How to Write a Ministerial Biography
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are, in many ways, a biography of the life of Jesus. New Testament is largely a biography of the life of the early church. There is good precedent for setting down on paper the work and mission of a person who is called by God to be his minister. A short but moving biography can quickly acquaint people with a minister. Writing it as a feature story instead of a dry reciting of bare facts adds interest.
Start with a meaningful turning point in the minister's life. Add a hook that will encourage the reader to go further. A good opening sentence might read: "At age 18 Randy was on top of the world -- but he didn't know that by age 21 he would be a washed-up, beaten down failure." Or, "Randy was probably the most boring and shy kid in his school, ordinary in every sense of the word. Then something special happened to him."
Show directly where God enters his life to bring the future minister from where he was to where he is now.
Quote the minister. Perhaps state his humbleness over his situation, and how he gives the praise to God.
Describe the minister's education next. Use the latest degree first and other relevant degrees and training.
Summarize in one or two paragraphs his current ministry and previous ministries. Look for highlights such as being the Chaplain of Moody Bible Institute or pastoring the same church for 40 years. Quote a colleague or leader in his church who knows him well.
Include family information. Describe any ministry that the wife has served either with her husband or by herself.
Edit the bio to one page of standard paper. If the bio will be used in several places, then create two other versions, one half as long and the other twice as long. Use as appropriate for the particular publication. Make sure you list contact information, including email and Website if appropriate. A photo helps. If the church has a logo, include it.
Be truthful in the biography. Resist the temptation to inflate it to make a person look better.
- Be truthful in the biography. Resist the temptation to inflate it to make a person look better.
Jack Burton started writing professionally in 1980 with articles in "Word from Jerusalem," "ICEJ Daily News" and Tagalong Garden News. He has managed radio stations, TV studios and newspapers, and was the chief fundraiser for Taltree Arboretum. Burton holds a B.S. in broadcasting from John Brown University. He is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Navy/Navy Reserves and the Navy Seabees.