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Module Four: Hospital/Shut-In Visitations

When church members/attendees are hospitalized or confined to their home, it is an important time of ministry. During these times of crisis, people are more open spiritually and they need the support, prayer, and ministry that the church and its leadership can offer.

Contact your church office, and let him/her know who is hospitalized. Leave the church office contact with the patient’s name, hospital, and a contact person’s phone number. Although you and your small group will be offering care, your pastors will want to be informed and involved.

As a small group/class leader, you and your small group/class members are primary individuals to minister to those in your small group/class who are hospitalized and/or shut in. You are all uniquely positioned to touch this person and his/her family through your personal ministry and involvement.

People who are hospitalized or homebound are usually weak physically and emotionally. At these times in their lives, they need pastoral ministry. That is, they need someone who can stand between them and God, conveying His love and strength. 

When you visit someone in the hospital or at home, your main goal is to let him or her know that you care and that God cares. If people feel loved and cared for, you've accomplished your major objective.


  • When you learn that someone in your small group/class has a major illness or an unexpected accident, contact them or their family as soon as possible. 

  • As you plan your visit, consider taking another small group/class member with you. Jesus sent His disciples out to minister two by two because this is an effective pattern. 

  • Before you make the visit spend five or ten minutes in prayer. God for any special instructions He has for you as you minister to them. Listen.

  • Do more listening than talking when you visit.

  • Listen for needs beyond the words that people say.

  • Pray with the person before you leave. You can initiate this by saying; “I’d like to pray with you before
    I go." 



  • Do not thoughtlessly share stories about your own illnesses or experiences of those close to you.

  • Do not say or imply that someone is sick because of his or her lack of faith.

  • Do not feel pressured to read Scripture. Share a verse or passage if it seems appropriate, but do not
    force it.

  • Do not stay too long. Ten to 15 minutes should serve as an average.

  • Do not go in a room if the door is closed. When this is the case, ask at the nurses' station to see if it is okay
    to enter.

  • Do not violate hospital policies, such as visiting hours.


  1. Someone is having surgery: 

    • Visit them earlier in the day or the evening before. In this way you will not be interrupted by or interfere with preparations for surgery.

    • Possibly read Psalms 121 to him/her. It recalls that God who watches over them "will not slumber nor sleep" (verse 4), and that "The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore" (verse 9).

  2. Someone has a baby: 

    • Do not visit the family immediately! Give them a night to rest before your visit.

    • Pray for this new life inviting the Holy Spirit to be active in preparing this child to receive Christ and to serve Him.

    • Invite God's blessing on the entire family and home.

  3. Someone is dying: 

    • Call your church ministry leader or Pastor Jim Hakes, 619.672.1290, immediately. Pastors want to be involved in ministry to the person and his or her family at this time.

    • Listen and care for people, resisting the temptation to argue with the feelings of denial and anger, which are natural phases of the grief process. Sit with people. Just be there. It's not what you say, but the fact that you were there that communicates concern at times like this.

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