THEM AT FUNERAL: He’s in a better place now.
ME: Yeah, that is one nice casket.
The average funeral costs about $6,000-10,000. And that’s for a basic funeral package, not even including frills. Most people don’t know this. You need to tell them.
I preached a sermon once about funerals. I talked about what I say at them, which is the Gospel, so if you don’t want me preaching a Gospel message, don’t ask me to do your funeral. That would suit everyone fine. I also told them about the cost of a funeral and basic ins and outs of the funeral industry.
No one talks about death in America anymore, unless it’s some off-hand witty remark as a good guy shoots a bad guy, or gratuitous video game violence, or some other entertaining form of death. People want to live and get their stuff. No one wants to consider death.
Solomon says that the house of mourning is a place of wisdom, whereas a house of parties is a place to get dumber. Guess which one people like better?
People don’t go to funerals anymore. It’s amazing. I was talking to one funeral home director and he said fewer and fewer funerals have a pastor. The people in the family don’t even know one to ask. He went on to say how few of the pastors who do funerals bring up the Gospel.
I find this depressing. Funerals are the best opportunity you will ever have to deal with life and death. Most people are ignoring death. At a funeral, you can’t. The dead guy is right there in front of you. I like to throw in a little, “One day we will be at your funeral.” Make them feel what it’s like to be the dead guy in the coffin up front.
Death makes people consider large issues. Why do you think Satan enjoys making a joke out of it so much? Large issues like life after death, judgment, mortality, and other soul searching topics come up naturally. How a pastor could not grab this opportunity by the neck and hammer the Gospel home is beyond me.
The most offensive comments I’ve ever had said to me have been after a funeral service I have done. I can list em out. I don’t waste my opportunity to put the fear of God in people. People know they got hit, they know they heard Gospel truth, and they don’t like it.
I don’t even do this as a jerk, I just go through the Gospel, why it’s there, what it does, and who did it. I just quote a bunch of verses and let people know that hell and heaven are real. That it’s appointed to you to die and after that the Judgment. You’ll want to take care of that before your funeral comes.
I use jokes, I use personal illustrations from the dead person’s life, I don’t just bring hellfire and brimstone the whole time. But I make sure the Gospel shows up clearly.
I tell my church all the time, “Go to funerals.” I don’t care if you hardly know the people. Show up. You don’t have to say anything, just be there. When your wife dies, you’ll be glad people showed up, so show up for others right now. Take time off work. Be there. Go to funerals.
One funeral director told me, “Your church does show up for funerals.” That made me feel great. I even told my church that and they were happy to hear it too.
Oh pastors, take advantage of those funerals. Get a good Gospel message in there. Use it over and over. Fit it to the situation of the deceased one’s life, but get it in there. Get the Gospel in there. You have to get the Gospel in there. Not just in passing, not just a “follow Jesus” generic call to whatever. I mean preach the Gospel. Explain it. Make it simple and clear and direct.
Funerals are a great opportunity. Take full advantage.
2 thoughts on “There is One Reason a Pastor Does a Funeral: To Preach the Gospel”
I couldn’t agree more. The first thing I tell every family when I’m sitting in their living room is that I’m preaching the Gospel. That way, I don’t have to waste everyone’s time setting up a funeral service if they don’t want the truth shared.
Yes, people should be told what to expect. I’m not going to play games with it. I’m not here to promote Aunt Gretta’s New Age philosophy. I’m here to hit em with the Gospel.