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Yes, you knew that you should make that sick-visit but you postponed it. I know the feeling.

But you heard the wise adage: the visit was made because you scheduled it.

People who are sick often cope with more than the pain of illness. Some are family-related, some work-related, many have to do with the future. People who are sick tend to worry some. Sickness often affects faith experiences.

So your visit will be appreciated. You will bless that home-bound member in your district when you stop by.

Here are some things elders have found could enhance the quality of their visit:

  • It's usually best to make an appointment before you stop by.
  • As you enter the sick room, make eye contact with the patient before looking around.
  • Wait with the hand-shake till the patient extends his/her hand.
  • Inquire about the illness but avoid pressing for details. (Remember you are not a medical experts).
  • Don't refer to similar illnesses you know of among your acquaintances (least your own).
  • Wait with sitting down till the patient invites you do.
  • Listen carefully to what he/she tells you about the nature of his/her illness, but be modest in your inquiries. (Make notes of the visit as soon as you come home).
  • Remember that this person may have additional problems and worries. Problems of faith may be real too. Don't be “teacherish”, but in a simple prayer lay these struggles before the Lord. Reading a few Bible verses will always be helpful. 
  • Avoid giving the impression that you are in a hurry but keep the visit fairly short; try to keep it under half an hour.
  • …and remember lengthy sickbeds need regular repeat visits.

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

  • What are some things as elders have found that enhance the quality of your visits?
  • If you have received a visit while sick, what advice would you offer to an elder?


Great ideas!  For anyone in the Chicagoland area, Christian Service Ministries invites you to a free seminar led by Chaplains Corky DeBoer and Betty Vander Laan Feb. 27, 2014, 7:30-9:00 pm at Trinity Christian College.  "Tips on how to visit someone in a hospital or nursing home."  


I suggest  that we use James 5:14 and Gal 6:2 as guidelines...while I respect Pastor Lou's long service to the church and the Kingdom I find his approach sterile and to much "decently and in good order" Yes! Annointing is Biblical!... I'd rather that we cry with them, and hold them if possible, laugh with them when appropriate and hold their hands as they take their last breath...and no, I don't always write notes when I get home...While phoning for an appointment is a common courtesy it sometimes just doesn;t work and why would an elder delay making a sick/death call?  Perhap's we should listen to the new Pope's admonition to his priests - get out of your churches and "get messy"  maybe all of us need to "get messy" in our broken world try to bring healing from a Risen Savior


Louis Tamminga

April17, 2014

I appreciate Smitty's appeal to James 5:14 and Gal. 6:2. The first text bids the sick to call the elders to pray over them and anoint them with oil.  The second tells believers to carry each other's burdens. Let's heed these invitations to the letter. Yes, there will be situations where it is proper to cry with the suffering and laugh with them too. 

What I fail to see is how these texts and this laudable approach relate to the Pope's advice to his priests to get out of their churches and "getting messy" in this broken world, and that  "all of us need to get messy in our broken world."

We as elders have our districts and among the members will be some who are confined to beds of illness. We must visit them. We will not just come waltzing in and hug and laugh as we see fit. Rather, we visit with grace, sensitivity and courtesy  We will come at a time that suits their routine,. And when making calls in the neighborhood such preparations will even more be a necessity. 

If I must one day keep to my bed because of illness, I would hope that my elder would honor me that way.

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