Times when death touches people are full of hurt and need. They are times when we have the opportunity to make a powerful positive difference by showing Christ’s care. Here are a few ideas of ways to make that positive difference:
Host a pre-need workshop on funerals and grief. For this workshop have available cost sheets from some of the local funeral homes as well as information on funeral services and the elements that can be part of a service. (I have an example on my web site at: http://www.wallaceresources.us/funerals.html
Create a Grief Servant Ministry program. This program can include having individuals:
*help doing chores that they need (e.g. mowing lawn, washing dishes, cleaning house, taking kids to school).
*answer phone for a couple of days after the death to take messages for the family so that they can focus on being with one another and making the arrangements. They can provide a list of those they want to talk with when they call. Messages from callers can be made available whenever the family can focus on them.
*provide someone to house sit during the funeral or visitation. Unfortunately homes are sometimes targeted by thieves during these times and having someone there can provide a deterrent. The person can also answer phones and take messages, as well as accept flowers that might be delivered.
*provide activities for children and perhaps youth during the days after the death and perhaps for several weeks afterwards. This might be a play-date at the park or
having the children come over for an evening. Depending on whether the family
wants to have the kids at the service they might need someone who can take care of
them during this time.
Create a Grief Group for those who have experienced loss. This can include a multi-week series that focuses on issues involved in grieving as well as activities to socialize with others in the same situation. There are several groups that provide a series on grief include http://www.griefshare.org/ .
Hold events to celebrate the lives of these loved ones at special times. Some appropriate times include around Thanksgiving/Christmas as well as around Memorial Day. An example of this kind of event is a service I attended for parents who has children die. Each family was given an angel tree ornament with the name of the child on it. The service focused on gratitude for these loved ones and prayers of comfort for those grieving.
Create a Note Ministry where you have a group of people who send notes (paper card or specially prepared and designed email) to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one on special occasions. These occasions could include the person’s birthday, date of death, Christmas, anniversaries or other dates. This would demand a method to obtain and keep a calendar of all of these dates.
May 30, 2012