Discovering the best of what is through paired interviews

Our experience as facilitators of the Appreciative Inquiry process has taught Love Your Neighbour the value of conducting paired interviews in order to discover the best of our experience and discern what is already working. This creates a wonderful springboard for a fruitful conversation about the hopeful future for our church we dream about.
Over the course of about an hour, here is how it could work. Person A interviews person B, and then person B interviews person A. This is best done live in a room together, but it could also work on a platform like Zoom. If you’re using Zoom, you can give each pair their own breakout room. Then, if you have 30 or more people, next place the pairs with other pairs to form groups of eight for ‘roundtable’ dialogues. As each person relays what they heard, the group processes the questions by capturing themes, compelling stories, new visions, future dreams, and pathways to action. Finally, bring everyone back together and have spokespersons from each group report back the best of what was shared in their group.

This meeting may well be remembered as one of the most unifying, empowering and developmental gatherings you have experienced as a church. In so many ways, we live in worlds that our conversations create. That’s how lives and church cultures deepen and develop.

Here are some suggested interview questions that will open up a conversation that matters. One powerful question may be enough. 

  • What gives life to our church?
  • When has our church revealed its true colours? What are you most proud of?
  • Can you tell a story that provides inspiration for what we are capable of together?
  • What adjective best describes your feelings about the church, and why?

We have prepared a sample interview form that you could use here. Clicking the link will trigger a download. It is a Word document that you can change how you like.