Tips for Writing Church History

If you have been given the job of recording the history of your church you may need some tips for writing church history. Recording the history of your church is a very interesting process that will require a large amount of research. To write an accurate history, the writer needs to be trustworthy enough to take the required time to find out all the necessary info about your church and record it in the correct way.

Depending on how old your church is, you may have quite a job on your hands uncovering various details about your church. It will take time and patience for you to undercover everything there is to know. Following the tips provided below will assist you in effectively recording your church history for many people to refer to for years to come.

Why Record Church History?

There are a number of reasons why a church utilizes a writer or historian to obtain information about the history of a church.

  • Many churches have a very long history that has dates back decades and in some cases centuries. Establishing a church’s history is a way to confirm the foundation and the beginnings of the church.
  • This is a perfect way to keep track of both past, current and future milestones of the church.
  • There are some congregations that actually sell the history of their church to the congregation in the form of a fundraiser for the church.

Regardless of the original reason for gathering the history, the recording of a church’s history allows the congregation to know more about how the church began and how it has grown into what it is currently.

How to Write Church History

When writing the history of your church, there are some tips for writing church history that you should follow in order to ensure that you are recording everything is thoroughly and accurately as possible.

1. Pick a Format – It may help you to pick a format for the book prior to beginning. This will give you a base from which to work. Some ideas for formats for a church history book include:

  • Timeline format – Details the history of the church in chronological order
  • Chapters – This records the history in chapters that focus on different aspects of the church over the years (such as a chapter on Sunday school or youth activities)
  • Pictures – Using pictures with captions gives a pictorial form of history telling.

2. Set Up Contacts – In order to trace the history of your church you will need to speak to various people that are associated with the church. This is a job within itself so it is best to devise a plan as to how you will go about interviewing different people from the church. You may want to call a meeting to speak with everyone and get their anecdotes about your church. In any case, it is very important that you take the time to plan a meeting to speak with the members to obtain their stories.
3. Selecting a Method for Recording – The method you use to record the history while you are gathering information should be based on personal preference.

  • Some people like to use a pad and paper whereas others may find the use of a recording device helpful.
  • It may be worthwhile to utilize both, particularly when speaking with people about their accounts of a church over the years.

Be sure to take pictures of the church and contact the local library and long time family members to locate old pictures of the church to use in the official book about the church history.
4. Approving the Church History – Prior to creating the official copy of the church history, you should submit a copy to the leaders of church for approval. This will ensure that all of your work is recognized as fact by the church prior to making arrangements to have it officially published.

Uses of the Church History

There are a number of ways in which the church history can be used.

  • Some congregations sell the church history as a fundraising option for the church.
  • Other churches use the history book as a reference guide of the long standing traditions and the growth of the church.

The ways in which the written history of the church are used can be determined by the church itself.

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