One of the many privileges of being an FBC minister is the opportunity I get to visit our church members who are hospitalized. When I was a 24 year old starting out in my first job as youth minister I was afraid and intimidated by having to go on hospital visits. Rev. George Haile was my pastor and he took me and showed me how to approach it. Here are some tips that I have learned during my years in ministry:
- Always go to the front desk of the hospital and have the appropriate name. Please note a lot of adults go by their middle name so it is important to know the patients first name. The law prevents them from giving you the room number if you don’t have their name correct.
- It depends on what type of illness or sickness the patient has, but it is not a bad idea to check with a nurse before you go into the room and make sure it is a good time to visit. The patient might be sleeping, resting, getting a bath, or in the restroom. I have knocked many a time and walked back out quickly, because it is not the best moment to visit.
- As you check on your friend or loved one, please try not to stay too long unless they want you to. 15 minutes is usually a long enough time. Don’t wear out your welcome. Remember they need rest or they are in pain and need time etc… Use your best judgment as you go.
- If a doctor or nurse comes in to assist them, I typically step out and come back in when they are done. If it is a family friend etc. they may not mind you being in there at that time, but use your best judgment as you can.
- I always try to see if there is something I can do for them in their room. Get them water, ice, or whatever they may need. Hospitals are not always the most comfortable place, so anything you can do to serve them will be appreciated.
- Make sure it is ok with the patient to add them to a church-wide prayer list or even to mention they in the hospital at all. Some people prefer the privacy and don’t want visitors or mention. Please respect their request and you can let the church staff know that they do not want visitors and they can spread the word for you.
- As you depart, it is awesome if you can have a word of prayer with them. Some people choose a scripture that is on their hearts to share and then pray. You don’t have to memorize it or be the most eloquent speaker, it will mean a lot to them regardless. If you are not comfortable with either, please let them know you are praying for them.
Well I hope those are a couple of helpful hints for you. Don’t be afraid to visit and be yourself as you visit.
It is important to visit friends in the hospital to show them your love and support. FBC has a ministry that could always use help to bring flowers to patients who appreciate the symbol of our affection and prayers.
James 5:14 says: Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Visiting hospitals can become one of your ministries. I find it very rewarding and I hope you will too.
Ps. You don’t have to go alone, a buddy with you is perfectly fine too!!