The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “There’s a time to be born, and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2). As you and I know, death doesn’t play favorites. In times of death, the importance of a church family becomes all the more noticeable. I can’t imagine facing death without the Lord and a faith family.
As a church family, you’re extending heartfelt compassion to people who need peace, comfort, and hope. You’re the hands and feet of Jesus. As your pastor, I love seeing you come alongside individuals and families in times of personal loss. God is using you!
How does the church love those who grieve?
1. Visit the family. Before and after the passing of a loved one, it’s typical for members of our leadership team to visit the family and pray with them. Home visits remain effective and needed. Kingdom ministry happens in homes. Visiting the family on the day of the funeral is comforting to families, too.
2. Guide the family. Following a family member’s passing, many families need guidance in planning the funeral. It’s important for our church to come alongside them and help them make critical decisions.
3. Comfort the family. During the funeral service, our prayer is for the music, testimonies, and message to comfort family members. As Paul said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God ” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). We want family members to know that God is with them in their grief and loss.
4. Challenge the family. It’s highly likely that many people attending the funeral service are outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ. In every funeral, it’s our conviction to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Family members need to be challenged to know Jesus and to walk with Him.
5. Help the family. On the day of the funeral, our pastoral staff and deacons are present to help the family. We open doors, secure boxes of tissues, greet friends from the community, and help family members as needs become known. We desire to honor Jesus and love people.
6. Serve the family. It’s traditional for families to fellowship together after a funeral. As a way to serve families, Bradfordville offers to host and serve families a delicious meal following the funeral service. Our many volunteers and cooks are the best! The meal is one way to show grieving families compassion and love.
7. Love the family. When the service is over, the meal is finished, and the church parking lot is empty, our prayer is for families to know that they have a church family and pastor who loves them. Our Father has called us to love Him and one another. Love is at the core of a healthy church.
As each of us faces the uncertainty of life, it’s peaceful to know that we have a Father who comforts and a church family who cares. Our church family will gather this Thursday with a grieving family and practice these seven realities.
May the Lord use us again for His glory! Thank you for praying, loving, and serving!
Loving Those Who Grieve,