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FORTH: The Art of Thriving

Welcome to the Art of Thriving page, dedicated to helping your congregation be positive, creative, willing to explore possibilities and create change—in other words, thrive.

Positive Psychology replaced the illness model of many psychiatrists and psychologists who focused on identifying problems to be solved. The positive psychology of wellness model focused on promoting well-being.

This positive psychology movement started in the 1940s and '50s with three well-known psychologists: Erich Fromm, Abraham Maslow, and Carl Rogers. Some of their work focused on self-efficacy and optimism, both of which can be learned. Unlike most previous theorists, their work connects to spirituality and has a humanistic orientation.

Appreciative Inquiry grew out of positive psychology and was initially intended for use in corporations. The term was coined by David Cooperrider and his co-authors. They created a complex, articulated process that requires training. For the purposes of congregation stewardship work, we recommend focusing on the AI concept that can be summarized as:

  • Looking for the positives and potentials, instead of identifying problems and trying to solve them
  • Being open to possibility and future oriented, rather than feeling stuck and focusing on patterns from the past
  • Asking questions and seeking new ways of moving forward, instead of following old patterns
  • Looking with fresh eyes so new possibilities for action may emerge

Change Management is a discipline to guide change in functions and groups of people. A quick search on the web will surface lots of resources. Just be sure any process you adopt fits the scale of your congregation and the change process suits the changes you are trying to effect.

Coaching Practice and Resources refers to any type of support for any effort you might undertake. A coach can work with you to identify your personal or professional goals, help you create a strategy to achieve them, and help keep you on track with your plan. Coaching utilizes asking questions and doing research, rather than relying on the existing conventional wisdom.

For more information contact forth @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Friday, June 17, 2011.

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