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Memories, Hopes, and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry and Congregational Change

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  12 reviews
A second edition of Memories, Hopes, and Conversations is now available! With helpful updates throughout, the new edition features five new chapters on Appreciative Inquiry applied in real congregations. When First Presbyterian Church in Altadena, California, was asked to provide a mission study report for its pastor nominating committee, the congregation was afraid they w ...more
Paperback, 172 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published January 1st 2004)
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Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
In this 2004 book published by the Alban Institute, Mark Lau Branson introduces the reader to the concept of appreciative inquiry in the context of its implementation in one particular congregation. Branson is a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary, and shortly after his family moved to Pasadena for him to teach there, they had begun attending First Presbyterian Church of Altadena. The majority of the congregation is Japanese, two or three generations removed from the original immigrants. Th ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Friends praised and praised this volume. I read it, and I'm not sure I get the enthusiasm.

Appreciate Inquiry can be a helpful strategy, I'm sure. But I can't help but see its blindspots. In my forays with AI, I find the neuroses of the congregation amplified under the guise of nurturing the positive. Where is space for reckoning with failure, with malformation, with misdirected desires?

Lau Branson presents a helpful on ramp to AI. And the second edition's "missional" turn, with its five guest co
Oct 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
When I asked our preacher for a book to read that related to his pursuing a doctorate, this is the book he gave me. The book gives both details on the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and examples of how it was followed at one church. There are appendices that give summary details. The book also gives sample questions and sample provocative proposals.

5 Basic Processes of AI
1. choose the positive as the focus of inquiry
2. inquire into stories of life-giving forces
3. locate themes that appear in the stor
Read this book for a Pastoral Care class on joy and celebration. Essentially this is a case study of an Appreciative Inquiry Branson lead at his church. There is some explanation of AI but mostly its a description of the process as conducted in this particular parish and as such is very illustrative of what is possible. In a culture that focuses so much on what is wrong and problem-solving and fixing and coming from a "disease" mentality (the DSM V was just released -- of course greatly expanded ...more
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like the assumptions of this book, especially:
- What we focus on becomes our reality.
- Asking questions influences the group.
- If we carry parts of the past into the future, they should be what is best about the past.

The framing story of Mark Lau Branson's participation in a congregation's effort to identify its own value, purpose, and calling in God's kingdom intrigued me. I could see similarities with the issues and cultures in my faith community. I look forward to applying his methods and q
Sunshine Jeremiah
Excellent and accessible book on appreciative inquiry. This is a narrative based introduction to appreciative inquiry (AI). The author utilizes a case study of a congregation he assisted in using AI to evaluate and guide the congregation.

Branson includes both science and theological imagery to provide the foundations of AI theory. A great resource for lay leaders and professionals in guiding healthy evaluation of congregational life and mission.
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I think the process of what Branson is describing is fantastic. A.I. (Appreciative Inquiry) is radical in it's simplicity. It is profound because it is the refusal to let negativity command a change process. It is a strangely simple act to stay absolutely positive as you deal with bringing change to an organization that is struggling.

Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Church leadership is seldom so practical and universally applicable. Branson's understanding of how to implement appreciative inquiry for sake of positive change is outstanding! Read this book and begin to apply some of the techniques he is sugesting. ...more
Nov 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
Written from a Protestant perspective, this is a useful presentation of the method of appreciative inquiry with concrete illustrations of its application. Biblical support for the method (which speaks for itself) is helpfully confined to one chapter, which can be skipped without consequence.
Dale Nolan
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I enjoyed the book, but would have liked to see more on the changes brought about by the process. The last chapter was too brief.
Milton Louie
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: religious
Interest look and procedure on making congregational changes in the church. B
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