Planning Ahead: One Church's Journey to Normalizing Conversations about What Matters Most in Life, Death, and Dying


Type of Story
Failing Forward Moments

Be prepared & commit for the long haul: Give people space for processing, stay at it, and in time seeds will bear fruit.
•Frame end-of-life terminology and messaging to what will resonate with your community.
• Encourage conversations that match what matters most to your community’s culture, family, and beliefs.
• Appeal to both the personal and various professional needs congregants bring to the table.
• Enlist a passionate leader to facilitate and lead this process.
• Set a goal, track and evaluate progress and adapt programming.
• Test new ideas to see what resonates.
• Empower participants to direct the path through active learning and evaluation of feedback/ideas.
•Leverage the advice of others already doing this, partnering with likeminded groups for support.
•Emphasize the importance of taking a leap of faith, introducing this work with courage and confidence and testing ideas to see what works.


faith , end of life, planning ahead, advance directives, faith communities


  • Family and social support

  • Quality of care

  • System change: Faith community transformation

  • Efficient

  • Proactive

  • In partnership

  • Interpersonal (between people)

  • Organization

  • Community/place

  • Culture

  • Faith community

  • Childhood 0-18

  • Infancy Birth to 1

  • Early childhood 0-5

  • Junior youth 13-15

  • Youth 16-24

  • Adults 18+

  • Adults 18-44

  • Adults 45-64

  • Older adults 65+

  • Older adults 65-74

  • Older adults 75-85

  • All ages

Geographic Context
  • Urban/large city

Geographic Unit
  • Neighborhood

  • City/Town

Words to Describe