A church graveyard often means that the church has lasted for decades and decades as saints have labored there to preach the Gospel and build up the body…how much we lose when our church doesn’t have a graveyard.
Every couple of months, I go for a walk around our church graveyard. I have called it a cemetery for the longest time, but it’s actually a graveyard. Graveyards are connected to a church. Cemeteries are not.
As I walk through the graveyard, I visit the graves of saints that have passed on since I have been pastor and I remember them. I’m encouraged by their graves to keep pressing forward in pastoral ministry.
I once spoke with a pastor who told me, “I don’t like church graveyards. That’s just a picture that you are a dying church.” I thought that was quite silly. A church graveyard often means that the church has lasted for decades and decades as saints have labored there to preach the Gospel and build up the body.
It’s sad that many new churches that are started do not get to have a graveyard. Most of the time, I get it. If you plant a church in downtown Boston, you can’t really have a graveyard attached to it. But, how much we lose when our church doesn’t have a graveyard.
Here are five reasons I think there is glory in a church having a graveyard attached to it.
#1 It reminds us of our own death as we enter worship.
The fact is, we in America rarely think of our own mortality, especially if we are young. We kind of know in the back of our minds that we will die someday, but it’s still a long way off, right? Wrong. In our church graveyard, there are people of all ages. We have several babies buried in our graveyard that were only a few days old. We have kids buried there. We have people in our graveyard that were in their 40s and 50s when they died. Every person in the graveyard that died at old age were at one time my age. And now they are gone. And so will my life be. So every day when I see that graveyard, I am reminded I will die and that causes me to consider my life and value what is important. It causes me to make my life about the right things and not waste it.