Dr. Rast led a “Collegial Conversation” for all pastoral formation and deaconess students today after chapel. The topic was focused around visitation, which is central to both the pastoral ministry and diakonal service. Pastors and deaconesses need to visit and thereby come to know the people they shepherd or serve. In the words of Jesus, as recorded in John 10:2-5:
“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Being a new pastor or deaconess can be a struggle. “Though a congregation knows you by your confession,” Dr. Rast said, “you need to visit people so they come to recognize your voice.” He added, “Visitation will teach you what you need to preach and teach about.”
In the dining hall afterwards, students met in groups with their faculty mentors to discuss the topic further.