Benevolence and Bereavement are vital ministries where members and people in the community may request assistance. Caring competent people are in place to minister to those in need promptly, professionally, and prayerfully.
The death of a loved one is an intense and painful experience for most people. Having the right support makes all of the difference, and church bereavement ministries exist to help people through the grief cycle. Understanding the duties of a bereavement ministry will help ensure the success of your ministry within the church and greater community.
When someone dies, it is hard to know what to say to comfort surviving family members and friends. Bereavement ministries provide a visitation service to people who have recently experienced the death of a loved one. Members of the bereavement ministry schedule times to provide a ministry of presence to the grieving person. They do not need to find the perfect words, but they are available to listen or to hold the hand of the grieving individual.
Calls of Support
Once the flurry of funeral activity dies down and out-of-town guests go home, grieving family members and friends find themselves alone with their grief. Sometimes this period is more difficult than the initial experience of loss because it can be lonely. Bereavement ministers make a point of periodically calling to check in with church and community members who have recently experienced the death of a loved one. During phone calls, they ask how the grieving person is doing, how she is processing her loss, and perhaps offer to go out to coffee or lunch.
Bereavement ministers are in a unique position to connect people who have recently lost loved ones with one another. During initial meetings with grieving persons, the ministry volunteers ask whether the grieving individuals would be interested in participating in a grief support group. A support group meets weekly or monthly and educates church and community members on the grief cycle, providing time for sharing and listening, as well as the opportunity for prayer. Sometimes support groups are hosted by ministry volunteers; other times bereavement ministries hire specially trained counselors to help facilitate the group.