Writing a Church History

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Jeff Weaver, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. Jeff Weaver

    Jeff Weaver
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    Oct 10, 2001
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    Hi folks

    I had some thoughts on this subject, don't know if anyone is interested or not, but I will throw them out.

    I have done a couple of histories for a couple of churches, and three associational histories in times past. In other discussions in this folder we talked some about writing histories. Here is one approach on how to do it, if you might be so inclined to do one. (I think every church should have one, updated periodically, and distributed to the membership),

    I. Scope - History of XYZ Baptist Church
    II. Origins (Where did your church come from)
    A. Predecessor Churches
    B. Founders
    C. Theological Point of View
    D. Geographic Point of View
    III. Uniqueness (Points of your church's history that would be unique to your church alone)
    A. Membership
    B. Leadership
    C. Programs
    D, Church specific newsletters/other publications.
    IV. Commonalities (Points of your church's history that it may share with other churches)
    A. Associational/Denominational Ties
    B. Fellowship lines
    C. Programs.
    V. Conclusions/Vision/Prospects.
    VI. Appendix of Statistics, biographical sketches, founding documents, etc.

    Sources for material to research a history of your church, which of course may vary depending on polity, associational/denominational connections, etc.

    A. Church Records
    B. Associational/Denominational Records
    C. Interviews with current/former church leaders/members/opponents/community members who may not be members.
    D. Public records (deeds/law suits, etc.)
    E. Newspaper accounts
    F, Church/associational/denominational publications/newsletters
    G. Publications or newsletter of groups/churches which may be in opposition to your churches views, and which have some reason to comment on them.

    I would suggest that the source material be collected, categorized, and preserved. The manuscript should be properly referenced with footnotes and a bibliography. Divisions or unpleasant episodes of church/associational/denominational history should not be glossed over or ignored, if there have been any.

    If you include biographies, set some guidelines, and clearly state what they are, lest feelings get hurt.

    Once your manuscript is completed, have it peer reviewed, by individuals who are knowledgable about your church, and have it reviewed again by those who arent, for clarity of thought, grammar, etc. This might take two-five revisions.

    I probably have forgotten something important, but it seems to me to be a good place to start for you aspiring historians.

    Even if your church doesn't care to endorse your work, which in and of itself is a mixed blessing/curse, deposit a copy with the Church Clerk, and some local/denominational repositories for preservation.

  2. rlvaughn

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    Mar 20, 2001
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    What do you mean if? I thought we were talking about Baptist church histories?? :confused: :D

    Thanks for the thoughts, Jeff. Your suggestions, if followed, will prove very helpful. Every church should compile and write their history. I wrote a short history of the first church I pastored. The church only had a about ten or twelve years of history, as it was organized in the early 1970's. But I was also able to find a little information about former churches/religion in the community and include that.
  3. tyndale1946

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    Aug 30, 2001
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    Brother Robert always has a way of bringing us back to reality... What do you mean if?... That's why there is so many isims and chisms :eek: ... [​IMG] :rolleyes: [​IMG] ... Brother Glen [​IMG]

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