Working with stakeholder expectations

Meditate on Luke 18:31-34 

Jesus steadfastly set his face toward Jerusalem, for the journey to Jerusalem was God’s purpose for his life.  “The great thing to remember is that we go to Jerusalem to fulfill God’s purpose, not our own… in the Christian life we have no aim of our own (Chambers).”

Transformational development program stakeholders have a general purpose: to enable individual and social transformation by achieving the program goals. A key objective of transformative evaluation is to assist program stakeholders to understand at a deeper level what really matters in development. As an evaluator I will examine evidence related to accomplishment of program goals. But as a transformative evaluator I will work with stakeholders to facilitate humble exploration of their expectations in the light of God’s word.

“We are not taken up into conscious agreement with God’s purpose, we are taken up into God’s purpose without any consciousness at all.  We have no conception of what God is aiming at, and as we go on it gets more and more vague… The work we do is of no account, it is so much scaffolding compared with the big compelling of God (Chambers).”

How can I apply Chambers’ insight to my evaluation work?

  • Assist stakeholders to explore connections between the program goals and what God is doing in the geographical area served by the program. Whenever someone says, “I don’t know what God is doing,” explore evaluation activities that could provide relevant knowledge.
  • Include an objective in the evaluation to interview church leaders about God’s work as they see it without reference to the program being evaluated. Explore the possibility of convening church leaders to discuss themes in the interview responses and offer their interpretation of those themes. See what you can learn about the big compelling beyond the program scaffolding.


Chambers, Oswald. (Classic edition, 1963). The big compelling of God, in My utmost for his highest, p. 216. Urichsville, Ohio USA: Barbour & Company, Inc.

Cookingham, Frank G. (2013). Evaluating transformational development outcomes.  Monrovia, California USA: World Vision International.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *