How to Plan Funerals: A Free Funeral Program Template

by Contributor

A free funeral program template is one of the many practical needs of families and their ministers at a time of loss. Unfortunately, many ministry training programs fail to provide their ministers with any clear funeral service ideas to follow in the development of a funeral service. Ideas such as these should be free. Follow these steps to develop your funeral program that is personal and yet meaningful within your tradition.

SCHEDULE A JOINT MEETING OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND MINISTER(S) FOR FUNERAL SERVICE IDEAS. A meeting is crucial in developing an order of service that meets the expectations of the family, primarily, and the concerns of their faith community, secondary. This meeting may take an hour, so schedule sufficient time for funeral service ideas to formulate and order themselves.

BRAINSTORM APPROPRIATE MUSIC. Usually a funeral program will include a musical prelude, processional, hymns/choruses and a Recessional. The tone of the music should be appropriate to the occasion and the deceased. So rule out any funeral service ideas that would be irreverent or out of place for a funeral. Any hymns or choruses should be comforting.

GATHER READINGS. Funeral service ideas should include sacred readings that are meaningful to the deceased and their immediate family. However, more creative funeral service ideas such as poetry readings should be considered.

DECIDE ON PARTICIPATORY ELEMENTS. Some traditional funeral service ideas include: acknowledgements, reading of cards and/or condolences, eulogies, and a final viewing if desired. Don't limit funeral service ideas to the passive observation of the attendees. Other more participatory funeral service ideas might include communion or responsive readings.

ORDER THE FUNERAL SERVICE IDEAS LOGICALLY. Here is a standard order for funeral service ideas: Musical Prelude, Processional, Opening Prayer, Hymn/Chorus, Scripture Reading, Acknowledgments, Obituary Reading, Eulogy, Sermon, Final Viewing, Benediction, Recessional, and Interment or Committal.

DESIGNING THE FUNERAL PROGRAM. Funeral service ideas have to include the design of the program. The front of the funeral program is often personal as well as welcoming. A head and shoulders shot of the deceased in good health is often included. However, a more generic front page may allow attendees to ease into their grief. Include the date, location, officiant, any significant scriptures or quotes, as well as an order of the service. See more tips on planning funerals below.


  • Planning funerals primarily consists of listening well to family members' funeral service ideas.
  • However, a prepared counselor or minister will come with funeral service ideas to suggest.
  • It is generally a good idea to limit the time of a funeral to the culturally accepted norm which differs from one community to the next.
  • See other related articles and resources on this page for more help designing funeral programs.

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