Funeral Services

Even for Christians, the death of a loved one is a difficult experience. We grieve the loss of one who has been close, but we do not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13).  It is our desire and privilege to minister to the families of our congregation in their time of need. It is through the Word of God that we have hope at the time of the death of a loved one (Romans 15:4).  This policy is provided to assist our families in planning and providing a Christian funeral.

 Although funeral services may be held in funeral homes, the best place for conducting a funeral service upon the death of a Christian is in the sanctuary of the church to which he or she belonged.  By having the service at the church, all who attended will be reminded of our hope and assurance in Jesus Christ.  Therefore, all members of Olive Branch Church are encouraged to use the church building for funeral services.  The sanctuary is also offered for the funeral services of Christians whose membership is in another church.

 There can be alternative methods for the conducting of services at the time of death.  These could include a private graveside service for family members as soon after death as possible and/or a public service of worship (a memorial service) conducted at the church later.  However, funeral worship services will only be conducted in the church sanctuary.  The pastor is available to go with the family to the funeral home to assist in making arrangements if desired.  The pastor will be happy to meet with the family to plan any funeral worship arrangements.

Dates and Time of Funerals

Dates and times for funerals at Olive Branch Church are to be arranged in consultation with the pastor based on availability and the preferences of the deceased’s family.   The pastor must approve all funeral arrangements at Olive Branch Church.  Decisions concerning areas outside the scope of this funeral policy shall be decided at the discretion of the pastor and Director of Operations. Funeral services will need to be planned around already scheduled events such as weddings, conferences, workshops, Bible study, etc.  See OBC Facility Policy.

Who Will Officiate?

Pastoral ethics require that Olive Branch Church’s pastor conduct all funeral services held at Olive Branch Church, unless by agreement with another pastor, he/she is invited to share in the funeral or act on behalf of the pastor of Olive Branch Church.  Any requests for another pastor or lay person to officiate or assist in the service must be approved by Olive Branch Church pastor.

Structure of the Funeral Service

A funeral service held in the church is a service of worship, celebrating the deceased’s life and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.  Consequently, all parts of the service are to be consistent with the present worship practices of the church.  Generally, the outline for the funeral and burial service will take on a traditional Baptist form.  The family may suggest other items to be included in the service, with the approval of the pastor.

Funerals for Non-members and Inactive Members

Conducting funerals for people who have no connection with the church is a normal part of the ministerial obligation.  However, it is up to the discretion of the pastor to allow himself or the church to participate.

Funeral Music

Only music appropriate to a worship service shall be used.  Olive Branch does not have paid staff musicians.  All musical arrangements (pianist, soloist, etc.) must be arranged for and taken care of by the family.  If possible, we will make every effort to help you, but please remember that time and date may affect the availability of our musicians and choir.  As with weddings, a funeral is a service of Christian worship.  Therefore, sacred or Christian music would be appropriate.  Taped instrumental and accompaniment music, soloists and solos, anthems, and guest musicians must have the approval of the Director of Operations and senior pastor.

 In cases where an outside organist/pianist is desired, permission must be secured from the Director of Operations.  Additional musicians or soloists may be utilized.  Please note that the use of taped music or pre-recorded accompaniments is appropriate with prior authorization and planning.

Video Presentation

If a video is to be used during the service, it must be submitted to the church office 24 hours prior to the funeral service for review.  All presentations should be in DVD format (not Power Point) and should not exceed 10 minutes in length.

Services by Fraternal Orders, Lodges etc.

Services by fraternal orders, lodges, veterans groups or other organizations are not appropriate at OBC.  If they are held, they should be limited to the funeral home or graveside, and must be coordinated with the senior pastor prior to the graveside service.

Decorations

Families may wish to display the deceased’s remains, as well as certain mementos or photographs of the deceased and his/her family.  The following guidelines would be applicable in these situations:

  • Any displays or pictures must be appropriate to a worship setting
  • No nails, tacks, staples or screws shall be put in the walls or attached to the pews
  • All decorations must be removed within 3 hours of the conclusion of the service

Flowers

Only fresh cut flowers and planters may be used in the sanctuary.

Closed Casket

All caskets must be closed for the burial service, but may be open during the viewing (or preceding the viewing, for the family only), if desired.  When closed, the flower blanket, flag or coverlet covers the casket.  The casket remains closed throughout the service.  When the service is in the funeral chapel, the casket will be closed and in place before the ceremony begins.  The funeral director in concert with the pastor will have direction over such matters as timing, closed caskets, music, flowers, etc.

Nursery

The church does not provide a nursery for funeral services.

Parking / Traffic Assistance

Parking assistance is generally provided by the funeral home.  The church will not provide resources to assist in traffic control.

Family Meal

The church will do everything reasonably possible to accommodate a member’s request for a family meal before or after a funeral service.  The meal is prepared under the direction of the church’s Hospitality Ministry.  Only active members of the church and their immediate family (spouse, parents, children, siblings) will be eligible.  There is no fee charged for members; however donations are accepted.  Members of the church provide this service as a ministry in the spirit of Christian love.  Their mission is to serve willingly and pleasingly, inspired and led by God.  Non-members and inactive members may utilize the Fellowship Hall but are responsible for the indicated building expense usage fees and for providing the food and refreshments.

Memorials

In certain circumstances, the family might request a contribution to the church or a charitable organization in lieu of flowers.  The church will not manage, receive or distribute designated funds for an outside institution.  Undesignated funds and funds designated for an established project at Olive Branch will be received by the church.  Funds designated for a project or ministry not previously established will be designated for such only with approval of the Senior Pastor or Director of Operations.

Fees

Please see the OBC Facility Use Agreement for fees.

For the purposes of this policy, active members are defined as those members of Olive Branch Church who regularly attend church services and contribute to the church as they generally provide regular financial and personal support for the church.  These privileges are also extended to the following:

  • Homebound members
  • Faithful attendees of the church who attend regularly but who have not officially joined the church as an official member and
  • Those who have served as former pastors of the church

Where to Find Help with Your Grief

Our church offers grief support to anyone who requests it. If you are interested, please contact Pastor Vincent L. Windrow.  He can be reached through the church office at 615-941-1268. Download complete policy here. Please download and complete the OBC Facility Use Agreement Form.

Olive Branch Contact Information

Olive Branch Contact Information

Senior Pastor Pastor Vincent L. Windrow 615-941-1268
Church Secretary Rev. Donna Morgan 615-941-1268
Funeral Ministry Leader Sister Brenda McKinney 615-941-1268
Funeral Meal Coordinator Bro. Terry Taylor 615-941-1268
Nashville Temporary Campus Murfreesboro Campus
800 Youngs Lane 1115 Minerva Drive
Nashville, TN 37207 Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Office (615) 941-1268 Office (615) 941-1268
Fax (615) 941-2327 Fax (615) 941-2327
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