Spiritual Inventory for Pastoral Visits
“Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” 1 Peter 5:2-4
The Apostolic example: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:28-31 “But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” 1 Thess. 2:7-8
These questions are for the purpose of affording pastors the best possible opportunity to counsel and love their people. Please don’t just listen–help them to grow! We suggest that you visit your people regularly, by appointment. In order to secure the most honest responses, consideration should be given to whether or not some or all of the questions should be answered individually or with the entire family present.
1. At this point in your life do you have genuine assurance from God that you are converted, or do you have some reason to question? Please explain your answer. Perhaps it would help if you could tell me where your assurance lies on a scale of one to five, one being no assurance and five being absolute assurance. What would you say are the evidences of fruit which would demonstrate that you are truly regenerate?
[If they answer merely that they prayed a prayer, made a decision, walked an aisle, etc., ask for more solid evidence.]
2. In order to help you, I am interested in finding out if you are regularly meditating on the Word of God and praying, both individually and as a family. What is your present devotional procedure personally, and how regularly do you spend quality time with God? Do you have family worship, either with the whole family or as a couple? What is your method and frequency?
[Relate your own Bible reading and family worship pattern. Suggest a personal retreat for recovering devotional vitality.]
3. The believer is capable of committing any sin, even though the Christian does not sin with the same apathy and rebellion of a non-believer. He is a new creature who nonetheless struggles against the sin principle which is within him. What are the sins which most often bother you these days? Because believers are repenters at heart, and have the Spirit of God within, there is hope that these sins can be dealt with and overcome. I would love to help with practical counsel and prayer.
4. Are there any relationship difficulties between you and others within your family or the church, or even outside of the church? Is there a wall built up because of unforgiveness which makes it uncomfortable for you to be around any person?
5. Are there new levels of personal discipline, spiritual growth, or service, either within or outside the church, to which God is calling you? In what ways do you think I could help you become what God wants you to be?
6. Are you concerned about anything in the life of the church which I should be aware of? I would like your input on just how you feel the church is developing both spiritually and in its practices.
[Be extremely interested and gain understanding. The Lord may reveal something very important as you remain humble and receptive.]
CCW offers several tools free of charge which will aid you in shepherding your people, some for assigning to the people and some for bettering your own understanding. Consider keeping appropriate items on hand as you make your visits.
Copyright Jim Elliff, April, 1995; revised August 21, 2021