"Show the same respect for Michael and Michael's family that you showed Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley," he said, and received thunderous applause from the congregation. Sharpton then called on people from various churches to gather in youth centers for a "love vigil" focusing on Michael Jackson's songs.
"Let the media focus on the mess while we focus on the message," he said.
Security for the memorial is expected to cost taxpayers approximately $2.5 million. Last week Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry addressed fears that cash-strapped Los Angeles would be hard-pressed to pay the extra law enforcement that would be required for the memorial. Los Angeles's budget deficit now tops $530 million.
"Every year, the city budget is developed and a provision is made in the police department budget to cover the overtime costs of extraordinary events," said Perry. "This is not the first nor the last that the police department will be called on for a special event of this magnitude."
Perry also encouraged Jackson fans preparing to flock to Los Angeles for the memorial to consider staying at home and watching the service on television.
"I want to stress to those people coming or thinking about coming to our city for this special event that you might consider watching this from the comfort of your own home," she said.
ABC News correspondent Brian Rooney and The Associated Press contributed to this report.