Church Visitation Committee Agenda for Sessional Visits

The following questions are provided to the sessions of our presbytery for three reasons. First, these questions can serve as a tool to assist you in your own internal review and evaluation. Second, by your thinking through these questions prior to our visit we can have a fruitful and focused discussion and keep the meeting short and sweet. Finally, this information will assist the CVC in fulfilling our mandate and writing an accurate report to the presbytery.

  1. Worship and evangelistic ministry of the church
    1. Worship: describe your liturgy
      1. Content (elements of worship)
      2. Structure (arrangement of elements)
      3. Style (i.e., traditional, contemporary, blended)
    2. The pastor’s method of preaching the “whole counsel of God” (and the elders’ estimate as to how effectively he does this in his preaching)
    3. Other means of teaching (i.e., non-pulpit)
    4. Evangelism: how conceived and executed in the life of the church
      1. In the pastor’s pulpit ministry
      2. In methods of outreach into the community
      3. In the broader program of the church
  2. Administration of the sacraments
    1. Baptism
      1. Preparation of parents for baptism
      2. Number of non-communicant baptized members and communicant members at the end of last calendar year
      3. Number of covenant and adult baptisms during the same year
    2. The Lord’s supper
      1. FrequencyPreparation for each observance
      2. Method of fencing the table
      3. Proportion of baptized members making public profession of faith
  3. Administrative discipline (that which is “concerned with the maintenance of good order in the government of the church in other than judicial cases,” BD I.2)
    1. Session’s concept of what is embraced in this category (i.e., order in the church, good organization, committees, records kept, regular session and congregational meetings, sessional oversight, family visitation, keeping the people informed of session actions)
    2. How do pastor and session consciously exercise this discipline?
  4. Judicial discipline (cf. BD I.3)
    1. Cases in prospect
    2. Cases in progress
    3. Cases completed since the last CVC visit
    4. Problems emerging out of the exercise of judicial discipline (e.g., Do the subjects of discipline accept the authority of the church? How is public pronouncement made?)
  5. Provision for the pastor (that he may be “free from worldly care and employment,” FG XXII.9)
    1. Present salary
    2. Housing provision
    3. Medical allowance
    4. Social Security supplement (what proportion, if any?)
    5. Provision for his retirement
    6. Mileage allowance
  6. Supplemental matters
    1. Session, how do you encourage your pastor?
    2. Pastor, do you feel encouraged?
    3. Pastor, are you taking a day off each week?
    4. Are there any matters that you would like to discuss with the committee?
    5. Do you need advice from the committee, or from presbytery as a whole?