HARNESSING YOUR CHURCH’S HISTORY

How to put yesterday to work for tomorrow.

The history of a congregation is no more real to most church members than a list of names were to the little girl in the old joke.

She saw the names of military personnel on a bronze memorial plaque and asked her mother, "Who are all those people?"

"Why, they are members of our church who died in the service," the mother replied.

"Which one," asked the daughter, "8:00 or 10:30?"

We may briefly study the history of our faith and perhaps the life of a denomination, but for many members, a church's history amounts to who ran last year's church fair. For others, it's the last congregational crisis that they would just as soon forget. For some, history is the row of dusty board minutes squashed in stationery-store binders on a neglected shelf, or a list of faceless clergy, or the old crank who complains, "We never used to do it this way!" For others still, history is nostalgia for the old Book of Common Prayer or the King James Version.

That's too bad, because a congregation's history is rich with ...

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