Monday, February 27, 2012

Preparing an Obituary and Funeral Service; Part 2 of 3

Other possible comments in an Obituary(especially for a longer obituary to be distributed to just family and close friends):

1. Hobbies / Sports / special interests

2. Family

3. Favorite Bible Verse(s)

4. Salvation & Baptism. Who baptized them? Where? Who led them to the Lord?

5. Places of service in the church

6. Cause of death.

7. Favorite Hymn(s), poem, etc.

8. A favorite story or two, humorous or serious, about the person.

9. Pall Bearers

A photo copy on good paper of a newspaper obituary will last longer than the paper (newsprint) from the newspaper. Always include newspaper name, city & state, date.

Don’t spend extravagantly. Just have a nice, respectful funeral. Always have a Christian message and music (2 or 3 hymns) at the funeral. You may want a hymn to play before the beginning of the Memorial Service or during the Recessional. 

Print obituary information and order of service (bulletin) to hand out at the funeral. Include an appropriate Bible verse or two. Much of this could also be done ahead of time. 

Good Funeral Songs:
Jesus Paid It All, My Savior First Of All/I Shall Know Him, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Abide With Me, He The Pearly Gates Will Open, Sweet By And By, Beyond The Sunset, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Beulah Land/Squire Parsons, The Son Will Still Be Shining In Glory Land/Parsons, Face To Face With Christ My Savior, Victory In Jesus, How Great Thou Art, Because He Lives, Only A Sinner Saved by Grace/Gray, Sheltered In The Arms Of God, Rock Of Ages, Going Home/Gaither, Farther Along, Never Grow Old, When We All Get To Heaven, Amazing Grace, When We See Christ/It Will Be Worth It All, My Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast/O Come Angel Band; Saved By Grace/I Shall See Him Face To Face; I Will Rise. 

You may have to look in old Hymnals to find some of these songs. The Funeral Home or your church may have them. You may also find them at or itunes.
Good recorded music by Tennessee Ernie Ford, Gaither Trio, Marion Warren, George Beverly Shea, Guy Penrod, and many others. 

Really, most any good Christian Hymn or Song would be appropriate at a funeral service. Most any song in the Baptist Hymnal (LifeWay, 2008) would be appropriate.

General Order of a Baptist or Christian Funeral Service: 
1. Hymn 
2. Obituary, Scripture & Prayer 
3. Hymn 
4. Funeral Message, Closing Prayer 
5. Recessional

If you have more than one minister officiating, have one bring the memorial / funeral sermon, the other give the Obituary, Scripture and Prayer. 

My funeral sermons are brief, about eight or ten minutes. Unless it is an unusual situation, the service should be short, a total of about 30 minutes or less. 

Hymns or photos can also be played just before, and / or just after the memorial service.

What do you pay the preacher? That depends on how far he has traveled, and what you can afford. Keep in mind you have paid the funeral home, so if you can, give a worthy honorarium to the pastor. If you are not a preacher, you will never know the emotional and spiritual strain put on a preacher in a funeral service; believe me, he earns whatever you may pay him. If you can’t afford it, tell him and he will understand; I never expect to be paid for preaching a funeral service, but appreciate it when they do. Nowadays preachers are often paid $100 or more, if the family can afford it.

If you are expecting the funeral home to pay the preacher, ask the preacher later if he was paid; the preacher will not come to you about it. I’ve seen a couple of funeral homes that told the family they would give an honorarium to the preacher, yet never did.

If requested, after the funeral many churches are glad to provide a meal at the church for the family. Providing a meal after the funeral is a great ministry to the family and friends. It provides a great way for the cooks and those who serve to use their gifts. The older I get, the more impressed I am with this ministry.

I sometimes copy the obituary, include the church name and address and a couple of appropriate Bible verses, and make photo copies available to the family at this funeral meal.  It may also include a detail or two the obituary left out.  Many appreciate having extra copies to keep or send to family.  It also leaves a Christian witness. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, February 27, AD 2012.

Part 2 of 3

Other Articles:
Preparing an Obituary and Funeral Service; Part 1
Saint Patrick of Ireland
Other articles in lower right margin.

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