School of Music


Doctor of Worship Studies (DWS)


David M. Hahn


Grief, Mourning, Lament, Bereavement, Worship, Comfort


Liturgy and Worship | Religion


One of the most challenging aspects of the human experience is dealing with the loss of a loved one. Although death marks the end of human life, it can affect the life of the ones closest to the deceased. Often, the griever is left in a sea of pain, which can produce doubts, isolation, and emotional conflict. Although the grieving believer may turn to the church for support in his/her time of grief, the church body may find itself unsure of how to respond best and support the needs of the bereaved. This qualitative historical study examines the literature pertaining to the grieving process and the worship ministries of the church directed toward the bereaved. While the research is narrowly focused on those who have experienced the loss of a loved one to death, it is realized that grief may be experienced as the result of other stressful life losses. Such situations might include relational breakup, job loss, divorce, loss of a loved one to addiction, loss of health, or loss of mental faculties). The findings of this study may prove applicable to those facing such situations. Collection of data from interviewees provided accounts from those dealing with loss to identify the challenges they face or faced when striving to worship and how they find or found comfort in the corporate worship setting. Data gathered throughout the interview process was analyzed to determine common emergent themes. From these themes, guiding principles were synthesized and offered to church worship leaders, their teams, and those preparing for the worship ministry as a means of equipping the body to more effectively meet the needs of fellow worshipers who experience the pain brought on by the death of a loved one.