July 10, 2018

Doing Something New? Five Key Questions


Is your congregation planning something new? If so, there are five key questions you can ask yourself and the group with which you are working. The five questions apply to almost every kind of congregational project. These key questions provide focus. Responses to these questions will provide structure for your work. You and your colleagues…

September 11, 2017

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…

August 25, 2016

Your Congregation is Not in Decline


In October 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that, based on new data, 19.5% of Americans register no religious affiliation. This is an almost five percent increase over the last five years. Congregations are struggling, in part, because the religious lives of individuals in the United States are changing, according to…

June 21, 2016

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…