Several types of outlines might be considered. A congregational history may be told chronologically.
This would be the life of the congregation in simple historical sequence.
A second arrangement could be by periods of time or by tenure of the
ministers. At Hillcrest, we have had the following pulpit ministers: Carl Spain, Jimmy
Jividen, Terry Bell, and Dwight Robarts. A History of Hillcrest could have four sections:
one for Spain, one for Jividen, one for Bell, and one for Robarts.
A third way is to organize by subject. This is an interpretation of the history and
is the most difficult to write. Dr. Jim Mankin's doctoral dissertation, Role
of Social Service in the Life and Growth of the Madison Church of Christ would be
an example of a congregation's history that has been interpreted by subject.
Include the human-interest stories like this one, where you can hear Dr. John C. Stevens reading about Sheriff
Burgess from No Ordinary University, his history of ACU.
Pay close attention to accurate spellings, particularly of proper names; people are
very protective of their names.
The writer should be prepared to make two or three drafts as the committee provides
editorial suggestions. Dr. Charlie Marler was the editor for Dr. Stevens' book No
Ordinary University. I could always tell when Dr. Marler was reading because Dr.
Stevens would be back in the archives looking for more materials to be added to the
Footnotes or endnotes should be prepared for unfamiliar materials and all quotations.
Use an accepted writer's guide such as Turabian, MLA, APA. (link opens in new window)
Appendices might include copies of legal documents such as the deed to the building,
lists of charter members, present members, ministers, elders, and deacons. Include as many
names as possible. Statistics may be placed in appendices as well, including membership
through the years, baptisms, and committees.
For your material to be useful to future researchers, it is imperative that you create
an index. Our lives are so full that there is not time to read an entire book to see what
is being said about one detail. An index will help insure maximum use of your work.