It is a common phenomenon that fear prevents some Christians from making visits in the homes of those they do not know at all or very well. This program will deal with the common fear issues, as well as solutions to make visiting easier. Even if someone does not directly visit someone else, these ideas will help open conversations with friends, work associates, and other people one meets and talks to. You may want to invite the personal ministries director of your church/district to participate, or someone who is really good at visitation.
Welcome: Welcome to Sabbath School this morning.
Suggested Opening Song: The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, No. 369—“Bringing in the Sheaves”
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Assume that you have noticed that Sarah and John have not attended church or Sabbath School for the past three weeks. They were baptized three months ago and were excited about the impact God had made in their lives. You hope that someone has contacted them. You hope that they are not discouraged. You think about visiting them in their home, but you are not sure about it. As you think about making the visit, waves of fear come over you, so you put it off. You say to yourself, “Maybe I’ll mention it to the pastor or the Sabbath School teacher. One of them can make the visit.”
However, think how much better it would be if you made the visit. It would let Sarah and John know that the members of the class/church miss them. They expect a visit from the pastor or their Sabbath School teacher, but when other members contact them, they begin to realize that the church family really does miss them.Here are the issues that usually make us afraid. [Audience participation ideas: The following list can be made into a PowerPoint presentation. You can ask each audience member to silently decide which of these is his or her particular concern. You can ask someone who has overcome one of these fears to give a short testimony.]
- We are afraid we will not know what to say.
- We are afraid we will do a bad job or embarrass ourselves and them.
- We are afraid of the “unknown” lurking behind the door.
- We are afraid that Sarah and John may raise a biblical question and we will not know the answer.
- We are afraid that there may be a problem in their home or that someone in the church hurt their feelings and we won’t know how to react.
Do you notice that all of the issues that bring fear are because of us? We center on ourselves rather than on the people we are going to visit. Every one of the listed issues that cause fear may come true in a given visit. However, if you go with the purpose of being a friend and letting the person you visit know that you missed them at church or that you are stopping by to get better acquainted, they will be glad that you care.
If a biblical question or problem comes up in the conversation and you do not know the answer or do not want to address it, simply tell the person that you do not have the answer and that it would be a good question to ask the pastor or Sabbath School teacher.
You do not have to address all of the issues that may be bothersome to someone. In fact, there are some life problems/issues that should be left to the pastor and professional Christian counselors to deal with. Just be a friend.
One thing I have found by personal experience is that the people being visited are strangers only for one visit. By the second visit they are acquaintances, and by the third visit they are friends. After the initial visit the subsequent ones are much easier.
There are some Bible promises that I personally have found helpful for these situations. I claim the promises and ask God to apply them to my life. Here are some of them: Acts 18:9, 10—“Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you” (NKJV); Psalm 118:6—“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (NKJV); John 14:27— “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (NKJV).
[At this point, give the Sabbath School members three minutes to write down on a piece of paper the name of someone they have missed at church or Sabbath School, or someone who needs encouragement. Have a season of intercessory prayer specifically for the persons listed; then develop plans to make a friendship visit to these people within the next two weeks.]
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists