Doing Change Differently: An Appreciative Inquiry Approach

by Katie Lindberg. Center for Congregations, 2014. Accessed November 30, 2017.
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All congregations have issues that need addressed and often leaders who attempt to address them think of them as problems that need to be solved. But what if a different approach, a more positive approach, could yield greater fruit while causing less conflict and doing less harm? That’s the proposition of this article by Indianapolis Center for Congregations staff member, Katie Lindberg. Lindberg, an ordained PCUSA pastor with 28 years of parish ministry experience explains through the use of an illustrative scenario the difference between problem solving and addressing issues through a process called Appreciative Inquiry (AI). “AI goes at organizational change from an entirely different direction.” It is based on two assumptions: something in the target area is working or it wouldn’t exist and whatever we focus on grows. This article is practical and illuminating; it describes and illustrates the phases of the AI process; and provides clergy and lay leaders from any faith tradition an introduction to how AI works. It presents a compelling argument for the benefits of focusing on and appreciating congregational strengths and positively reframing congregational issues that need to be addressed.

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