Method used for burial services

Research shows that for churches in Africa there is no specific method for a funeral to be held. Every minister has his own plan of how a funeral should be done. The basic method remains the same. However it is also clear that there are small differences in every church. Things are mostly done the way they have been done in the past.

Why attend church?

One of the reasons people go to church, is to make sure that they will be buried by a minister from their own church. When you do not belong to a church when you die, your funeral may not be done by a minister of the church. Instead it will be done by any person, even if they are not a real minister. Since most people want to go to heaven to be with God when they die, they prefer to be buried by a real church minister.

It is so sad that in the case of weddings and funerals most African churches have lost so much control that the ministers are often performing the services according to pagan tradition. Therefore many funeral services do not show any of the victory found in the New Testament of the Bible, since the resurrection of Christ.

Through the funeral service the believers are telling the rest of the world that death is normal and just as much part of life as birth.

The big question that the church must ask about funerals today is whether the methods used during the burial is acceptable to Bible teaching and follows the correct rules. The Bible was written more than 2000 years ago. Some of the methods used in Bible times would be considered old fashion now. Therefore, funerals of today need to follow the rules set out by the Bible, yet still be modern 2000 years later.

To find the best way for funerals today we need to look at the following:

  • The history of funeral services or burials of the Old Testament in the Bible.
  • The history of funeral services and burials of the New Testament in the Bible.
  • A short description of the burial services of Christians in the past.
  • The role of mourning and crying for dead loved ones.
  • We ask these questions to find out how the modern church holds funerals today.
  • To find this information we need to have a look at history books of the past, look at how funerals are done today. Then we will give some practical guidelines that can be followed by the church today.


Basic ways funerals are held

The way the Bible describe funerals.

In Bible times the funerals held by the Jews had two important parts:

  • The methods followed at the funeral home or mortuary for burials.
  • Another imported thing was how the body was handled after death in preparation of being buried.

Firstly, in Bible times, the body was prepared very fast and they tried really hard to have the funeral on the same day as the death of the person. We can read about this ritual in Acts 5:6 -10 where Ananias and Sapphira were both buried within three hours after their death. There were exceptions, such as in the case of Jacob where his body was taken back to Canaan for his real burial, as per his request.

Funerals can be broken down into the following steps:

1. Showing compassion.

2. Respecting and mourning the dead.

3. Preparing the body.

4. Removing the body to the funeral site.

5. The burial itself.