SOAR analysis

SOAR examples

A SOAR (strengths, opportunities, aspirations and resources/results) is just one technique used by AI (Appreciative Inquiry) practitioners. Below are two examples of simple SOAR exercises that can be used when discerning strategy or forward-planning; the first aims to help you think about your local church and the second aims to help you think about your local community.

Before completing the SOAR, it may also be useful to spend some time using another technique from Appreciative Inquiry - an appreciative conversation. Along with each of the SOAR exercises are some suggested questions (or 'protocols' for such a conversation). Ideally these would be used working in pairs, with each participant taking turns to answer all the questions as asked by their partner. However, the questions can be used in other ways as appropriate to context.

 

SOAR 1: Appreciating your Church

Appreciative Conversation Protocols

  1. As you think about your church, what is it that makes you smile?
  2. Describe a moment when you felt really proud to be a member of your church.
  3. Describe a time when you felt a real joy whilst participating in a church activity. Who or what made that happen?
  4. What gifts could you share more of with the church?
  5. What gifts do you see in others that you wish they could share more of?

It is also important to point out that communities are affected by issues outside of their borders. This may be by Government policies for example. As part of the process of community discernment wider issues should also be considered 

Supplementary questions: Tell me more? Who else was involved? What were you thinking? How did it make you feel?

Strengths

What is this church really good at? What skills exist in the members of the church? Why is this church important to the people who attend services and other discipleship/worship activities? Why is it important to the wider community? What does the church do that makes a difference? If the church disappeared overnight, what impact would that have on individuals and the community as a whole?

Opportunities

What opportunities inside the church could be used more effectively? What can we do to improve the spiritual life of the church? What can we learn from other churches? What small steps can we take to improve the lives of those in our community? Who can we work with?

Aspirations

What real difference would we like to see inside the church and its members? What real difference would we like to see in the community? What would it look like if the church and the community were flourishing?

Resources/Results

What resources do we need in order to move towards our aspirations? Who do we need to work with? What are the first steps, or the smallest actions, we need to take? How will the church know when we have succeeded? 

 

SOAR 2: Appreciating your community

Appreciative Conversation Protocols

  1. When was the last time you felt a real 'buzz' from being a member of your local community?
  2. Describe a moment when you saw community spirit in action in a really positive way.
  3. Describe a time when you felt a real sense that you belonged in your community. Who or what made that happen?
  4. What gifts could the church share with the community around it?
  5. What strengths does the community have already that could be made more of?

It is also important to point out that communities are affected by issues outside of their borders. This may be by Government policies for example. As part of the process of community discernment wider issues should also be considered 

Supplementary questions: Tell me more? Who else was involved? What were you thinking? How did it make you feel?

Strengths

What are the assets within the community (buildings, people, spaces, knowledge, community groups etc.)? What evidence of community spirit do you see?

Opportunities

What existing things help the community to flourish? What networks and groups are already working to generate community spirit? What opportunities do you see where the community could do more to help itself? What could the church do to encourage and support that?

Aspirations

What changes would you like to see in the community in 12 months time? In two years time? In five years time? What new ways of working/collaborating would you like to see in the community?

Resources/Results

What resources do we need in order to move forwards? What first steps, or smallest actions, can we take? What would be the most innovative? What would a flourishing community look like?

 


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