Why Community is Essential for Artists

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A community of artists produces better art—that’s our philosophy at The Austin Stone. The lone ranger approach to art and storytelling can be done, but it’s not sustainable. Working alone limits the amount of stories an artist can tell, and they miss out on the creative inspiration that comes from creating within community.

When a community of artists works together to tell stories, they create better work than they would on their own. The dialogue between artists pushes each of them towards their best work. More than that, artists working together on a story, or any work of art, will approach it with their own points of view, experiences, creativity and abilities. When collaboration between artists takes place in a way that brings forth each person’s strengths, it results in better work. The more excellent and creative the art, the more people will want to read, listen or watch what you have to say.

Story Team is a community. We are a family of artists, brothers and sisters in Christ who share a mission to use our God-given artistic gifts for his glory and fame. If you look at our church website, you will only see three full time staff members and five residents. In reality that’s only a small percentage of our team. Story Team is more than 50 volunteers from our church that serve with their gifts.

Our volunteer artists play a crucial role in the storytelling efforts of the Stone. They make Story Team happen. These artists are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians. Some of them are professional storytellers by trade, but a lot of them are business professionals, teachers, college students and more. Over the last few years we have been able to capture and publish nearly 200 written stories, and every single one of them was written, edited, and photographed by volunteer artists.

These talented artists serve the church faithfully by using their artistic talent to tell stories, and they do it in the context of community. One of the best examples of this kind of collaboration is evident in two of our Behind the Story posts, from the writer and photographer of the story Choosing Joy. They share in their interviews how they collaborate on their assignments, and the results are clear.

Our God made us for community, and artists are not an exception. We are called to live and create in community. If we follow God’s desire for us in this, our art and our faith will be better because of it.

Steven Bush

Steven Bush is an Artist Pastor, Filmmaker and Carpenter who lives in Austin, TX with his beautiful wife, Maris, and two beloved children, August and Wyatt. He serves as the Lead Storyteller and Director of The Austin Stone Story Team.

Steven and Maris have dedicated their family and lives to serving the fatherless generation. Starting their family through adoption, they now serve as active foster care parents. They believe that gospel justice begins at the family dinner table. Their belief is simple, but impacting — “A shared table is a shared life.”

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