From Joel Beeke and Paul Smalley:
However, it’s a travesty of pastoral visitation to engage in nothing more than casual conversation. After listening and learning about what is going on in the lives of the people whom you visit, open your Bible, read some pertinent verses, provide pastoral wisdom and counsel, and pray with them. Go with them to the throne of grace and pour out your heart in holy desires for their temporal and eternal good.
(From Pastoring and the Art of Balance).
I love that they used Jeremiah 3:15 as one of their proof texts.
And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
The more I study Jeremiah, the more I find how applicable it is for today’s church. The very problems he faced in his day, we face in ours. When I preached from Jeremiah 23, “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” earlier in the year, I realized how the problems of the church today, were the problems in Israel’s history. There are far too many false teachers/shepherds who spout “peace, peace” but only bring destruction. The false teachers are men who have raised themselves up, and declared themselves experts on God. God has not called them, therefore they speak falsely on behalf of God, claiming “love, love” all the while bringing destruction on those who hear them.
The true shepherd feeds the flock with God’s word, not entertainment, not platitudes, not trickery. This sounds boring to many. But to the sheep, it’s manna from heaven.