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Funerals and What to do!

​If you are involved within Christ's ministry then eventually you may be asked to take a funeral for a stranger, loved one or a friend. To minister's shame many take this time as an opportunity to evangelize rather than bring comfort to those who mourn to help them say goodbye and celebrate a life that is gone, while evangelism can play a part do you really know what its definition truly is?


A funeral is an opportunity to


1. Get to know someone’s life which has passed
2. Celebrate a life given by God even if they had rejected or did not know Him
3. Spend time with a mourning family and provide them with hope and consolation
4. Be a catalyst to help those who mourn

5. Be sympathetic and encourage the mourners to talk about the life that has gone

6. Give them hope (see Structure of the Address below)

If you do not feel confident or cannot cope with the emotional roller-coaster that is the mourning and funeral process, then do not be afraid to say so and be prepared to cry out for help if you become overwhelmed.

Chris' first funeral was a very public affair and Chris sought help and guidance from others especially those who had conducted many funerals, it says in God's word that plans fail for the lack counsel (Proverbs 15 Verse 22)

If you receive a call from someone who has just been bereaved here are some basic steps that can be taken: -


1. Get the professionals in, the undertakers who can start to take the family through what needs to be done
2. Organize a visit to the family to gather information about the life of those who have gone, you may have to open a dialogue to ensure that you get it right, don't expect to learn about a life at one sitting
3. Try to be sensitive to any issues within the family, if someone is reluctant to talk or join in with the planning a separate visit with that individual or individuals may be required. Families are not simple organic structures and while some members receive love others may have been poorly treated
4. Once you have some idea of what is to be said at the service then produce a draft and give the family time to examine it so changes can be made 
5. Help the family structure an order of service if required

Structure of the Address

The service conducted needs an address which needs to include these items below: -

1. A Commendation of the deceased

2. Words of Comfort to the bereaved

3. The Challenge of the Gospel, not spoken as if it were a sermon but as a natural part of the talk in which people are clearly told what Jesus offers to all

4. Hope for the future for those who know Jesus

Suggested readings
 

God's word to many is of great comfort and help but where do you start? Suggested readings from the Bible are given below (these will mean much who know the word but nothing to those who are strangers to it:

Psalms 8; 16; 23; 27; 30; 42: 1-8; 43: 3-5; 46; 90; 103; 116; 118: 14-21,28-29; 121;130; 138; 139: 1-14, 17-18,23;
John 5: 19-25; 6:35-40; 11: 17-27;
Romans 8: 18, 28, 35, 37-39;
I Corinthians 15: 1-4,20-26,35-38,42-44,50,53-58;
2 Corinthians 4: 7-18; 4: 16-5: 18;
Philippians 3:10-21;
I Thessalonians 4: 13-18;
I Peter 1: 3-9;
Revelation 7: 9-17.

 

Locations 

 

The work required varies depending upon the location of the funeral or activity required: -

 

1. The interment of ashes, very informal, but try to get those who attend to be involved by saying together The Lord's Prayer.

2. The interment of the body, this is a formal affair and can be over before you know it, you will need a clear, loud voice you must not mumble, prepare what is to be said and ensure what you are using has been laminated or covered in plastic in case it rains

3. Church service, very formal but do not allow it to become maudlin (see suggestions above)

4. Cremation, very formal but the atmosphere is one of a production line because of those who waiting to come in for the next service, keep to time but allow small gaps for remembrance

I would like to thank Revd. Clive Knight for his invaluable advice, insight and input to this page.

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