5 A Service Planning Worksheet

This guide is designed to aid families in planning for the service. It will help you think through the necessary questions. (You can download a copy at socialmediachaplain.com/servicebook. Thanks to Sean Swanson for sharing the one he uses at First Mennonite Church in Canton, Ohio. This worksheet is adapted from that one.)


Date of birth:

Date of death:

Next of kin: 

Other family:


1. Funeral home

What funeral home will be involved?

Who is the contact at the funeral home?

2. Notification of family and relatives

Who will notify family and friends regarding the passing?

About funeral arrangements?

How soon can information be posted on social media? Who will share it?

3. What type of service? 


Memorial Service

Celebration of Life

Graveside after another service

Graveside only

4. Calling hours

Place (funeral home, church, other)

Date and times

5. Time of service



Military honors?

6. Service leader

Who is to officiate (be in charge of) the service?

Who is to give the message?

Does the family have a request for the involvement of others?

Who will share stories / eulogies?

Will there be an open mic in the service for other people to share?

7. Obituary

Newspaper release – which papers? (This usually costs extra)

Funeral home website?

Who will be writing it?

8. Order of service

What elements of the service would the family like?

What will the order of service be?

Will there be a printed bulletin? If yes, who will provide it?

9. Meals for family

Who will provide food during the calling?

Would the family like a meal after the funeral? Who will arrange it?

10. Cemetery

What cemetery will the burial take place at?

11. Pallbearers

Generally, six are needed – who will they be?

Who will make the contacts?

12. Burial

Prior to the service or after the service or not at all (ashes)?

13. Ushers, sound, and slideshow/video

Are ushers needed at the service beyond the funeral home staff?

Who will select and make contacts?

Would you like the service to be recorded? Who will take care of this?

Will there be a slideshow/video? Who will be putting this together?

14. Songs/Singing

Congregational songs? Special singing (solos, quartets, etc.)?

Will there be recorded music as part of the service? Who will be finding and playing this?

Does the family have any particular requests?

Who will lead the congregational singing?

15. Scripture(s)

Did the person have any favorite text? Suggestion(s) by family?

16. Readings, Poems

Any selections from the family?

17. Visuals/decorations during calling and service

Who will be arranging any displays of photos or memorabilia?

Who will deliver and set up?

18. Committal service at graveside

Who is the leader in charge?

Will there be military honors?

Who is making these arrangements?

19. Will there be any designated memorials? 

20. Other

Any other questions or elements to discuss?


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