Based on the successes seen in nationwide competitions and exhibitions on storytelling, such as the podcast and National Public Radio (NPR) show, The Moth, Richard Castillo, associate pastor at Sligo church (Takoma Park, Md.) set out to create a program built around storytelling.
Castillo says the concept seemed simple—get people to tell their stories in a curated format, 10-12 minutes, and then spark conversation with challenging questions. “The ultimate hope of the program—which we named Reset—was an environment where each attendee would feel a freedom to share their own stories, thus allowing attendees to grow deeper in relationship and friendship,” he explains. “If people attend a church because they love the community around them, what better way to inspire community than by giving people a venue to share like no other venue will allow?”
Castillo says topics are meant to reach into attendees’ everyday life, challenge them to reach deep and find something to share that, in some cases, they may have never shared or been given the opportunity to share before. Then, it’s the responsibility of the question facilitator to put a spiritual bow on the conversations of the night. “At Reset, every night is about Jesus and how our lives may be better if we take our lives, our stories and our experiences and lay them at the cross,” he says.
Almost a year later, Reset is holding its own and showing what happens when you bring people together to worship and share their lives in a way many church environments don’t allow for.
Reset begins its program with the Reset band, an eclectic group that loves to tell stories and praise God in ways that only great musicians can. “If you come to Reset, you might hear great hymns, like, Jesus Paid It All and Amazing Grace,” says Castillo, “but they’ll always have a Reset flavor.” The band is led by prolific singer Lupita Garza who takes each song ,and along with her amazing band, turns them into something special.
“Reset is purely what it says it is—a Reset,” shares Castillo. “For many, it has become a true balm and therapy for the week. We meet each Saturday at 5pm in the Chapel at Sligo church. The family that’s worked together to developed the inaugural year of Reset has become closer and more determined to bring others to this place of honesty and transparency. We want to introduce everyone to a place where it is ok to laugh, cry, share and allow others to know who you are. So like we say at Reset, ‘What’s your story?’”