Memorial Services - intense...

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Carolyn Dee, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Carolyn Dee

    Carolyn Dee
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    I am a woman and the leader of a nursing home ministry. Twice in the six years of doing this work, I've led memorial services for residents that died. I found the experiences to be soberly intense, important and terribly weighted with responsibility. Fortunately, in both cases the residents were saved and I used their testimony to weave in the Savior and the gospel.
    I said "intense" because my heart wants every resident (and staff) in attendance to hear the word and get saved. Doing memorial services are 'weighted with responsibility' because I am so anxious to say the right words that would be approved by the Lord - I fear misleading my audience. But in both cases, I informed my preacher of what was going on so he and others could pray for me.
    I just wanted to share this. Perhaps you have had similar experiences, as Pastor or layman. Let's share. [​IMG]
     
  2. SaggyWoman

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    Bless you in this work. I do not find it an easy work for me--I would much rather be with children on any given day. My prayers go out to you.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
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    I take those kind of services very seriously. A lady died who knew so many in the community where she lived. I did the funeral. She was truly a servant of God and served others as well. But I remember when I told of my relationship with her and how she came to Christ. Some of the people listening to me might as well shook their fist. Some others noticed too. I was told they were Mormons. Sometimes people just don't want to hear the truth. But sometimes I takes the harsh reality that we someday will be there meeting God when He demands our life from us. We will see Him face to face and will be accountable to Him only.

    On another occasion I did a funeral for a man who died who was not a Christian and present was a man who was my next door neighbor. I had witnessed to him and tried to be a good friendly neighbor but he never seemed to listen to spiritual things. But after I spoke the entire group of people did not move or say anything for about ten minutes. They were rough people. But God is at work among them. '

    Funerals are a great time to aid in healing the grieving and to tell the good news. To prepare I try to get together with the family a few days before and just let them tell me about the deceased. Some of my best sermons have been at funerals. My pastor who taught me how to do funerals has won many to Christ because of a funeral he did for someone.

    I did a funeral for a close friend of mine. It was quite easy and yet very hard. I knew him well enough to know his struggles and his heart. The great thing about that time was that I was able to share the struggles and commitments of a real person. The service lasted about two hours. Some people told things that me nor his wife even knew. It was a great time of healing and a great time for God to be glorified. I consider it a privilege to do a funeral anytime I am asked.

    When you do a wedding all eyes are on the bride. When you give a regular sermon who knows what the people are thinking. But when you do a funeral all eyes are on you. So get the facts right. If you don't know something just ask. I always try to go over the complete sermon with someone who knows the facts well. There have been times when I didn't quite have all the facts straight and it was good to have gone over the sermon with someone. I never tell stories that I don't know to be true. I will tell stories that I have been told and naming the source. I always ask first if I can say something I have been told. I might say the family said,".." I might say I know..." Never embellish the story or make the person look better than they really were. Be real.
     
  4. Carolyn Dee

    Carolyn Dee
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    Hello SaggyWoman - thank you for your input! Your work with children is no more or less important than my working with nursing home residents. Both are important works in the eyes of the Lord - as the song goes: "Little is much when the Lord is in it." Children are great to work with - they are pliable because of their age. I am helping out a Sunday School teacher and I see the weighty importance of teaching children because I perceive the seeds of a preacher in the eyes of one earnest young boy. Don't sell yourself short [​IMG] .

    Thank you GB93433 for your thoughts. Indeed, funerals seem to be the best time to preach the gospel - the unsaved are a captive audience :D ! I think you are right that all eyes are on the preacher and not a bride. Funerals are a great way of reaching those who normally refuse to step inside a church. I think we can heartily agree with each other that we should not concern ourselves with negative reactions (fist-shaking Mormons, etc) but to cleave the God's Word, preach it plainly and let the Holy Spirit works in the hearts. We are called to obey and to leave fruit-work to God.

    As daunting as nursing homes, Sunday School and funerals might be, there is really no pressure when all of us stick to the Bible and proven doctrine. My greatest concern is presenting the Lord in a correct, thorough and clear manner.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

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    I actually prefer the less formal "Memorial" service to the "Funeral". At many memorial services, we give much time to allow everyone to "Share" memories, etc.

    Informal setting allows for a more "personal" presentation of the Gospel, rather than "preaching" (which turns off many).

    God bless in your ministry!
     
  6. gb93433

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    Absolutely. I agree. have always tried to steer the family members to that kind of service especially if the deceased was a godly person. It can be one of the greatest times for the family. One time I did a funeral and one of the daughters of the deceased came and was pleasantly surprised. Her and her dad at one time had a very poor relationship. She had gone down the wrong road. Finally she got her life turned around by becoming a Christian but had not spoken to her dad about it. But at the funeral I spoke of his commitment to Christ as did many others. He was in the discipleship group that I was leading. That service has an incredible effect on her. It brought her home and restored her fellowship the family. She thanked me for that time. She even got up to share about how that time meant so much to her. It was truly a time of healing and restoration for her and her family. They walked away different.
     
  7. Dan Todd

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    Whether a funeral or a memorial service - I view each as an opportunity to preach Christ crucified, buried, and ressurected to a captive audience.

    I preach with the prayer that God will touch some lost soul with the truth of the gospel.

    Dan
     
  8. Servent

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    I am not a pastor but I love to preach and will and have if given the oportunity,my wife's grandmother has made me promise to do her funeral,I have talked with her she is saved,but I am still very nervous about it,she is still alive but she is also 96 years old. not sure what Im going to say. HELP!
     
  9. Servent

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    I am not a pastor but I love to preach and will and have if given the oportunity,my wife's grandmother has made me promise to do her funeral,I have talked with her she is saved,but I am still very nervous about it,she is still alive but she is also 96 years old. not sure what Im going to say. HELP!
     

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