Welcome to The Church of God!
The Church of God, International Offices located in Cleveland, Tennessee, is the worldwide headquarters of The Church of God. Our vision and mission is to keep and guard the truth, to evangelize the whole world with the full Gospel, to gather God's sheep into one Body, and to strive for the perfection of the saints.
This website is the home of The Church of God in the state of Alabama. It is our desire and endeavor to see the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of His Church grow and flourish throughout our state.
A Message by our State Overseer:
House to House Visitation – Always Be Pleasant & Wear a Smile
In light of our General Overseer’s effort to revive the “New Home Prayer Meeting,” asking each minister to have one and report to his office, the following message by M. A. Tomlinson (WWM, Nov. 25, 1961, p. 2) is being reprinted for this issue of the Alabama Evening Light. May it bless and inspire us all!
—James R. Horne, State Overseer
“And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:5-
This is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished by visiting homes, and there are other Scriptures to show that Jesus did some of His work in homes. Paul followed the example that Jesus set and declared that he “kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house.” Then he instructed us, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
Zacchaeus had heard of the miracles and wonderful works Jesus had done and was interested enough to come out for a better look, but if Jesus had been too busy or too unconcerned to go into Zacchaeus’ home and give him personal attention and instruction, it is possible that Zacchaeus would have never been converted. Zacchaeus was a man of considerable wealth, but because of his position as a tax collector, he was not very well respected by those in the community, and some murmured because Jesus went to his home. Jesus was not interested in his social position or his reputation in the community, but He was concerned about his need for salvation. Because of the compassion and special interest that Jesus showed, Zacchaeus became a follower of the Lord.
House to house visitation is one of the most effective ways of building the Church of God. It may require more effort, boldness, and patience than some other methods, but it is the results that count, and house to house visitation, properly carried out, will bring results. It brought results for Jesus in His work, and it was effective enough for Paul to use it in his ministry, and it is effective today when we put it into operation. In the prayer meeting campaign that was conducted in the spring of 1960, a number of ministers reported that the families in whose homes they conducted prayer meetings have since been won to the Church. Some ministers reported that souls were saved in their prayer meetings and have already gone to meet the Lord. Those souls would have been lost if someone had not taken the message of salvation to them…
The commission is to go. If we just preach in our churches, there are some who may never hear the message, but if we put forth the effort and go to them, many of them will be saved and won to the Church. Our responsibility is to get the message to them. If we have to go to their homes to fulfill this responsibility, then that is what we must do.
Planning and preparation are important in visitation work. If a minister waits for a convenient time to visit new people, the time may never seem to come. This work should be planned in with his regular schedule. It might be good for a pastor to set a goal to contact a certain number of new homes each week or each month. He could try this number for a while and then when he sees the result of this labor and feels that he can do more, the number could be increased as time goes along. He may want to set aside a certain portion of each week to spend in making contacts among new people. If we have some organization or system, usually we are able to use our time to better advantage than if we just go about a project in a hit or miss fashion. The visits should be made at a time that would be convenient for those visited. If a minister sees that his visit has come at an inconvenient time, it would be best to cut the visit short and arrange to come back later.
Prayer is very important in preparation for visitation. A minister should seek God until he feels that the Lord can work through him to make the visit a blessing. He should have something to give the people. Peter and John did not have silver and gold, but they had what the lame man needed. A minister should be so filled with the power of God that his visits will be a real blessing in every home. Then God can work through him to supply the encouragement that is needed, and he can present the message of salvation in a manner that will cause those in the home to desire it. If we consecrate ourselves to God, He is able to direct us to the homes that need help, and He is able to bless us with something to give them when we go there.
In visiting homes, show a genuine interest in the family and its needs. Be sincere. Let them know that your most important concern is their spiritual welfare. Be moved with compassion. If you are disinterested or insincere, they will be the first to know, and the visit will not be effective. Jesus looked upon the multitudes and was moved with compassion. It was His compassion and personal interest that brought results when he went into Zacchaeus’ home. This same compassion and love—“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”—will help us to be effective in winning those we visit.
One of the most important things to keep in mind in visiting homes is that we represent Christ and His Church. Many of the people we visit may have never known about the Church, and the only opinion they have is the impression they gain from our visit. Be pleasant and always wear a smile. Never let them see anything in your manner of conduct that they can justly criticize. Never argue about the scripture or any other subject. Never criticize other religious groups or individuals. Stick to the doctrine and teachings of the Church of God, but do this in a spirit of gentleness. The doctrine of the Church is not harsh, and we cannot teach it to others by using a harsh spirit.
While visiting homes is a good time to remember the instructions of Paul, “Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Of course, these instructions are given to guide our everyday conduct, but we should be especially careful that we are examples of the children of God when we go into a home where they are not members of the Church. Be careful of your conversation. Spend your time talking about the blessings of God and His goodness rather than making idle conversation about frivolous subjects. It may be all right to talk about the weather, automobiles or politics, but when you talk about these subjects, you are using valuable time that you could spend in promoting the work of the Lord. Talking about the weather and politics will not bless your soul, and it will not bless the souls of those you are visiting. Keep your conversation such as would edify the people and glorify God and your visitation will be far more effective.
Don’t leave without giving them some of our literature… We have tracts that explain the teachings and doctrine of the Church… Have a good prayer with the folks while you are there. Invite them to pray with you, but if they are unsaved, you pray for them. Many times thoughts expressed in prayer are more impressive than what you say directly to the individual. When they hear you tell the Lord of their needs, they are again reminded that they need salvation and the blessings of God.
The work of our pastors and other ministers includes many things. One of these is house to house visitation. It can be neglected, but if it is, the work will suffer. It can be promoted, and when it is, the local church will grow and prosper. We are responsible for the souls of men.
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