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Preaching funerals can be deadly, especially when the dearly departed wasn't dear or a believer. Author and preaching professor Scott Gibson offers advice on what pastors can do to keep funeral sermons original and personal.

Q: Preaching funerals is sometimes difficult. Why?

Perhaps the most challenging I've had recently was my own uncle's funeral. My uncle was not a Christian, and most of my family members are not Christians. For most pastors that's one of the most challenging sermons to deal with.

I wanted to bring the hope of the gospel to my family, but also to personalize it in a way that reflected who my uncle was as a person. I wanted to communicate to them through my uncle's career as a hairstylist that God is also interested in hair, and he's interested in us to the extent that he knows the very hairs on our head. And if he knows the very hairs on our head, he cares for us even in times like these.

Q: How do you make a funeral sermon personal?

I ask myself, ...

May/June
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