Resources for planning gospel-centered funerals

A Suggested Order of Service

The following order of service is a suggestion, not a requirement. It provides room for variety and personalization.

Gathering in God’s Name

  • Greeting/Welcome
  • Procession to Front of Church
  • Prayer of Invocation
  • Prayers of Lament
  • Songs/Hymns of Lament

Hearing God’s Word

  • Scripture Readings
  • Sermon/Homily
  • Creed
  • Songs/Hymns of Comfort

Praying Together

  • Remembrances (testifying to the ways God’s grace was refracted through the deceased’s life)
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving & Intercession
  • Lord’s Prayer
  • Songs/Hymns of Resurrection Hope

The Comittal

  • Commendation
  • Words of Committal
  • Concluding Prayers

Scripture Readings

Choose readings from both the Old and New Testaments. The readings ought to focus on lament, the comfort the gospel gives, and the hope of resurrection.

Many different passages of Scripture could be used. The following list is suggestive rather than exhaustive.

Old Testament

New Testament


Rather than simply choosing favorite songs, select songs that provide a balance of lament, comfort, and hope of resurrection.




Watch & Listen


Anglican Church in North America. The Book of Common Prayer (2019). Huntington Beach, CA: Anglican Liturgy Press, 2019.

Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and Faith Alive Christian Resources. The Worship Sourcebook. Grand Rapids: Calvin Institute of Christian Worship: Faith Alive: Baker Books, 2004.

Croft, Brian, and Phil Newton. Conduct Gospel-Centered Funerals: Applying the Gospel at the Unique Challenges of Death. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014.

Hughes, R. Kent. The Pastor’s Book: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide to Pastoral Ministry. Edited by Douglas Sean O’Donnell. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015.

Long, Thomas G. Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2013.

Witvliet, John D. “Reclaiming Funerals as Christian Worship.” Symposium on Worship Archive. 28. 2008.