What are 10 practical tools when visiting new parents in the hospital?

I had a very sweet time with the leadership and pastoral interns at Immanuel Baptist Church this past Friday.  A large part of what I was asked to do was talk about hospital visitation and caring for the sick and dying.  This was a very engaging group and we had a very fruitful time.  However, I realize there exists a tension when you teach about caring for the sick and dying in a very young church where there are not many who are dying.  Yes, there are always those of a younger generation who get sick, some die from cancer, some die very suddenly in a tragic accident, some have young children die, but typically when a pastor is caring for the sick and dying in his congregation, it is most commonly those of the older generation.

Therefore, the elders at Immanuel Baptist Church wisely asked me to inform these young men how they can engage in caring for folks in their church through hospital visitation, as they are a predominantly younger church.  I informed them that each of them could stay very busy with fruitful visitation in hospitals if they visited the parents of every baby born into their congregation.  I encouraged them to seize the few moments when going to the hospital to see someone is something they can celebrate.  In many cases, the birth of a new baby is one of those occasions.  At the times they are not, well even more reason to go and minister there.

Here are 10 practical tools to consider for those interested in engaging in this most important ministry in a young, growing congregation.  I commended these to the young men at Immanuel and I commend them to each of you also:

1)      Be mindful of the stress and lack of sleep of new parents.

2)      Be sensitive to the mother’s recovery.

3)      Introduce yourself to family in the room.

4)      Clean your hands.

5)      Hold the baby (if comfortable doing so).

6)      Enjoy it!

7)      Read Psalm 139:13-16.

8)      Pray for the parents.

9)      Plead for the soul of that child.

10)  Be aware of how long you stay (typically less than 20 minutes).

Here is a previous post that explains further a few of these practical tools that you might find helpful.  This kind of ministry can be a great way to get your “feet wet” in going to hospitals, getting comfortable in them, and preparing for those harder hospital visits that are certain to await every pastor going into an older, established church.

Posted in Hospital Visitation, Training for Ministry
6 comments on “What are 10 practical tools when visiting new parents in the hospital?
  1. Dave Cook says:

    Some hospitals also don’t feed the dad, so I often call ahead and ask if I can bring lunch for the family.

  2. Karina Sherwood says:

    Working in labor and delivery this is what I hear a lot when encouraging people to go see new parents in the hospital. ” They are so overwhelmed with people/family and the chaos of the new baby, I’ll just wait until things settle down to catch up with them.” This isn’t a direct quote from any one person, but represents a lot of the younger generations attitude toward this particular area of ministry. To be clear, I don’t think this is sinful, but do want to take an opportunity to echo Brian’s encouragement.
    To illustrate:
    I moved to Louisville 9 months pregnant with baby #2 and completely fried. I had my baby in hospital I didn’t know, with care takers that had no idea who I was or what I wanted and it was a very difficult time for my husband and I.
    I was for all intensive purposes invisible and alone. I grieved this while I held my newborn daughter in a gray, gloomy hospital room by myself because my husband was home taking care of our oldest. I was desperate for one visitor, just one face to help me see that God was good and we were gonna make it. After 24hrs in that room I asked my husband to come get me, the loneliness was suffocating.
    That night a local pastor my husband knew, (but I had never even met ) contacted my husband to ask if I’d had the baby and if so, if he could come see me. I was already home after leaving the hospital early. When my husband told me that Brian Croft, this local pastor I didn’t even know asked to come visit me in the hospital I started crying. Just knowing someone thought about me and wanted to visit me gave me hope and deep gratitude. I vividly remember every visitation I had In the hospital with my first baby and I will always remember, that when I thought I didn’t have a friend in the world who could come see me, God in His mercy and love laid it on the heart of one faithful pastor to think of me, show care and reach out. It was not a small thing.
    With benchmark moments in life you remember who showed up and I will forever be grateful for Brian Croft, who “showed up” when I thought no one knew or cared.
    All that to say, I realize not every new parent will be in the position my family was in, but they will be glad you came, you shared in their moment and displayed the love of Christ by doing so.
    Happy visiting,
    Team Sherwood

  3. Michael says:

    I would echo the sentiment about calling ahead and offering to bring food for eitehr mom or dad, or any thing else the new parents may need. Also, in relation to holding the baby, I believe that it is important to add that some parents, especially those first timers, may limit who they allow to hold the baby while in the hospital. I would say that it is important to express a desire to hold the baby or to accept an invitation to hold the baby without seeming “pushy”. As always great post.

  4. Seth says:

    Thank you for these. We just had our first two weeks ago. There were complications so our hospital stay was lengthened. One thing I really appreciated was when people would call and leave a voicemail and end it by saying, “Don’t call back. I just wanted you to know we were praying.” I listed some other ways people ministered to us as well here: http://www.scquest.org/hospital-stay-how-god-used-you-in-our-lives/

  5. Rachel says:

    Definitely ring ahead! But I find when in hospital for a birth of a baby the stays are so short you have to be pretty prompt in getting there but not too soon as Mums need recovery time!
    And about the issue of holding a baby please be careful with whooping cough affecting adults and passing onto children/babies you have to be careful.

4 Pings/Trackbacks for "What are 10 practical tools when visiting new parents in the hospital?"
  1. […] What are 10 practical tools when visiting new parents in the hospital? | Practical Shepherding […]

  2. […] 10 Practical tools when visiting new parents in hospital As someone who’s “expecting” to be on the receiving end in six weeks time, I’d add: If possible, phone ahead first and ask if it’s OK. […]

  3. […] 10 practical tools when visiting new parents in the hospital – Croft gives some good advice. Timely for us! […]

  4. […] What are 10 practical tools when visiting new parents in the hospital? | Practical Shepherding […]

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