Writing a Church History

Another way for freelance writers to market their services and add to their bank account is by writing church histories. Church histories are an excellent way for a church to preserve their history. They also make great fundraisers. Histories can be very long (over 100 pages) or very short (10-20 pages). It depends on the age of the church and what the board directors are seeking to document. Some churches hire professionals to compile and write their histories, while others select volunteers from the congregation. Ask your church or a church near you if they have plans to write or update their church history.
In the introduction, you introduce the key people in the church in present day. You acknowledge those people who were instrumental in helping put together the document. Specify in this section why the church is writing the book.
In the next section of the book include photographs of the church from past to present. Include the location of the church building and its different locations over the years.

In one section, include a list of former and current pastors. Provide a photograph and a short bio for each pastor. You can also include a section for former and current youth pastors, choir members, board members and other key groups in the church.

Include a section pertaining to the major events that have affected the church over the years. Did the church go through any natural disasters in its lifetime? Did the church face any financial or other type of crisis? Remember to talk about specific people who have come and gone from the church and had a major impact on the life of the church.

How has the church interacted with the community over the years? Write about key fundraisers, social events, and other events that have included the surrounding community.

What does the future hold for the church? Talk about the church’ s plans for the future. Are they planning to add a wing or break ground on a new chapel? Close the book with a positive outlook on the future.

Market the church history throughout the congregation and the community. Sell it as a fundraiser at local museums, libraries, and community events. Let the local newspaper know about the book and ask to be interviewed by the local radio station. The key to getting the book out there is to get people involved in talking about the book.

Resources
A Guideline for Church Historians
Karenzo Media – Consider hiring us to help you write your church history!

About Karen Y. Hamilton

Walt Whitman says about his autobiography, Specimen Days “…At any rate I obey my happy hour’s command, which seems curiously imperative. May-be, if don’t do anything else, I shall send out the most wayward, spontaneous, fragmentary book ever printed.” This is what I feel at this juncture of my life, the need to gather together memories of my ancestors as well as my own memories into some semblance of order. Because all of those fragments, all of the fragments that make up any life, become stories. I am the mother of three sons, who affectionately (I hope!) call me 'gypsy mom' because I tend to wander around a bit soaking in the universe's wonders. I am currently working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at Florida Atlantic University. I have published essays with Heritage Press, Florida Living, and the St. Pauls Review. I am currently working on a book of poems about the Florida Everglades pioneers and a memoir about grief and the bonds of friendship. I live in my hometown, Jupiter, Florida and work as a freelance writer and curriculum specialist.
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