Everyone Has a Story: What’s Yours?

If you haven’t seen Dave Isay’s TED Talk on how his project StoryCorps got started in Grand Central Station in NYC, you need to watch it. It’s 21 minutes that will rush by as we learn again the power of story and, more than simply story, of simply listening to each other.

StoryCorps is a project that invites people to interview other people they know and love and archive those stories so that they are preserved. Isay shares excerpts of several interviews. They will make you smile, cry, and laugh. They are, in a word, amazing.

Stories are powerful because through our stories we make sense of our lives, share our selves, demonstrate our capacity for love, forgiveness, resilience, and more. Stories are how we pass on our experience, hardships, suffering, triumphs, and wisdom. And StoryCorps helps the world do that.

A few years ago, I came across filmmaker Andrew Zuckerman’s Wisdom Project. In it, he captures the wisdom of a senior generation of politicians, actors, musicians, and more. It’s also moving, and I immediately saw in it a similar project that I wished congregations would undertake. Can we capture the faith stories of our people, young and old, new to the faith and experienced disciples? And can we collect them? And share them? Think of the power of a congregation hearing their own faith stories? Or hearing those of a congregation in another community…or part of the world. Think of what it would be like to hear their parents and grandparents talk about why their faith is important, and to have parents and grandparents hear how much they faith they passed down means to their children and grandchildren.

Goodness, I think there’s so much potential in this kind of undertaking, but I never found the time or resources to pull it off. Watching this TED Talk, I realized I don’t need to. Any congregation can employ the techniques of Dave Isay and StoryCorps in order to capture and share their faith stories. And one of my favorite faith communities (you know who you are) is doing that this fall. It’s possible…and important.

Not sure you’re up to it? Watch Isay’s talk and be inspired to think again.

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