Culture is formed by the sharing of common stories that shape the language, understanding, attitudes, structure, and processes that bond a group of people together across generations.
This course is designed to help develop leaders in your church who use an Appreciative Inquiry process to continuously refine the culture of your church so that more people engage in relevant practices of discipleship.
It is intended to plant and nourish a culture in which more people of every age are:
- gaining fluency in the scriptures,
- turning away from sin and turning toward the way of Jesus,
- attending to the means of grace
- engaging in private and corporate prayer,
- offering themselves to God in worship,
- organizing their lives around their divine calling,
- understanding and cultivating their spiritual gifts
- inhabiting intentional Christian community
- giving themselves and their treasure for the transformation of the World
- bearing witness to Christ and the Reign of God
- practicing invitational disciple making
The course supports leaders seeking to strengthen competencies:
#4 – Developing Coaching and Mentoring lay leaders to improve performance
#5 – Inspire passion and enthusiasm for spiritual development, discipleship and outreach
#10 – Influence the Actions and Behaviors of Others to Accomplish Changes in the Local Church
The course uses a narrative peer group form of learning in which leans on “’participant knowledge,’ in contrast to ‘spectator knowledge,’ which has been the dominant view on epistemology in the modern scientific world. Participant knowledge is something typically narrative in nature, which has much to do with emotional and expressive ways of understanding the world around us.”1 There will be no more than 8 participants in each cohort to make space for substantial conversation.
- The course runs for 16 weeks
- Five virtual conferences, 90 minutes held four consecutive months, with the cohort of 8 persons.
- At least five Appreciative Inquiry based conversations with a cohort partner about a case study in between the virtual sessions.
- At least five conversations with clergy and/or lay partners during the ordinary course of ministry in the local church. These conversations are designed to practice the use of Appreciative Inquiry to continuously strengthen our local church culture of discipleship.
- Each participant commits to provide one narrative case study in writing about a successful experience of discipleship in their setting to share with the group during the course – 500 words or less.
- There will be no readings or course requirements during Advent, Holy Week or the week after Easter (if applicable).
To deepen the learning, approximately 45 minutes weekly of reading, viewing, listening to, and/or commenting on peer narrative case studies, scriptural texts and other material relevant to using Appreciative Inquiry to more fully create a culture of adaptive discipleship in your church.
The main text for the course is Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change. There are other articles, case studies and optional readings made available during the course. Participants are expected to commit to completing the course requirements as a condition of enrollment.
1 Eila Estola , , Hannu L. T. Heikkinen , , Leena Syrjälä , (2014), Narrative Pedagogies for Peer Groups, in Cheryl J. Craig , Lily Orland-Barak (ed.) International Teacher Education: Promising Pedagogies (Part A) (Advances in Research on Teaching, Volume 22) Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.155 – 172