MARCH 4, 2021

Preparing and Preaching the Funeral Sermon

by Rev. Daniel Coffin

You just woke up, and you are racing to sort out and capture the thoughts flooding your mind. Today is the funeral you have been asked to lead. The circumstances of this service are unusually difficult because you have known and loved the deceased for years, and you are experiencing your own grief. Sadness overwhelms you as you acknowledge the truth – you do not want to deliver this funeral sermon. Welcome to the real-world Pastor; we do not get to choose when someone dies, so we do not get to schedule the difficult tasks of ministry. If you are reading this article, I suspect that you are a pastor, and in your heart, you know the importance of leading a family group through the time of their final earthly goodbye.

Ironically, I woke up just now with my mind doing the very thing described above, except this time, the thoughts were about writing this article. Many good things came back to me as I reflected on the multitude of times when I sat down to prepare a service and the sermon for a funeral. As pastors, we must keep in mind the importance of ministering to all who will attend the funeral. My goal for this article is to share some insights from experience with the hope of assisting you in your endeavors. There is no expert source to turn to for help, only the experiences of others who have walked this path.