Terrible, terrible person to quote, I'm sure, but Woody Allen had a point. When it comes to successful ministry, a great part of it is showing up. Showing up at the hospital when one in your 'sphere of influence' is sick. Showing up at the funeral home, where loss is felt keenest. Showing up at a members home when his wife has left him. Showing up at a preachers house who is discouraged. 80 percent of success is just showing up.
Set visitation goals for yourself. Stay connected to your people emotionally. When you sense someone is down, send them a card in your own hand-writing. When an important milestone is passed, recognize it publicly - "We are so proud of Angie for graduating college this week..." "2 years ago, John had open-heart surgery, and now look at him - serving more now than ever!" Details matter. Make it a point to remember names. Ask good questions - as a general rule, people love talking about themselves.
When people begin to miss, let them know you missed them.
Next time, I want to talk to you about one of the hardest subjects pastors face - setting boundaries, healthy boundaries in pastoral ministry.