Why Story?

Everyone lives in a story.  Stories undergird our dreams and hopes; stories of pain and brokenness move us into despair or compassion; and a good story is what we clamor to see on the silver screen or curl up to read next to a warm fire.  Stories are like food to humans; good stories nourish us and bad stories suck life away.  Satan managed to trick Adam and Eve to trust in a false story.  But Jesus’ living story reminds us that God created us for a beautiful story and is committed to redeeming it. It is the most beautiful story ever created.

Jesus was a master storyteller and a re-creator of stories.  He took the most broken people and situations and flipped them around into powerful stories of hope.  He told stories that amaze and challenge us still.  It’s always amazing to see the first time someone really gets to see the beauty that exists in Jesus’ words, touch, and compassion to someone that is hurt, lost, or broken.  The Story Project hopes to get people in touch with Jesus’ story via visual art.

Given the rising Bible illiteracy of this generation of college students AND the simultaneous growing culture of creative communication, this project is designed to help campuses reach out to newcomers, cynics, and seekers.  In particular, we hope to reach creatives and artists, a group of people who are often unreached but are very much aware of both brokenness and hope as they create visual, musical, theatrical, and written stories.  They are the next generation of culture-changers and world-changers.

About the Mural

The Story Project is a way of drawing the campus into spiritual conversation through a large mural.  This mural by artists Shin Maeng, Gary Nauman, and Sarah Shin depicts two types of stories:

  • stories of people struggling with brokenness in the Gospels (relational brokenness and isolation in the Samaritan woman’s story; spiritual darkness and despair in the demoniac; disease and isolation in the leper), but it also shows the story of hope and transformation that occurs as these characters interact with Jesus.
  • Images of artists at work: writers of fantasy, musicians, dancers, actors, sculptors. 

Instead of several panels asking different questions (a la a traditional InterVarsity proxe station), this staff and students hosting this mural takes the viewer through a series of questions about the central drawing:

  • what do you see?
  • How does this connect to your story?
  • Can I tell you a little bit about my story?
  • Can I invite you to learn about the bigger story?

Twin Goals

The goal of the story project is two-fold

  • to increase quality contact with non-Christian creatives (during the mural display)
    • Quality is defined as establishing trust (getting to threshold three)
  • to increase conversions in followup activities linked with the mural

Therefore, followup is just as important as what happens during the display of the mural.  Staff should understand that the Story Project works best when the trust established through the art of the mural gives way to quality spiritual conversations and exploration in community.  Presentation of the gospel should happen in these followup activities and spaces.

Find more information and resources about the Story Project here

© InterVarsity 2014