PREPARING A CONGREGATION FOR DEATH

Perhaps the church's greatest ministry is helping people get ready for the final enemy.

In seminary the rallying cry of my circle of classmates was "Life-giving ministry!" We were determined to extend that ministry in all circumstances and against all obstacles.

When I got into my first pastorate, however, I encountered three funerals in the first four months. And a terminal case of cancer was slowly killing one of the key lay leaders. Suddenly my rallying cry seemed incomplete. I needed to prepare myself and my congregation to face death.

I shared my frustrations with various colleagues and discovered to my surprise that many of them could tell similar stories. They felt the same concerns I did, but few had been trained to prepare their congregations in any substantial way for the assaults of our final enemy, death.

It helped, as I studied the Epistles, to find Paul himself came late to realize the need to prepare a congregation for the loss of fellow members, family, and friends. Believers at both Corinth and Thessalonica were badly shaken by the deaths of some of ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel
Read These Next
close