Love Your Neighbour has training and experience in facilitating conversations using a process called Appreciative Inquiry (AI).
What we love about AI is that it is not problem focused. The traditional approach to change is to look for the problem, get to the root of it and then find a solution. When we look for problems that is what we find. By paying attention to problems we emphasise and amplify them.
AI suggests that we rather look for what is already working in line with our goal. In every church something is working that keeps people faithful and engaged and this is the best starting point for a family conversation. We believe this accords with Scripture, which exhorts us to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable (Phil 4:8).
Participants are encouraged to remember energising moments of success and to imagine and plan for a future where this success is everyday. Because their plans are grounded in real experience and history, our people know how to repeat their success. A new unifying positive energy is created and participants walk away with a sense of commitment, confidence and achievement. New paths are discovered to our desired outcome that make former roadblocks irrelevant. What was seen as a weakness may be turned into a strength.
The outcome of our inquiry process is a clear picture of where the church wants to be, and a practical plan to do something different as an experiment that will move the church closer to its desired future.
Using Appreciative Inquiry churches are able to:
- define/identify the issue that needs attention
- discover things that are already good in the church
- dream about what might be
- decide on an outcome to work on
- design it and deploy it into the life of the church
The Love Your Neighbour team not only facilitates but also teaches this mode of solution finding so that churches can make use of it again and again. The outcome is that a church has a conversation that matters, decides together on a specific change outcome, understands why it is important and what is needed to make it a success.
This process is encouraging, constructive, creative and it works!