The more reading I do about worldview, the more convinced I am that it is the most important knowledge to guide a Christian program evaluator.
Steve Wilkens and Mark L. Sanford, Hidden Worldviews, IVP Academic, 2009, describe a lived worldview as a group of answers to ultimate questions about reality (p. 209).
- What is the nature of being? As a human being what is my purpose?
- What is the nature of knowledge? How do we know anything? What is true knowledge?
- What values are primary? How do values guide my everyday living? What is good; what is evil?
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Reflect on Ecclesiastes 1.
As an evaluator I want to see my work make a difference. I want to see recommendations implemented successfully. I want to see lessons applied so that other development work avoids mistakes documented in my evaluations.
But this passage states what all experienced evaluators know very well — there is nothing new to discover through evaluation work. We document similar lessons, time after time. We enable stakeholders to make similar recommendations, time after time.
Our work is like chasing the wind. The more we know, the more we suffer as our knowledge goes unheeded. But wait — there is so much we do not know about how God uses everything for his good.
O Lord, hear my plea. Let me be assured that my work makes a difference, somehow, somewhere, so that glory may be given to you. Amen.
The essence of program evaluation involves sound reasoning about the linkages between good evidence and good conclusions. Internalizing the material in these books will provide a basic evaluative mindset grounded in sound reasoning regarding transformational development. Then you can read any text on evaluation theory and methods to increase your knowledge about evaluation within a Christian worldview. Or you can review evaluation texts you have read from a more holistic perspective.
“God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom…” (1 Corinthians 1:25, NRSV).
One aim of transformative evaluation is to discover knowledge that helps people understand more of God’s wisdom. Reflect on Paul’s description of Christ crucified as God’s wisdom. What are the implications for the Christian evaluator?
click on this link → Meditation8
A conclusion is the answer to a specific question included in the evaluation design, or an interpretation of outcomes related to a particular information need.
In general discernment is the ability of an evaluator to see what is not obvious to the typical stakeholder. For transformative evaluation discernment goes beyond this to see what is right and wrong, good and evil, in the program from God’s perspective.
For a more detailed discussion go to page 19 in Evaluating Transformational Development Outcomes on this site. I encourage you to comment, perhaps starting a dialogue that will help me and others deepen understanding of this topic/issue.
Before leading an evaluation event meditate on Psalm 139.
* You will be in a better place as an instrument for transformation throughout the event.
* You will be in a better place to report truthfully about the merit and worth of the program after data collection and analysis.
Click this link → Meditation4
Revised June 23, 2014
I define a recommendation as a statement offered as worthy of acceptance or approval by stakeholders. Based on available evidence, knowledge and experience the evaluator is saying that it is reasonable for stakeholders to adopt the action included in the statement.
In transformative evaluation there are two types of recommendations. The first type is what you expect to see in any program evaluation report: description (based on evidence) of changes to implement to improve the chances that program goals and objectives will be achieved efficiently and effectively.
The second type is description of changes to increase the likelihood that the program will enable individual or social transformation regardless of the program goals and objectives.
In-depth prayerful reflection will enhance both types of recommendations.
Program evaluators aim to document truth about a program. But what is truth?
For the Christian truth is the way of Jesus; see various passages in the Gospel of John and elsewhere.
Be blessed, Frank
Click this link → Meditation3
The story in Acts 6 about feeding the widows provokes reflection on the relationship between project objectives and broader project aims. May this meditation be a blessing for you.
Click this link → Meditation2
Transformational development (TD) is the evaluand for my approach to transformative evaluation (TE). My understanding of TD is based on the detailed description and analysis provided by Myers (1999, 2011)
I see two themes intertwined in TD. The first theme is the role of holistic thinking in planning and implementing TD. Holistic thinking is a mindset in which spiritual realities are inseparably interwoven with day-to-day “ordinary” living. In TD practitioners must think holistically to be influential servants of God for transformation.
The second theme is the conviction that this world is my home (Marshall, 1998). Transformation happens here and now, wherever we are on earth, not in whatever your image of heaven may be.
These themes are developed beginning on page 3, heading Transformational Development Themes, in Evaluating Transformational Development Outcomes on this site.
Engaging in evaluating TD has given me indescribable joy. May your thinking about TD be a blessing to you.
Marshall, Paul. (1998). Heaven is not my home: Learning to live in God’s creation. Nashville, Tennessee USA: Word.
Myers, Bryant L. (1999, 2011). Walking with the poor: Principles and practices of transformational development. Maryknoll, New York USA: Orbis Books.