Jon Sanders explains how to officiate life celebrations in Episode 062

Today I am interviewing a man who is not yet 50, but he has a wonderful opportunity for seasoned citizens to serve others during the most important moments of their lives.

Jon Sanders is one of the people behind Life Celebration Institute. It is an organization that helps men and women in the United States and Canada become certified to officiate life celebrations and rites of passage, such as weddings, funerals and new child celebrations.

Jon’s business partner, Wayne Prevett, developed the institute several years ago when he was living in Canada. Jon is helping Wayne expand the program in the United States.

The trained celebrants show up in a very professional way to preside over the events. In the past, people may have hired pastors to lead the celebrations. However, with more people not involved in a church today, they still want someone to lead a unique and memorable ceremony.

Jon explains why people like having non-clergy members presiding over weddings and, especially funerals. Pastors sometimes see those ceremonies as interruptions to their real ministry activities. Some churches are too small to accommodate large events, so families look for people who can officiate outside of churches or in locations far away from a pastor’s church.

Consequently, leading life celebrations is an opportunity for men and women to have their own ministries in the marketplace, and make extra money doing it.

To tell us more about this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in your local area, please welcome Jon Sanders, with Life Celebration Institute, to the show.

When I first heard about Life Celebration Institute, I saw it as a tremendous opportunity for people over 50 to enjoy a sense of purpose by serving families during the most meaningful moments of their lives.

Jon’s right. For most professional ministers, doing weddings and funerals is an add-on or expected duty. It’s additional work for which they aren’t necessarily compensated for the extra time.

They might get a $100 stipend or a gift card. However, Jon explained the officials presiding over ceremonies are often the lowest-paid professionals at these very important and memorable events.

Life Celebration Institute trains people to show up at the events and serve with empathy, professionalism, and strong, secure leadership. The celebrants stand in the gap conducting a legal ceremony for weddings, and telling the real story about people who have died.

Jon explained that many funerals involve little more than reciting someone’s obituary when, in fact, there was far more meaning to the person’s life.

To become trained to conduct life celebrations, the officials really need to care about other people, commit to showing up on time and being professionally dressed. They are committed to creating a memorable moment for the family.

The institute trains people how to conduct ceremonies in ways that brings Jesus into the moment, but not in an overbearing manner as though they are reading from a liturgy handbook.

Jon explained that Canada is already a post-Christian society, and the United States is following closely behind. For many people, turning to professional clergy during these important times is not even on their radar. Therefore, the officiants are trained to serve people wherever they are on their faith journey, but in a professional, loving and memorable manner.

Training generally takes place online over a two-day period, and people need separate certifications to conduct weddings, funerals or new life celebrations. Training costs are currently $125 for new life celebrations, $625 for weddings and $825 for funerals.

In addition, the trained professionals pay an annual fee to Life Celebration Ministries to maintain their certification.

However, people who officiate the ceremonies are often making around $750 or more to officiate a wedding. As independent business owners, they can set their own prices, and determine which jobs to accept.

To learn more about becoming certified to officiate life celebrations, visit It’s an ideal opportunity for people who are great listeners, passionate about serving other people and experienced communicators.

That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit

I’ll have another inspirational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.