Unlike the Episcopalian, Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox religions, Baptists don’t generally have a formal ritual in a funeral resolution. Each Baptist church usually follows its own customs with a wide variation on what is permitted. Although fairly conservative, Baptists do consider the memorial service to be a religious service.
Most Baptist churches sing traditional songs or hymns during the funeral resolution service but do allow contemporary music such as country or rock as long as it is considered to be religious music. They do allow short eulogies and memorials by family and close friends as long as they focus on the decease’s life in a religious context. They will also allow brief expositions of the decease’s work or art as long as it is tastefully displayed or produced.
The focus of the baptist church funeral resolution is redemption and looking forward or ahead. Baptists are not preoccupied with the condition of the body or physical being as they are more concerned about the soul and its condition. Is the soul prepared to meet its Creator, God? Remembering the decease’s likes, dislikes and what they liked to do are discussed apart from the funeral service because it is not considered to be edifying or redemptive.
Some very conservative Baptists sometimes do not remember a person’s life on earth during the memorial service. Baptist believe that life is a cycle and that in the beginning they were with God and in the end will return to God. Baptists believe that their lives are not in the physical body but rather, their life is in the spirit.
The Baptist service consists of an invocation (a prayer asking God’s help as part of a religious service), the singing of hymns in which the congregation usually participates, readings from Scripture or the Bible, and a eulogy which is often delivered by the pastor. Family and friends are sometimes allowed to give a brief word in the memorial service regarding the deceased faith and character.
While Baptist services are generally strict, there is variety that can be done within its format. The important role that traditional hymns play means there is many to choose from that may have evoke strong feelings from those who attend the memorial service. Hymns contain powerful words of encouragement and hope to the believer.
Eulogies that address the Christian character of the deceased are permitted and the memorial service can become quite moving as heartfelt remembrances from close family and friends are shared. The funeral services are usually held in a Baptist Church or funeral home with funeral programs distributed to display the order of service and short biography of the deceased.