Appreciative inquiry – replicate what’s right

By Dave Henning / February 3, 2018

“There is a theory in organizational development called appreciative inquiry . . . Instead of  exclusively focusing on what is wrong and trying to fix it, you identify what’s right and try to replicate it.  Appreciative inquiry is playing to people’s strengths.”-  Mark Batterson

“And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”- Genesis 1:2 (ESV)

As Mark Batterson concludes Chapter 2 of Whisper, he states that although God convicts us of our sin, He also pulls our potential out of us.  In other words, God speaks to our strengths.  Thankfully, Pastor Batterson adds, God’s big enough to speak to each of us in a language we understand.  In fact, one translation of Psalm 29:4 describes the voice of the Lord as “fitted to the strength.”

Most noteworthy, Mark reminds each of us of this simple truth: “You are the answer to someone else’s prayer.”  Yet, we often react as if our gospel is too small.  Perhaps, the author observes, that also applies to our understanding of God’s voice.

Thus, Pastor Batterson shares one fundamental conviction: God is big enough.  He’s big enough to speak through doors, dreams, and people. And, He’s also close enough to speak through desires, promptings, and pain.

Furthermore, the Hebrew word paniym describes God’s proximity.  Regarding time, paniym refers to the split second before and the split second after.  Similarly, in regard to space, paniym refers to the place right in front and right in back.  Writing in The Attributes of God, A. W. Tozer pictures paniym this way:

“God is above, but He’s not pushed up.  He’s beneath, but He’s not pressed down.  He’s outside, but He’s not excluded. . . . inside, but He’s not confined.  God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside of all things embracing and inside of all things filling.”

In conclusion, Pastor Batterson states, some Hebrew scholars believe the name of God, Yahweh, equates to the sound of a breath.  On one hand, Yahweh is too sacred to pronounce.  On the other hand, Yahweh’s whispered with each and every breath we take.

And when the Holy Spirit shows up, God’s not speaking any louder than before.  It’s just that you’re listening a little closer.  A little better.

Today’s question: What does appreciative inquiry reveal about your strengths?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Still predictably unpredictable”

About the author

Dave Henning

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