The Funeral as an Outreach (Plus Helpful Forms)
By Rev. Jerry R. Weinzerl
THREE THINGS TO CONSIDER:
1. Do you have a heart for people, lost people? You can only impact those you have a heart for.
2. Are you motivated by the right things? (Love, gospel message, to help hurting people, etc.)
3. Can you see beyond your own traditions to reach people where they are? (especially when asked
to do a funeral for someone you have never met and are totally unsure of their spiritual condition)
KEY SCRIPTURES: (for defining the purpose of your service to the family)
Matthew 5:13-16 – A reminder to “let your light shine that they see your good works with the result of glorifying the Father!”
Isaiah 55:11 & Romans 1:16 – These are not necessarily Scriptures you share at the funeral. These are to remind you that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation and that the Word will not return void. I’m not a big fan of “preaching” people into heaven at a funeral. I’m going to put the Word of God out there and let the Spirit of God do the work.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-13-18 – This Scripture get the seed of the Word into their ears and maybe their hearts regarding their belief in Jesus Christ.
Psalm 23 – Why do I use this? Because it’s the family/friends that are left behind that are truly in the “…valley of the shadow of death…” and God said he is there with you!
The Lord’s Prayer
This isn’t the time to teach about the real purpose of Jesus teaching them to pray. Most people at the funeral will be familiar with this prayer and sometimes this “religious familiarity” will bring comfort.
Our Lord in heaven, as we have come together on this day to remember the life and love of ____________________________, our feeling of loss can be hard to express as we honor his/her _____ years of life. Many aspects of his/her life were filled with a richness that love, commitment and dedication brings. I ask you God, that the words spoken in these next few moments would be those that accurately reflect your heart, for I want your heart to be made known……your care, compassion and love for these people. Holy Spirit, I ask that as we remember this one that has entered heaven’s rest, minister to those that remain, bring them comfort, bring them peace………..In Jesus name, AMEN.
As we remember the life of __________________________________ born ____________________in __________________ and has gone to be with the Lord, _________________ 200____……We are faced with life in a different context. Although ___________________________ enjoyed a life surrounded by a family and friends, (As you have experienced in this loss), we see once again that life can be filled with such amazing / often difficult contradictions… Happiness / Sadness, Peace / Turmoil, Incredible Joy / Unbearable Sorrow
The writer of Ecclesiastes understood this (Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
1 To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.
Some of these things we understand; some leave feelings of emptiness and despair, even loneliness.
There is a misconception that there is an answer available for every event in life, an answer that we can someday come to understand.
1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
1Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
1 "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
I want to leave you with this exhortation:
1. Life is precious, make the most of every moment.
2. Take time to enjoy what you have, especially each other!
3. Take the best aspects of _________________’s life and live them out in your own……….then a part of him/her can live on through you.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
* Then pray the Lord’s Prayer again.
Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Prayer: “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust, but the spirit is with you, O God, the giver of all life. And we look for the resurrection of the dead according to your promise. For he that believes shall never die.
We trust in your care and in your mercy and now commit this loved one __________________________ into your hands. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Committal Prayers: (circle one) Cemetery Funeral Home
Things to mention / check:
Did you ask for people that might want to share?
Arrange for songs to be played
Extra chair if someone else is speaking
Others Speaking? _____________________________________
Deceased Name: ______________________________________
· Spouse: Married ___________ years. (Month_____Year_____)
· Great Grandchild(ren):
· Great Great Grandchild(ren):
· MILITARY: ___________________________________________
· WORK HISTORY/RETIRED FROM: _______________________
Church Funeral Preparation
Day/time of funeral:__________________________
Name of Deceased: _________________________________
Nick-Name (if any)__________________________________
Age at Death_____________Born_______________
Funeral Date / Time_________________________________
Location of Funeral Service___________________________
Cemetery Name / City__________________________________________
Committal Service: Yes or No
If yes, location: _______________________________________________
Names of Survivors:
Grand / Great-Grand Children______________________________
Work History / Retired From__________________________________
Clubs / Groups / Community Service ______________________________________________________
Stories / Likes / Dislikes:
How would you like this person to be remembered?