Have you ever been asked to give a eulogy? This can be quite a request if you are unfamiliar with the process. Gone are the days when funeral sermons were given only by the pastors of churches, so it is best to be prepared should this honor be bestowed upon you.
The loss of someone is not easy, but it is part of life whether we like it or not. Whether we are used to giving funeral sermons or if this is our first time, we must keep in mind the individual to whom we are paying our respects. It is a good idea to know the process so that you are prepared if you are the one chosen to speak.
DON'T IMPLICATE OR TELL LIES
It is important to speak honestly and know how to reach the congregation that is there to honor this person. The way in which this is achieved can be delicate at best. If you are a pastor delivering this, then you have some skills already when it comes to speaking to others. As with any speech, there are some basic ways to collect the information you need in order to really reach those you are addressing. If you want your future funeral sermons to really acknowledge the deceased, it might be best to use basic data collection. Here are some ways to put together funeral sermons that reach your audience.
find out who they were
This might seem basic, but it is the key to showing you really know the person that you are speaking about. Who was this person was in his life, to his friends and family? Like with any speech you want to get the attention of your audience from the start. Find out the type of person he was to others. Was he a good person, did he love people, animals, helping people? This isn’t something that you can determine on your own as a pastor or speaker you will need to talk to the family. But this doesn’t have to be a long part of your sermon it can be a simple comment.
Take time to interview family and friends
Whether given plenty of time to put this funeral sermon together or only a couple of minutes, it is important that you talk with their family and friends. They will want to share their stories of his life and what he meant to them. You will get to hear firsthand about his faith and his love of Jesus Christ Our Savior or maybe the lack thereof. It is best to do this step ahead of time so that you can prepare your funeral sermons accurately.
This is vital to your funeral sermons because you want to leave some hope with them. It might be a good thing to share some humor about the person of a funny trait he had. Everyone will be able to relate, and it will lighten it up the mood a bit. It could be something he did or said that he was known for. Those stories that the family shared with you are priceless and if they give the ok then share one of them. It will not only give them hope but unite them in a common memory.
christian or non-christian
This is a factor with anyone preparing funeral sermons. It is an area that is best known prior so that you can find the right way to honor them. If the person is a non-Christian, then you would find some things about his character, life or overall viewpoint on things to discuss. But if they are a Christian, then you would find a scripture that would inspire hope in the resurrection of Christ.
This is not a time to hold back your speaking skills. Use creative ways to share your eulogy. You want to speak highly of this person and their life. Don’t be boring but be bold in your eulogy. Show that excitement when necessary about their lives and let their light shine through you.
This isn’t supposed to be a long drawn out sermon. You want to keep it simple and to the point but with dignity and honor toward the deceased. If you are reading a scripture take note of its length for that too plays a part in the length of the sermon. Funeral sermons should go about ten minutes, and this doesn’t include the reading of the scripture. That could go about five or ten minutes more depending on where it is located within the sermon. The key is to keep it under 20 minutes with the reading of the scriptures.
PRACTICE YOUR THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING
In times of despair, overwhelm and darkness we need to remember our plan to keep us from focusing on our suffering. As Jesus suffered, we will also do so at one point of our lives. It is then that we will need to rely on our faith to get us through.
find the appropriate scripture
Whether the person is a Christian or not this shouldn’t deter you from quoting from the bible. There are a lot of passages that you can use that can be applied to either case. The audience will be a mixture, and some will relate more than others. Who knows, you might reach a non-believer depending on what you choose.
SOME SCRIPTURES FOR FUNERAL SERMONS
Some verses of the Bible are more relevant than others when it comes to a funeral sermon. It's a good idea to ask if the deceased had any favorite verses. If not, or if you need more, here are some classics to consider:
John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Mathew 6:9-13 The Lord’s Prayer
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
Revelations 2:10 Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
John 16:22 Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted, rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
When preparing your funeral sermons, it is important that you take some time to really know the person you are honoring. Your words are providing comfort to those that are grieving and they should be applicable to the person. The opportunity to reach their hearts is in your hands. You are the one that will provide hope through your sermon with the word of God. Should you find non-Christians in the fold let this not deter you but challenge you to provide just the right scripture to find faith once again.
You are speaking about a life that was lived whether short or long it is of no matter. They are now dependent upon you to help those that they left to find peace and hope with your funeral sermons. This is there last moment, and you are their final speaker. Speak for them and speak the word of God. It is, after all, faith that will give them their ultimate peace.