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

Karen leads workshops in Creative Writing, Poetry and Journal Therapy, and Memoir Writing. She has studied genealogy and personal histories since 1987, lecturing and leading workshops on Memoir Writing and Journaling to the community since 1998. Karen holds a BA in English and has studied Literature, Business, and Education at the graduate level. She is a former college instructor of English Composition and Reading. In the past, Karen has worked as a high school & middle school teacher. She currently works as a Curriculum Specialist and is an MFA Creative Writing student at Florida Atlantic University.
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