It’s Thanksgiving! Time to reflect on all the great things God is doing and has done in the world that we are thankful for. This makes me think of Appreciative Inquiry, an approach to organizational change that focuses on what is working and what we value about our organizations as we move from good to better. I have not formally studied Appreciative Inquiry, but I sense that the concepts it offers can help us as leaders shape healthy conversations about what is next for our churches, drawing on the good qualities of our ministries that have come before.
There are tons of sites about appreciative inquiry as applied to business on the web. One short secular resources is, “The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry” by Sue Annis Hammond.
Appreciative Inquiry can also be misused, like any leadership technique. One reviewer who experienced this approach as an employee of a school district called it a campaign of “forced optimism” that stifled criticism of the system.
Readers, please educate me about how appreciative inquiry has worked in your settings!
The Alban Institute has published some resources about how appreciative inquiry can be used in churches, including this one: