Original Research - Special Collection: Faith practices

A missional perspective on funerals and bereavement counselling

Peter Kotze, C.J.P. (Nelus) Niemandt
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 71, No 3 | a2912 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v71i3.2912 | © 2015 Peter Kotze, C.J.P. (Nelus) Niemandt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 February 2015 | Published: 25 August 2015

About the author(s)

Peter Kotze, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
C.J.P. (Nelus) Niemandt, Department of Science of Religion and Missiology, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


This article deals with the importance of a missional approach to the funeral and bereavement counselling process in congregational praxis in the midst of a context of secularisation. The creation of a missional perspective on the funeral and bereavement counselling could support the nature and praxis of a congregation in a secular society, especially if the congregation finds its relevance in the expression of the missio Dei. The basic theoretical research for missional ecclesiology, which is the systematic study directed toward greater knowledge of the fundamental aspects of missional ecclesiology (National Science Foundation 1953:38), is based on the premise that God is the source of all missions. The expression missio Dei means to join God in the mission he is already busy with in the world. As the one who sends, God the Father sends the Son, the Son sends the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit sends the church. The church only participates in the mission God is already busy with. It is a mission that uses both words and deeds and brings hope in the midst of tragedy. It is the hope of the kingdom of God and the incarnation of Christ that can already be experienced and expressed in the present. It is also the hope of the transformation of everything to form a new heaven and earth. Hope and mission can therefore not be separated. The concretisation of the expression of the kingdom of Christ in the world is hope, and a strong emphasis is therefore placed on mission as action in hope. Hope must be present where tragedy reigns, and the funeral and bereavement counselling can be used as a vehicle for this hope. Hope can then become an instrument of healing. The church can thus participate in God’s mission in the midst of tragedy and make an impact on society by taking on a missional character of hope.


Secularisation; funeral counselling; bereavement counselling; hope; missional ecclesiology.


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