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Q. Can you give me some guidance on planning my funeral?

I was reading one of your posts on bible.org, and you mentioned funeral services. I'm curious if you have your funeral service messages available? I'm planning my funeral and I would like to have a gospel message, which would include a warning to unbelievers about where they will spend eternity. Thank you for your ministry!

Answer

Dear Friend,

This link will take you to a number of funerals on bible.org, a number of which I did. https://bible.org/gsearch?search=funerals

I might also suggest (as I have to a few) that you video tape a segment to be shown at your funeral.

The great danger that causes me much grief is that too much attention is paid to the goodness of the deceased, to the point that one might wonder if the speaker is talking about someone else. One of our church members would say to this: "Too much man; too little God." While loved ones want to give a tribute to one that they love, and to call attention to God's work in their lives, the unbeliever in the audience may, sadly, come to this conclusion: "Of course that person is going to heaven, because they were so good."

I usually split the funeral into two segments. The first is a biographical segment. People who attend a funeral usually familiar with a portion or segment of the deceased person's life (work, entertainment, sports, family, etc.). I try to give a broader picture of the person's whole life. And, as a part of that, I seek to give the person's testimony for them, seeking to show how God brought them to faith.

But in the second segment (usually after a hymn or song), I focus on the audience, and I speak to them about death, and what follows. (I like to use Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 to set the stage.) In this segment, the focus is on the person in the audience, and their impending death and eternal future. The gospel is central.

I will sometimes say something like this at the beginning of this segment, "We have talked about _____ and have said many good things about him/her. We are confident that ______ is now in heaven, in the presence of God. But this is not because of the good works he/she has done; it is because of the work that God has done in the person of Jesus Christ. I know _________ would want me to make this clear to you, because someday you, too, will experience death and what comes after." Anyway, warn whoever does your service not to make so much of you that they leave the wrong impression about why you are going to heaven.

Blessings,

Bob Deffinbaugh

Related Topics: Evangelism, Funerals, Issues in Church Leadership/Ministry

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