When sharing, here’s what to say at a funeral:
Keep it personal. The people that gather at a funeral are there to remember a person. It is important that you don’t hijack the event by forgetting to mention the person who has passed away. Share stories about what they meant to you, how your life was different with them here, and (if applicable) what they showed you about Christ or God. When my best friend, Keith, went home to Heaven, I shared a personal angle on the impact he had on me by using Cowboy language (that was close to his heart). This allowed me to keep the message personal, share biblical truths and eventually present the Gospel clearly (albeit through a lot of tears!).
Keep it biblical. Don’t share without using the Bible. God promised that His Word will never return void, so use it! Even at national funerals and public remembrances, Bible verses are used. Don’t worry about offending people. It is God’s Word—He can use it to be quick to pierce the hearts of men. Also, be sure to steer clear of “unbiblical” statements. When talking about hope, heaven or seeing people again, make sure you do not say something that would be “unbiblical” just to try to be encouraging. It is easy for us to take passages and God’s truth out of context when we are trying to be encouraging. For example, I can’t say “We will all see each other again…” if I don’t know for sure that the person knew Jesus. In the same vein, not everyone in the congregation may be able to see this person again. So don’t over-promise what the Bible says. Stay biblical.
Keep it Christ-focused. Remember the person well, but make a bee-line for the Cross. I do this by saying something like, “I know that this person would want you to know what Jesus meant to them…” or “Christ is the giver of life, and that life started way before he or she arrived in heaven on Monday…” Present the Gospel clearly. Be sure to include the essential elements of the Gospel, such as: God as the giver of life; man’s sin; Christ’s gift to return is for those with life in God; and the response of faith we must have in order to have life again.
Keep it hope-filled. While it is good for us to be in the house of mourning (Ecclesiastes 7:2), there is hope that should come through a funeral or remembrance of life. Talk about the hope you have and what is getting you through this loss, personally. Mention where you see hope in the other friends and family. Conclude by making it clear that the only way you all will get through the hard moments of grief is by having the hope of the Lord.
Funerals are actually one of my favorite places to share because it is so primed to make God known. We should not take this opportunity for Gospel work lightly. Though it may require sharing through tears or talking with a huge frog in our throat, we must speak of the life and hope we have been given in Christ!
This may help you learn what to say at a funeral — click on one of the funeral notes below to download a Word file of what I shared on two different occasions:
Give ’em the hope of heaven!
This article about what to say at a funeral originally appeared here.