Funerals and Weddings

I have been in ordained ministry for almost eight years now and in that time I have done about 100 funerals but no weddings. Though it is increasingly difficult for me to do the funerals of unbelievers, I see it as an opportunity (given by God in his Providence) to preach the Gospel to those who need to hear it.

Here are two (very brief) articles by Russell D. Moore from Southern Seminary answering two questions:

Should a Minister Officiate at the Weddings of Unbelievers?
(His answer: No; My answer: No)


Should a Minister Preach at the Funerals of Unbelievers?
(His answer: Yes; My answer: Yes)

Either he’s brilliant or I’m brilliant because we pretty much see eye-to-eye on both these issues.

For those of you who are not pastors, I post these so that you can see a pastor’s reasoning for these questions. Contrary to what our church members often think, we do actually have reasons for why we do what we do.

About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
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2 Responses to Funerals and Weddings

  1. Jeff Schrick says:

    I enjoyed reading and digesting what you had to say. Makes perfect sense. My best friend just went home at 67, and I’ve been asked to officiate his service. I’ve been a minister of the Gospel for awhile now but this will be my first funeral service. 1. I had the opportunity to lead him to the Lord, 2. I stayed at his bedside the last four days of his life here on earth, and looked up at the clock at his last exhale. I said all that to say it’s been rough and I can only thank God he’s carried me through this, but at the same time I know He’s arranging something, and I want to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. His widow who had been diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors has asked me to take the reign’s. There will be a few unbelievers there for sure. He was also a Viet Nam Vet, and professional musician. He’s been cremated so we’ll be dealing with that and with Color and Honor Gaurd I have a thirty minute window. In your Godly wisdom, how would approach for a lack of better this service?
    In His Service
    Pastor Jeff.

    • I have been asked this question many times over the years for services in many different situations and circumstances and the best advice I can give is always the same: Encourage friends and family to memorialize the deceased and then finish with a brief message (“brief” is important) that exalts Christ and holds out the hope of the resurrection.

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