Unfortunately, it seems, for many pastors and churches, the role of pastoral visits seems to have diminished. And yet, having one's pastor, shepherd or elder visit in the home is such an essential part of ministry. On a Sunday morning, a pastor can't address each person's or family's issues and needs, nor can they relationally connect with each individual.
Having a pastor visit believers one-by-one is Biblical. For instance, when Paul spoke to the church leaders at Ephesus he told them to follow the example of his ministry (Acts 20:18-35). He reminded them that he had preached both in public and in private:
“I … have taught you publicly, and from house to house”.
This same pattern is in Paul's letters in that he not only wrote to churches, but to individuals, such as Philemon, Timothy and Titus personally. Also Jesus himself preached in public, but also ministered to individuals on their own, sometimes in their homes (e.g. the woman of Samaria, John 4:3; the man born blind, John 9:1; Mary and Martha, Luke 10:38).
Needless to say, as pastors conduct these visits, there is one essential element that should not be avoided, per the advice of Derek Prime and Alistair Begg, from their book "On Being A Pastor".
Prayer should be part of every pastoral visit.
Once we make it our habit people will always expect us to pray with them, and they will be disappointed if we do not.
Praying together should be seen as a principal purpose of a pastoral visit.
(ht: Blog of Dan)