How Do You Efficiently and Accurately Record the History of Your Church?

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Jamal5000, Aug 1, 2003.

  1. Jamal5000

    Jamal5000
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    The history of my church exists as a scant two page list of previous pastors and deacons.

    How does one accurately and clearly keep the church history if you serve as historian?

    Do you record the Pastor's sermons?
    Do you keep photo copies of his notes and records?
    Do you video tape every program and write a synopsis of the highlights?

    Thanks for your input, everyone.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
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    We have a very hard-working member who creates albums with pictures, printed materials, newspaper articles, etc. These are stored in the church archives. (I used a few of them to make the About Us page.)

    Both Tim and I maintain files of our sermon manuscripts (I put mine online).

    Joshua
     
  3. Circuitrider

    Circuitrider
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    Jamal,

    All history writers take the facts of the past and write them into some kind of narative or historical work. You could do the same with that material, by interviewing people in your church and finding as much background as possible and then putting it into a written form. Pictures, news articles, as well as church records provide abundant material for creating an historical account of your ministry. [​IMG]

    I pastored a church a number of years ago that was started back in 1834. They had done a good job of keeping historical materials, so there was a good basis for writing a brief but complete historical outline of the ministry of that church.

    Good luck as church historian. [​IMG]
     
  4. donnA

    donnA
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    We have a woman like this in our church, she has everything going back 135 years to the day our church was formed even the names of the 37 people who formed it. Someone kept good records, now she keeps it all compiled.
     
  5. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Our Free church started 30 years ago this last summer, as four families left two of our Baptist churches to found it.

    Now you would think that everyone who know just about everything in a church that young. They had one "scrapbook" (some bulletins, a paragraph-long history, photos). And everyone disagreed on everything!!

    We worked hard to update all the records. A lovely gal who is into "scrapbooking" did a great job.

    Still, lots of missing "stuff" from such a young congregation. Too bad, but now there is a mechanism for collecting, sorting and keeping intact historical stuff.

    Every church needs that. Members come and go. Time passes. God's church continues.
     
  6. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
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    We are celebrating our 55th anniversary, as a church, this Sunday. We have names and pictures of the charter members, as well as the previous pastors. We have a photographer come in every year and take pictures of all the families. They are then put into an album (Church Directory) and the congregation buys them. Of course, one is always kept for the church.

    The sermons are taped and kept on file. We have a fine history.

    Our town is also celebrating our sesquitennial (150 years). Our pastor has purchased cups and every family attending next Sunday will receive one. It has a picture of the church 1948-2003 on one side and a picture of our court house 1853-2003 on the other.

    The first church service was held under a tree with five families in attendance. We've come a long way baby!

    ┬žue
     
  7. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Jamal

    There are some good ideas on how to record your church's history above. I will add how we do it, and it works for us. Your church will have to decide what works for them.

    We keep a ledger with minutes of the church conference; what happened, also our clerk records who took what parts of the services; who led prayer, who preached, what text was used, etc. We dont record every hymn number or record every sermon.

    In a separate binder we keep important church documents apart from the minutes of the meetings -- deed to the property, insurance policies, financial statements, utility bills, etc. In yet a third binder we keep certificates of appointment for the trustees, ministerial credentials, correspondence from sister churches on this and that (mostly letters of dismission for those who join by that manner); invitations to participate in special services at sister churches, presbytery records, etc. A Fourth ledger is used to record information about our church cemetery. It has been difficult because the cemetery records were never kept originally, and the cemetery has been vandalized during prohibition, so we are still trying to reconstruct these records.

    In the interest of safety, the records of the meetings are made in duplicate, with copies being kept in different locations. Our church was established in 1786, but the records of the church prior to 1919 were destroyed when the clerk's house burned. We learned our lesson. Additionally, I have scanned our documents, put them on a couple of CDs and they have been put in the church's safety-deposit box, and another copy is located in the local historical society.

    A project we have just started is to try to collect photographs of the members that we can. We are scanning these into a computer and storing them on multiple copies of CDs. I will probably print a copy pretty soon, but have promise of some more older member photos.

    Hope it helps.
     

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