top of page

Proper Funeral Etiquette

We know how tough it can be when it comes to understanding the etiquette for funeral services, which is why we thought we would take a closer look at what you should do.


What is a Pastor’s Role at a Funeral?

A pastor has a comprehensive and in-depth role not only at a funeral but beforehand, too. A pastor is there to support the family, providing them with comfort and assistance at the most challenging time of their life. 

Their role is incredibly varied, depending on the deceased and the family, which can make it hard to know the right etiquette for paying a pastor for a funeral.


Pastor vs. Priest Vs. Minister

One of the most common mistakes families make is believing that a pastor, priest, and minister are the same role. However, this is not true, and each of them has a very distinct role. 

The definition for a priest is the person who conducts the rituals between God and man, mediating their word. The term is primarily used in the catholic and orthodox religions. A Pastor is the term given to one of the five-fold ministers listed in Ephesians and means the shepherd of the congregation. Conducting a similar role to a priest, a pastor is most commonly used in the protestant religion. 

A minister can be used across multiple religions and refers to someone who ministers or serves others within the church.


What is the Etiquette for Paying a Pastor for a Funeral?

So what is the Etiquette for paying a pastor for funeral services? In order to understand this, it is important to understand exactly how they will be helping you during this difficult period.


Contacting a Pastor

The first thing that you need to think about is finding the right pastor to undertake the service. For many families, this will come down to the religious affiliation that they or the deceased already had. However, if the deceased was not a regular church attendee, then you may want to discuss your needs with several local pastors to understand their congregation and church.

Discussing Rate or Gifts

Money can often be a difficult topic to bring up, but it is an important aspect to remember when it comes to the etiquette of paying a pastor for a funeral.  While life insurance may help pay funeral fees, the pastor’s donation will likely come out of pocket.  Some pastors will state outright the fee for them to conduct the funeral service, while others will ask for a donation to the church. 


When it comes to donations, this can either be a monetary donation, with $150-$300 (depending on type of service) often being the most common, or a gift.  Gifts can come in a wide range of methods, and your pastor might tell you what the church needs most, ensuring you can provide their congregation with exactly what they need.  These could be new bibles, clothing for those in need, food if they run a food bank or a donation to a charity they support.


Proper Etiquette Before/During/After the Service

A funeral is an incredibly difficult and emotional time, so it is important you know how to act before the day itself.  It is often best to donate before the funeral, as the day itself can be very busy for the pastor and yourself.

You can either hand it to them directly or ask a friend or the funeral director to deliver it to them.  However you do it, make sure that it is always handed directly to them and not left with the receptionist or on their desk.  The money should also be placed in a sealed envelope with the pastor’s name on it.


After the funeral or wake, it is also a good idea to send a note of thanks to the Pastor, signing it from yourself and the whole family.


Need help planning a funeral?

Planning a funeral for your loved one can be an incredibly difficult time.  That is why this web site was created.  We have been working with families for over a half-century, supporting them every step of the way to make the process as smooth as possible. 

bottom of page