Friday, February 17, 2017

Book 1 of 2017 -- Discovering the Other

Earlier this year I referenced asset-based planning in a sermon, which reminded me I wanted to read more about the approach. So I went shopping (and then later found on my shelf the book I was looking for in the summer but thought I had given will have to be on the list to read in the near future) and found this one. Upon beginning to read it I realized that the author teaches at one of the seminaries of the Saskatoon Theological Union, a grouping that includes my own alma mater.

The book looks at Appreciative Inquiry and Asset-Based planning from a theological point of view. Harder draws on his experience working with small struggling congregations in search of renewal. He also draws on the experience of field placement students from the seminary in using these tools in small communities.

There is a lot of good stuff in this book. I would like to use the tools here further.  I especially liked the last chapter, where Harder talks about the strength in weakness.  Many of us in the UCCan serve churches that are not what they once were. Harder reminds us that the answer may not be wishing to get back to that lace of strength and prominence. The answer may be in the simple acts of asking what is going well, of asking what we have available to use and how we might use them. 

And who knows what we might find out....