had prayer with him and a relieved deacon and we drove away. After depositing my co-minister at his house and traveling to my own home, I was able to lie in my own bed around 2:30 a.m.
An observation: What if I had never before visited the home in this true story? What if I had ignored older ministers' advice and spent my time doing other things? The woman who had called was a member of one of my churches. Her husband was not. But because I had been in their home and had prayed with them and for their family, I was able to meet that man in his drunken stupor and to reason him out of a dangerous situation.
If you are a minister of the Gospel please visit every home in your membership and have prayer with them. The most advantageous time to do that intensive visiting is when you first arrive. However, you can determine to get into their homes at any time during your ministry. I know this is an unusual circumstance that I have shared, but there are so many benefits to accomplishing a visit to each and every member's home.
With GPS and all the other technology available, even if you are like me and are directionally challenged, you'll discover you've spent your time wisely by implementing a plan of visitation. You don't have to make regular interval appearances at members' homes. But when you've started to execute a visitation plan, word will spread among the members that they have a minister who actually wants to know them as individuals.
In my opinion, a completed visitation of all the members will be of great benefit to you and will make your work less difficult. Of course, there will always be negative things said about nearly everything you attempt. The members, however, will never be able to get away with saying that you're so lazy that you didn't care enough to visit them in their homes. Much good will can be generated by getting into members' homes. When you conclude your visit with prayer, go to your car and write down a note or two about a need or special circumstance that you may be able to help with in the future.
Be smart; visit!