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These principles were inspired by the study materials for Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby and Claude King (Lifeway Press, 2007 revision). This post is a summary of the principles. A paper is available with scripture reflections for the principles; post a comment to request a copy of the paper.
1. Truth is a person
The foundational principle is that truth is a person, not a set of empirically verified set of cause-effect relationships.
In John 14 Jesus describes this principle, which is briefly stated in John14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” That is, truth is experienced in personal relationship with Jesus, not in understanding the causes of effects in the physical or social realms.
2. Engaging the will is more important than increasing knowledge
Transformative evaluation is more about engaging the will of partners (stakeholders) than adding to their knowledge.
Traditional evaluation often is viewed as the collection and organization of knowledge to help stakeholders make better programmatic decisions. In transformative evaluation the emphasis is on facing difficult truths in love with the will to live by God’s truth.
3. Analysis is discernment
Analysis of information is guided by spiritual discernment.
Typical data analysis in traditional evaluation involves examining sets of observations or information shared in interviews for common themes that are related to the evaluation objectives. Although this is done to some extent in transformative evaluation, emphasis is placed on discerning what God is doing in the situation evaluated, or what God is revealing about Himself or His purposes or His ways in the situation.
4. Transformative recommendations point to the holistic core of programming
Transformative recommendations describe adjustments stakeholders need to make to align program work with what God is doing.
This is counter to the view that recommendations involve improving program effectiveness or efficiency from a worldly perspective. Implementing a recommendation may lead to more effective or efficient programs, but only if it is aligned with what God is doing through that program. Transformative recommendations are based on God’s purposes, not our previous plans.
5. Evaluator competence is more than technical expertise
Transformative evaluator competence is defined in terms of spiritual maturity as well as technical expertise.