The history of Personal Ministries can be traced to a women's group established in 1869 in South Lancaster, Massachusetts called the Vigilant Missionary Society. The work of the Vigilant Missionary Society led to the establishment of the "Tract and Missionary Societies" in various New England conferences in 1870. These societies enlisted church members to circulate tracts, pamphlets, books, and periodicals through sale or free distribution. They also conducted personal evangelism through visits, correspondence, and helping the needy.
1874 - Establishment of the General Tract and Missionary Society
1913 - Home Missionary Branch of the Publishing Department
1915 - Home Missionary Department
Specific Assignments included - Bible Correspondence Course enrollments, Community Service (emergency food and clothing, First Aid classes, home management disaster relief), Ingathering appeal, Lay Bible Evangelism, Literature distribution
1966 - Lay Activities Department - assigned the task of fostering the activities of the laity in local missionary service: personal or public evangelism or Community Service.
1985 - Church Ministries Department
1995 - Personal Ministries Department