Practices, Reflections

Moving forward by saying YES (and often saying NO) …

When you are paying attention, answers come from unexpected sources for often unasked questions.  What do I mean.  Often I have been asked about what the churches I have served with did to launch something new.  For example, how did you get together the band for the contemporary service at Nashville UMC (which doubled worship attendance) or grow the missions budget at Pinehurst UMC (which increased twenty-fold)?  In my better moments I answered by saying it was simply a God-thing.

About three months ago I was attending a training event with the Alban Institute which was paying attention to helping organization take the next step forward in the journey.  In the midst of the conversation the title of one of Peter Block's books came up, and the title alone floored me.  I received in a fifteen second blip the insight in what had worked to unleash such creativity in the churches I have served.  The title is The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters!  When we say YES to taking the next step, the hows often take care of themselves, but we have to be willing to take the next step (or is it a leap?).

Listed below are six questions that Block suggests we need to reframe to say YES:

  1. How Question: How do you do it?
    Yes Question: What refusal have I been postponing?
  2. How Question: How long will it take?
    Yes Question: What commitment am I willing to make?
  3. How Question: How much does it cost?
    Yes Question: What is the price I am willing to pay?
  4. How Question: How do you get those people to change?
    Yes Question: What is my contribution to the problem I am concerned with?
  5. How Question: How do we measure it?
    Yes Question: What is the crossroad at which I find myself at this point in my life/work?
  6. How Question: How are others doing it successfully?
    Yes Question: What do we want to create together?
  7. Bonus Question: What is the question that, if you had the answer, would set you free?

I encourage you to consider asking more YES questions?  In my own life, the real adventures began when I made a commitment with God to move forward — especially when I did not have the answers to the how questions that I and others were raising in the moment.

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