The Failing Pastor Goes to Funerals

The best thing about my own funeral is that I won’t have to do anything for it.



Three members of my family have died since I’ve been a pastor. I officiated all three of them.

No one really asked me. I was more or less told to do it.

That’s fine, I’m not complaining. Much.

It would be nice to go to a funeral where I could just grieve and not feel like I had to be “on.” Where I didn’t have to go through the anxiety of having to speak and potentially embarrass myself or the deceased with a slip of the tongue or flippant joke.

It’s my job, I get it. But yeah, it would be nice to go to a funeral and grieve.

Over my years as pastor I have attended other people’s funerals done by other pastors.

This is almost as dreadful as doing funerals. Some of the ridiculous things said at funerals are enough to raise the dead

Everyone is always saved and in heaven. They “aren’t suffering anymore;” “they are looking down on us right now.” “God needed them in heaven more than we needed them down here.”

There have been funerals where I’ve wanted to scream at the pastor: WHY IS THERE NO GOSPEL IN YOUR MESSAGE?

Not doing people’s funerals is almost harder than doing them.

Then there are the funerals of people who are not even close to being Christians that you get roped in to doing. Everyone at the funeral knows who this woman was. This was not a nice person. What am I supposed to say? I’m not going to make stuff up.

I never tell people where the deceased are. I avoid saying things about this person being in heaven. I have no idea where they are; that’s God’s call, I’ll let Him take care of that.

Generally I open with a personal thing about the deceased (otherwise known as “The dead guy”) and then tie it in as an illustration of the Gospel. I hammer the Gospel. What better time to present the Gospel than when people are contemplating death?

This doesn’t go over well all the time. Once I had young people swearing and mocking me during my funeral sermon, complaining about all the Jesus talk. At another funeral I was mocked at the reception afterwards. “Is the pastor still here? Here’s a story about one time me and the dead guy got drunk and hit on these women. . .”

Every pastor has been in these situations. Massively uncomfortable. On top of it all I’m supposed to dress in a suit and tie and be solemn; two of the hardest things in the world for me to do.

The best thing about my funeral is that I won’t have to say anything at it. I won’t have to be solemn. I won’t have to wear a suit. I won’t have to listen to some other bonehead preacher botch the Gospel and say heretical garbage.

I’ll be dead. Happily dead. Gladly living in heaven where there is no longer any pain, sickness, nor death! Did you get that? There’s no death there! That means that for eternity I will not have to go to a funeral!

I cannot wait.


It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.
–Ecclesiastes 7:2-4

2 thoughts on “The Failing Pastor Goes to Funerals

  1. You can come do my funeral! Let’s delay that as long as possible, but I encourage you to come in flip flops and shorts and to lament about how rotten I was. Gossip, live it up! Like, “don’t even be that girl, if she makes it to heaven at all, it will quite obviously be nothing but the grace of God.” I’d like a luau too, like roast some pork and play a good game of limbo…..:)


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