This is a WIDE OPEN opportunity!
Retired or part time ministers could work on developing relationships and skills for conducting funerals and make a real impact for God’s Kingdom.
Funeral home directors report the following:
- The unchurched population is high. Sometimes the unchurched population is open to having a minister participate.
- Funeral homes need ministers they can trust.
- An impersonal attitude toward the family and the funeral event decreases the trust that a funeral home director has in a minister. Conversely, a caring attitude increases trust.
- A minister who is overly concerned about how much they’ll get paid for officiating a funeral loses impact.
- Caring ministers who take time to meet with the family and follow through with good people skills and a loving heart without caring about their financial payment are seeing God use them to make a difference in families that otherwise might not have visited a church.
Shepherd’s Fold plans to offer training for how to get connected to local funeral homes and reach out to families experiencing loss.
Until then, click here for a great article about best practices for a minister to conduct a funeral.
Highlights from this article:
A good funeral requires the sensitivity and comfort only a minister can provide. Families have just lost loved ones, either tragically taken or have suffered through long illnesses. They are searching for comfort. No matter how old a person has lived or how long a family has prepared for the departure of their loved ones, it is still “too sudden” for many family members.
The role of the pastor is vital during these crucial times. A pastor’s role is more than just speaking words of comfort, it is listening and being there when family members need you the most. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you along the way. The most important thing you can do is to allow them to know you care and are there for them.
Listed below are ideas that may be able to help you during this time. Again, allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you prepare for this homecoming ceremony.
- Meet with the family. If you are not familiar with the person you are conducting the service for, get to know them. Spend time with the family. Allow them to share things about the deceased person. It is good for people to talk. It allows people to grieve and honor that person. Visit with friends of the deceased and ask them for special stories or memories of the deceased, this will help you get a better idea of who the person was and give you materials for your message.
- Personalize your message! This is not a 3 part sermon. Use stories and illustrations that family and friends have shared. Funerals are more about the living and helping them. It is also a time to honor their loved one.
- Look at all the elements that go into a service and see what the family wants to include and not include. These are the elements, other pastors they want to be involved in the service, special songs, music, poems, or scripture readings, obituary, testimonials, sermon, and benediction.
- Decide on scripture readings that either meant something to the person who died or that you think will bring comfort to the family. In some cases you will want to use both of these types of scriptures.
- Before the actual service, have a special prayer with the family.
- Be sure you pronounce all family names properly. Go over the obituary beforehand and ask family members how to pronounce other family member’s names. Make notes to ensure the correctness.
- A short message at the cemetery is customary. If more than one minister conducts the service with you, allow them to give scripture, recite a poem, or perhaps sing a hymn. Provide a short message, such as reading Psalms 23 and sharing additional words of comfort. Most ministers suggest a message of about 5 minutes.
- Be sure to shake hands and give encouraging words with immediate family members. Remain to greet others and be available for family members. Give them your card and ask them to call if they need you.
- Talk slowly and be sensitive of their loss. People grieve differently. Offer the assurance and comfort through Jesus Christ.
- Check back with family members the days before the funeral as well as after the funeral. Allow them to know you and tell them that the church cares for their feelings and loss.
- Provide materials/books on grieving if needed. Provide counseling or suggest a Christian counselor if needed.