As an academic, Shaun Price’s fascination with church history only deepened when he started attending Wake Forest Baptist Church’s historical committee meetings.
“Although this is a church with a rich history dating to 1835, no one had written a book-length history of the church,” Price told the Biblical Recorder. “Through God’s providence, it was the right time to write this book.”
Our Story of Faith: The History of Wake Forest Baptist Church 1835-2015 by Timothy Shaun Price, recently won the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSC) historical writing competition. The award is usually presented at the BSC annual meeting, but a shortened schedule due to COVID-19 and a recipient out of the country did not allow that to take place at the Nov. 10 meeting, which will take place at First Baptist Church in Charlotte.
Price is currently serving as a church planter/missionary with the International Mission Board in Cardiff, Wales. Their family is part of a church revitalization project at Grangetown Baptist Church.
He learned of the convention competition through a post on the Recorder’s Facebook page.
While Price said he found himself “going down more rabbit holes of research than I care to recount,” he listed five main resources for his research:
- The Wake Forest church’s archives. “The church has its original minute book dating to 1835,” Price said. “I began most of my research with the church minutes to see what was happening and who was involved at a given time in the life of the church.”
- The North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection in the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University. “Because this church had such a prominent place in Baptist life in the 19th and 20th centuries, I found valuable troves of primary source documents,” he said. “For the first 50 or so years, the pastor of the church was also the president of Wake Forest College,” which was founded in Wake Forest before it moved its campus to Winston-Salem in 1956.
- The Biblical Recorder archives from 1834-1970 which are digitized and online at the library’s website. You can access them here.
- The three-volume History of Wake Forest College by George Paschal.
- The Wake Forest Historical Museum in Wake Forest.
Price credited Doug Smith, a member of Wake Forest Baptist, with “an excellent job of gathering letters, documents and other materials that had been sitting stagnant for decades around the church.”
A member of the church’s historical committee commissioned Price to write the book.
“I recall several times walking around the old Wake Forest Cemetery and seeing the graves of those individuals about whom I had been writing,” Price said. “I often said a prayer of thanks to God for using these men and women. I see it as a stewardship to be able to write their story and keep the history of this wonderful church alive.”
Price was raised in Williamston, N.C., where he was a member of Memorial Baptist Church. At age 16, Price felt God call him into ministry. He applied to and attended the only Baptist school he knew: Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. He continued his education at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, where he received a master of arts, master of divinity and master of theology. He also finished a master of arts in English literature from N.C. Central University in Durham.
He met his wife, Joy, while in seminary. They have been married 12 years and have four children: Augustine (11), Jane (9), Hugh (7) and Edmond (4).
After Southeastern, the family of three at the time, moved to Scotland where they lived for four years while he attended the University of Aberdeen. He received a doctor of philosophy degree in theological ethics.
When the family moved back to N.C. in 2013, he served five years as an adjunct professor at various colleges in the Raleigh-Durham area, as well as serving for a time as an associate pastor.
“Around 2017, we began considering international missions as a career,” he said. “We were commissioned as missionaries to Cardiff, Wales, in November 2018 by the International Mission Board.”
The Prices were members of Wake Forest Baptist Church (2013-16). “I appreciated the liturgical aspect of worship at this church, and was attracted to Pastor Bill Slater’s love of our Lord Jesus,” he said.
“Writing a church history allows one to bring alive the stories of what God has done in and through His church,” he said, quoting Isaiah 46:9, “remember the former things of old; for I am God and there is no other, I am God and there is none like me.”
Price recommends churches should be digitizing all their files. “A single fire can easily wipe away irreplaceable church documents,” he said. “These are often stories that can serve as encouragement and inspiration for us today.”
The book, which is being published this month by Mercer University Press, is available for purchase through the church at wakeforestbaptist.breezechms.com/form/fb625d.