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357 results for Positive Change
Collection
Finding Solutions through Positive Deviance
Curator Tim Shapiro
Collection
Appreciative Inquiry
Curator Susan Weber
Collection
Congregational Leadership Development
Curator Kate White
Collection
Clergy Health
Curator Doug Hanner
book
Appreciative Leadership: Focus on What Works to Drive Winning Performance and Build a Thriving Organization
This resource explores the five core strategies of Appreciative Leadership and contains questions for the reader to reflect on their own leadership style.
article
Positive Change for Congregations
This article summarizes the experience of the Indianapolis Center for Congregations in teaching positive change processes to congregations through a one day event called Flourishing Congregations.
article
Group Processes that Facilitate Positive Change
This article discusses four effective processes that leaders can use to take a positive approach toward non-technical issues in their congregation.
book
The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change
Written by nationally-recognized experts on the Appreciative Inquiry process, this book details the various ways Appreciative Inquiry can be used successfully.
book
Interim Ministry: Positive Change in Times of Transition
This resource offers a comprehensive review of interim ministry, and includes strategies and actions interim pastors can take to lead congregations through change.
For The CRG Created For The CRG
Appreciative Inquiry

What does marriage have in common with congregational life? There is one thing in particular: both flourish when the ratio of positive validation to negative criticism is five to one in favor of the positive.

The magic ratio

Dr. John Gottman is a therapist who works with married couples. He has researched what he calls the magic ratio. He observes couples interact over time and predicts the staying power of the marriage. One of the key indicators is the ratio of affirmation to negations. If a couple share five validations for every one negative statement, there is an excellent chance that the marriage is flourishing. Not all complaint is wrong, but criticism needs to be balanced with positive messages to result in growth.

The same is true for congregations

Congregations flourish when they focus on their strengths. When too much attention is given to the negatives, then congregations fail to receive important nutrients. The community becomes more a desert than a thriving field of grain.

Appreciative Inquiry

No wonder so many congregations have found planning processes based on Appreciative Inquiry helpful. Appreciative Inquiry was created by David Cooperrider of Case Western University. He and colleagues like Diana Whitney note the importance of human communities to value the best in people. Valuing the best in people leads to more health; the nourishment of validation results in progress.

The best in a congregation, what is strong and right and beautiful, can be revealed through inquiry. You can uncover hidden strengths through a process of exploration in which problem questions are reframed as possibility questions.

Reframing the question

Members of a worship team from a midwest congregation talked about worship. Someone said, “Our worship has become stale. Where’s the joy?” The leader of the worship team had been trained in Appreciative Inquiry. She changed the question. She responded, “Let’s take a moment and recall our most joyful worship experiences.” For the next hour, the members of the worship team shared their stories of powerful encounters in worship. One person remembered his baptism. Another recalled an Easter service. Still another person told the story of worshiping with three generations of her family.

Reframing a negative question to a positive question is just a part of the Appreciative Inquiry process. The entire process leads a congregation through four steps, or the four D’s: Discover, Dream, Design, and Destiny.

Here is a short description of each phase:

All through the process the emphasis is on affirmation and validation. Yes, the five to one ratio is an enchanted construct, not just for couples but for communities too. Perhaps the magic ratio is a construct woven into creation by our Creator. Positive energy is like a rain shower for parched land.

Your congregation has many good things happening. Discover these good things. You will likely be drawn to a destiny abundant with faith, hope and love.

Here are some of my favorite appreciative inquiry resources: the article “Doing Change Differently: An Appreciative Inquiry Approach” and the book The Power of Appreciative Inquiry.

And here is a CRG page with more information about Appreciative Inquiry.

Yes, your congregation is a special place. Celebrate! Validate! And learn.

For The CRG Created For The CRG
The Practical Implementation of Appreciative Inquiry

In recent years, many congregations have asked about the use of Appreciative Inquiry (AI).

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is the process of identifying, considering and leveraging strengths. It is inclusive, engaging the entire congregation, in asking important questions such as, “what gives life to our congregation when it functions at its best?”

Implementing AI

Many pastors and congregational leaders have asked us about the practical implementation of this process. How is it used, where do you start and what is my role?

Here are some important things to consider:

The Center for Congregations, through the CRG, recommends many resources on Appreciative Inquiry and positive change to help you get started. As always, we stand ready to answer your questions.

book
Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry, Missional Engagement, and Congregational Change
This resource details the impact of Appreciative Inquiry and how to create congregational change as told through the story of First Presbyterian Church.
book
The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry
This guide is an accessible question guide designed for group facilitators looking to change the way people think about change through Appreciative Inquiry.
book
The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts
Divided into three sections, this book will help congregations discover their assets --- whether it be physical, talent or economic --- and prepare leaders for how to utilize such assets.
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