What should be the opening words of a funeral service?

Opening a funeral service can feel as awkward as those first words you speak to the family who has just lost their loved one.  Yet, because of the attentiveness people give in those moments, we must seize the opportunity to choose carefully these words as they will set the tone for the entire service.  A good rule of thumb is to always allow God to speak before you do.  Keep in mind, though there are different kinds of people attending the funeral, they are all in their own way asking the question, “Why God?”  Choose a passage of Scripture that cuts through the questions, sorrow, and skepticism to declare the unchanging character of our great God.  Prepare in such a way that you can stand up, move to the pulpit and then say, “Hear these words about our great, unchanging God. . . .”

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desires of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.  The Lord keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.  My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.  (Psalm 145:17-21)

God’s words will always be more powerful, profound, and pervasive than our own.  Begin by allowing God to pierce through the doubts by speaking first.   After you have prepared a welcome for those attending and state why you have gathered, prepare the rest of the funeral service around five areas, asking how the gospel can be accurately portrayed in them:  prayer, music, Scripture readings, eulogy, and sermon.

More posts on applying the gospel to these five areas to come in the future…

Posted in Funerals
11 comments on “What should be the opening words of a funeral service?
  1. Thomas says:

    Excellent words, brother. Thank you very much. By the way, I thoroughly enjoy the blog and check it regularly.

  2. Rod Santiago says:

    “A good rule of thumb is to always allow God to speak before you do.” Love that!
    Thank you for this post brother.

  3. Dr. John D. Abbott, Jr. says:

    Excellent and very helpful to me as I prepare this week for a funeral of a non-church member/attender. The Scripture passage from Psalms was right on target.
    thanks for the help my brother.

    John A.

  4. Seth Brett says:

    Attending of someone”s funeral is too good to give some company as well as sympathy.But it is too tough to say something being a non-church member. This is really more helpful blog for mass of people. I really appreciate Mr. Brian Croft to sharing this kind of valuable topic. Thanks for creating a memorable creation…….

  5. Samuel Cardinal says:

    Great tip! Will definitely use it

  6. Leslie says:

    I am so blessed to have found this page. In reference, to Letting God speak first, I have to say my spirit rejoiced. I don’t have to open a funeral service, but I felt the need to read a scripture before I sang at one. So, thank you and may our Lord continue to grant you heavenly wisdom.

  7. Paul says:

    Thank you for the reminder about making God speak first as an opening part..indeed God is in charge of all and to be proclaimed first..

  8. Reginald says:

    Excellent words. Thank you very much,i was able to prepare my opening speech for the funeral. The part that says we must allow God to speak first. Its a blessing to proclaim through God

  9. pastor mark garza says:

    excellent information….thanks so much…I will be doing my first funeral on Monday…please say a prayer for me, the husband, family and friends…God Bless!

  10. Lolita J Watkins says:

    This is perfect and right on time … as i am preparing for a funeral this weekend.

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