The Men’s Ministry Director of The Church of Pentecost, who doubles as an Executive Council Member of the church, Apostle Vincent Anane Denteh, has charged the clergy to prioritise visitation to members in the church since they have been commissioned to take care of God’s flocks.
According to the PEMEM Director, Christian visitation is a divine responsibility that has been mandated by God to Christian leaders to shepherd the members.
“There is a divine responsibility on church leaders to shepherd the flock of God. You are to feed the flock, care for them, guide and guard them so that they will not go astray,” Apostle Anane Denteh stated.
Apostle Anane Denteh made this charge on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the 2022 Heads’ Meeting of The Church of Pentecost at the Pentecost Convention Centre, Gomoa Fetteh, near Kasoa in the Central Region of Ghana.
Speaking on the topic, “Christian Visitation in the Local Church,” he said that godly fellowship, caring for one another, bearing each other’s burdens, and an expression of genuine brotherly love in Christ must always be the hallmark of the local church.
He stressed that Christian visitation is conducted with the understanding that the church as the body of Christ is a family, and the local church is the basis on which the values of the family are developed and espoused, saying, “The local church has always been the focus of church growth because that is where church members meet for fellowship, training, and deployment for ministry.”
Defining visitation, he mentioned that it is an intentional direct encounter by an individual with another person or persons for the purpose of getting to know them, understanding and addressing their felt needs, providing encouragement and assistance in the name of Jesus, and expressing constant love and care of God through words or deeds.
“The visitation ministry is about making a conscious effort to have a direct encounter with another person or group of persons with the view of fellowshipping with them and offering them the needed care, where possible,” he noted.
Continuing, he iterated that the concept and principles of visitation are visible in the ministry of the early church, which can be well understood as a practice under pastoral care ministry rather than a theological exposition.
According to him, what transpires in visitation, whether house-to-house or wherever it takes place, must be godly in nature and devoid of pursuing any rebellious behaviour against God’s church or a group of people, especially in the case of the leaders in the local church who are to shepherd the flock.
He urged church leaders to make it an obligation to visit their members, because God is the one who initiated visitation first, and as ambassadors of Christ, they must carry this task at heart.
On the importance of visiting members in the church, he said that it deepens the love and makes members feel a sense of belongingness (2 Cor. 5:14), promotes unity among church members, enhances the spirituality of the local church (Ps. 133:1-3), and promotes genuine interpersonal relationships in the church.
Apostle Anane Denteh further pointed out that lonely church members such as elderly persons, persons with disabilities, the sick, widows, and orphans feel a sense of belonging to the larger Christian community when they are visited (Mark 1:40-45), and it helps to minimize backsliding and restore lost souls to the body of Christ (Gal. 6:1-2; James 5:19-20).
To ensure the success of visitation in the local assemblies, he advised ministers to form local visitation teams, create intentional follow-up teams, involve the local presbytery, encourage virtual churches, have home visitation schedules and guides; utilize home cells and Bible study groups, and establish systematic pastoral care ministry.
Concluding his presentation, the PEMEM Director stated: “Every person in the church must nurture the desire to visit other persons just as he may want others to do unto him bearing in mind that Jesus enjoins Christians to do unto others as we may want them to do unto us.”