Questioning Forward: Every Group Has Its Strengths

One of the core assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry is that in every organization, some things work well. An unfortunate aspect of leadership is that it becomes easy to fixate on what needs improving, giving little thought or appreciation to what is already good about our group. How many of our conversations at the level of leadership center around what has been going wrong or getting ignored?

But if our goal is to implement positive change in our churches, the best place to start is to figure out what is going well. What’s good and healthy about us? What can we build on?

People have many options for socializing. If they are choosing your church, your life group, or your class, it’s because they are getting something out of it. Certainly, the commitment that people individually make to God is some factor in why they show up, but there is some reason they show up for your group in particular.

One of the benefits of asking questions about what is going well is that it provides valuable insights into what might not need to change. Leaders can sometimes fixate on a methodology or a program that they believe needs implementing, but if the implementation comes at the cost of something that’s already effective, it might be wasted energy at best, or disruptive at worst.

In your church, your organization, and your family, it is a healthy thing to ask questions and listen with an open mind. See what responses you receive when you inquire:

  • When we are at our very best, what’s going on? Who’s there? What are we doing?
  • What is it about your experience here that fills you up and makes you glad you came?
  • What is it that keeps you coming back?
  • When you think of our best days, what is it that makes them our best days?

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