Myth in Congregational Spirituality
Beyond the Ordinary: Spirituality for Church Leaders, Ben C Johnson & Andrew Dreitcer
By: Linnea Nilsen Capshaw
“If a leader is to be effective in developing a spiritual congregation, he or she must first learn about the myth that has given shape to that particular church…. Answers to the following questions will provide the kinds of information needed to discern the myth:

• Why did this church begin? How do you see the hand of God in its beginning?
• What are the significant experiences you have had together as a congregation?
• Who has provided significant leadership in this congregation? What did they give? What were they like?
• Who were the memorable ministers, and what did they do?
• What ministry of this church are you most proud of?
• How have you experienced God through your participation in this congregation?
• What painful or disappointing things have happened to you as a congregation?
• How does this church help people draw close to God?
• When was the church at its peak? What has been its lowest point?
• What major crisis have you dealt with?
• What do you think God wishes for this congregation?
• What gives you hope for the church’s future?

By listening carefully to the stories that emerge in response to these questions, leaders can create a time line of significant events and thus begin to construct the congregation’s myth. It is important to talk with a large number of congregants to fill in the blanks of the story.

Leaders are of course interested in the spirituality of their congregation, and so will inquire about and give particular attention to the image of God contained in the myth…. Leaders will also want to consider rather carefully how the members perceive their relationship with God.”