I have been thinking about storytelling lately as a tool for both personal spiritual growth and leadership development. In my own congregation, I am thinking about how to help people take the many stories of their lives and make meaning of them. The church is uniquely suites to help people see where their stories intersect with God’s story. Understanding and claiming our own stories in light of God’s work is a key piece of evangelism – sharing the good news of what God has done for us. But before we can share our story, we must discover its many angles.
Storytelling is also important to the life of an institution. The story we tell about ourselves not only defines from whence we have come but also shapes our future. Is it important for members of the institution to share a common story? (This certainly makes vision-casting and fundraising easier!) Or should there be space for multiple stories even within a single organization? In a congregation as diverse as Eliot, I suspect the latter is true. In many ways the work ahead of me as a solo pastor of a multicultural congregation is to discover how to knit together these many stories into a compelling institutional narrative that both unifies us and celebrates our diversity.