Discovering the Other is an introduction to two tools that community builders have found helpful: appreciative inquiry and asset mapping. These tools help congregations see that all of life is saturated by the sacred and give them energy to begin living as if it were so. Instead of asking,
"What’s wrong?" appreciative inquiry asks, "What’s right?" Asset mapping asks, "What resources do you have personally that we could bring to our future together?" Out of these questions can arise a sense that every congregation is rich in history, people, and resources. Ideas emerge as people, inspired by the Spirit, listen and talk to each other. The leader’s task is to facilitate, coalesce, and connect ideas, to catalyze and stimulate the development of vision. The creative connections lead to programs and projects that will enrich your congregation’s mission. But most importantly, in the process they will engage you with others, with their stories, their hopes, their gifts—to build community.
This book looks for God, not only through the lens of such tools, but in the tools themselves. It is an effort to understand how processes like appreciative inquiry and asset mapping reflect the character and community-building style of the God whom Christians worship as Divine community.