Funeral Industry News

Churches To Compete For Funeral Service Business?

December 14, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Churches To Compete For Funeral Service Business?

imageAre churches really a threat to funeral homes? I found this article and thought it was very interesting. I have never thought of a church as a competitor to the funeral home. Please let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Churches To Compete For Funeral Service Business?

We asked an audience of funeral directors who it thinks is its major competitor in the future. A very involved, informed funeral director immediately said, ?Marriott.? His reasoning was that Marriott already has event planners, rooms parking and all the meal service it could ever need-however we disagree with him.

Unless Marriott has plans to build facilities just to meet this niche, it is not entering the funeral business. Marriott?s event rooms are rented months or years in advance. The company is not going to keep this lucrative business aspect un-booked and flexible enough to accommodate funerals that cannot be pre-booked. And we doubt the hotel wants to fill its halls with grieving families and paraphernalia that a funeral demands. The competitor of the very near future is the local church.

The trend has started in an almost frightening manner. Four out of every five funerals in a particular church do not use a funeral director. They constitute upper-middle class cremation families who are willing to spend money, but see no need for a funeral home. We could dismiss this as an aberration happening in a very liberal church, but as a funeral in one of the largest Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma City a few months ago, the descendent was a staff member of the church, so the crowd filled the building. There is nothing liberal about a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma. We were amazed and dismayed to discover the family did not use a funeral home for anything except the cremation.

The funeral profession learned how to respond to the new world of cremation, however did we see the entire impact that cremation forced us to face? When we move away from embalming, we must make sure we are not losing the last thing that makes us necessary to a family. Far too many families don?t know what we do for them besides embalming and when that is gone, they see no need to pay for our services.

A husband whose wife?s funeral was in the Southern Baptist church was asked why he did not use a funeral home said, ?She was cremated, why do I need a funeral home?? To meet this new challenge, here are two actions we must take.

The idea that a good funeral is one where the funeral director is never noticed results in people having no idea what value we have. If everything we do is done behind closed doors, how can they ever know the role we play? We have advocated that funeral directors be masters of ceremonies.

Most of the time, people have no idea who is speaking or singing or why and how the participants, songs and pictures fit the life. The service seems to happen because it is 2 p.m. on Tuesday. The master of ceremonies needs to function as the funeral director. The family bonds with the director and expects him or her to walk with them through the experience.