Funeral MinisterToday's society allows for a wider range of funeral options than most traditional religious or church-based offerings. While many people still opt to have the spiritual leader of their organization perform the funeral service, others are looking to construct a more individual experience to memorialize their loved one. In pursuit of something personal and unique, a family or group may ask someone close to them to perform the service. Or, they may seek an officiant without a specific religious affiliation. Being a funeral minister can be overwhelming. If someone requests you as an officiant for a service, do not panic. There are steps to take to ensure a meaningful experience for friends and family, regardless of your prior experience. Officiating is a wonderful way to contribute positively in a difficult time.

First Things First: Visit Get Ordained

While it is not strictly necessary to be ordained to perform a funeral service, it may be beneficial to have the support that comes with making it official on The site is a comprehensive resource for answering all kinds of questions regarding funeral and memorial services. It is useful to understand what the role of officiant is, and what general protocol is usually expected.

Meet With the Family or Group

If possible, select a quiet space to meet and discuss the service. It often helps to keep this group small, as a large group can be distracting and upsetting for some. Share some ideas you may have about the service, then listen to what they have in mind. While it is essential to respect their wishes, it is good to avoid asking too many open-ended questions that are difficult to answer or that require too much attention. Ease the way. Be a guide through the process.

Tips to Organize a Service

The role of the officiant at funerals is to formally eulogize the person who died, lead mourners through a service, and invite attendees to events that may follow the service as well as provide support throughout. Here are some suggestions on how to organize a service:

  • Take lots of notes. The particulars are important, such as birth date, education, marriage, children and grandchildren, and accomplishments. Pay special attention to people's anecdotes and shared memories. These will help you construct a story for the eulogy that is personal and that the mourners may relate to.
  • Ask about music. There may be some special song or piece that would feel right at the service. Be careful, however, not to emotionally overload attendees with too many songs.
  • Ask about special readings. Perhaps there is a piece of scripture or a poem that resonates. You may offer to read it yourself if people feel they are unable or if they would prefer not to read themselves.
  • Get contact information. This is useful for sending out copies of the eulogy to be fact-checked prior to the service, or for staying apprised of necessary announcements. E-mail is acceptable, but in-person delivery and fax are other options.
  • Write the eulogy. Two to three pages is a good rule of thumb. Practice, and time it. This process helps take some of the anxiety out the situation, should you be feeling any.

At the Service

It helps to arrive a bit early to be available for the mourners and to gather your own thoughts. You might begin with a piece of music. Welcome the family and attendees. Some people choose to read the obituary, which serves to mention those people closest to the loved one. After you deliver the eulogy, you may invite friends and family to come forward and share. If no one chooses to speak, you may say something about keeping one's own private thoughts about the person. Finish with a general acknowledgment. You may make an announcement about any events to follow, be it the burial or a reception. Then take comfort in the idea that you have helped to provide closure through a purposeful ceremony.

Category: Get Ordained Funeral

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