“Are you going to interview me now?” he asked expectantly. My colleague and I had just wrapped some video interviews at the church we were visiting, and had no intention of filming more. Yet I could see something in this man’s eyes—not desperation—an earnestness, a longing to be heard, that made me reconsider.
“Sure!” I said, motioning to a folding chair and pulling out my notebook. He had a problem with alcohol, he said, and he slept on park benches at night. But he’d been coming to the church soup kitchen for a while now, and he liked how it made him feel. I got the sense he was trying to turn his life around, like so many others I met that day.
I later described the encounter to others as “the ministry of interviewing.” What I meant is the act of listening deeply to someone share their life story meets the deep need we all share to be truly seen and truly heard. Listening—really listening—communicates, “You are worthy of attention. Your words matter. You matter.” Interviewing isn’t just about finding the perfect the soundbite or collecting information. It’s also about holding space for someone, exploring who they are and getting to the heart of their story.
I’ve spent more than ten years telling others’ powerful stories. It is an honor and a privilege I do not take lightly. What I’ve learned is that everyone has a story, everyone’s carrying a burden and there is something sacred about the ministry of an interview.
His story matters—and so does mine, and so does yours. Tell yours, and keep listening.