Question and Answer

Preparing for an Elder Visitation

Question:

The elders in our newly particularized church are reading Peter Y. DeJong's book Taking Heed to the Flock. It has struck me as I read that this is just one side of the relationship. Are you aware of any literature that addresses how the family can grow in understanding the needs and benefits, and how to prepare for the family visit? If elders have a booklet to read, it seems it would be good for families to have a counterpart for the same purpose.

Answer:

Truth be told, I did some research on such resources and found none.

However, what you as an elder can do is "invert" the principles you learned and communicate them to the families of your church.

So, for instance, if you learned that an elder is to watch over the souls of the people and hold them accountable for daily Bible reading and devotion, you can communicate to the flock over whom Christ has made you an overseer that they should be prepared for that.

Perhaps you can draw up a visitation sheet to hand out to the families of your church before visitations.

So, while there may be no books especially written to give people in the congregation, you can certainly make up for that in your local church setting.

Before I close, let me mention that Peter Y. de Jong's Take Heed to the Flock was republished by Ordained Servant and is available in the Ordained Servant archives on this Web site:

"Preface" and "Chapter I: The Name and Nature of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1992): HTML format; and PDF format.

"Chapter II: The History of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 1, no. 2 (April 1992): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter III: The Scriptural Basis of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 1, no. 3 (September 1992): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter IV: "The Spiritual Purpose of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 2, no. 1 (January 1993): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter V: The Necessity of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 2, no. 2 (April 1993): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter VI: The Requisites for Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 2, no. 3 (July 1993): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter VII: Objections to Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 2, no. 4 (October 1993): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter VIII: The Value of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 3, no. 1 (January 1994): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter IX: The Proper Practice of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 3, no. 2 (April 1994): HTML format and PDF format.

"Chapter X: The Supreme Ideal of Family Visitation" reprinted in Ordained Servant, vol. 3, no. 3 (July 1994): HTML format and PDF format.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to follow up with me if you have points of clarification or further questions.


About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. At least one new question is posted each week, so there should always be something new here for you to read. (For those who would like to look at previous questions and answers, they will continue to be available as well.)

The questions come from individuals like yourself. If you have questions about biblical and theological matters, you are invited to send them by e-mail by using the "Pose a Question" link on the OPC home page or by clicking here.

The purpose of the OPC website's "Questions and Answers" is to respond to biblical and theological questions. Matters of church discipline, disputes, or debates go beyond the scope of our work. We recommend that you present your concerns in these areas to the appropriate judicatory. In most cases this will be to a local pastor, elder, or session. We do not want the website to replace personal involvement in, or commitment to, the local, visible church.

While we will respond to every serious questioner, we are not bound to give a substantive answer to every question, should we deem the question to be beyond the scope of our purpose or our own ability to answer.

You will receive an answer by email. Please be patient as many of our respondents are busy pastors. The response to your question may take up to two weeks. Some of the questions submitted will be chosen to be posted here, along with the corresponding answers.

The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

Note that the "Questions and Answers" posted on the site have been edited—all personal references are removed, Scripture references may be added, and sometimes portions are expanded—to make the questions and answers more useful to a larger audience.

Return to Formatted Page