Tag Archives: faith

Managing Evaluator Anxiety

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Do not be anxious… Do not be apprehensive or fearful. Do not worry about something that might harm you in some way at some time.

I cannot prevent feeling anxious, but I can manage anxiety with the actions listed here by Paul. I can talk about the situation with God, and ask for help. That helps me realize that alone I cannot do what matters most.

Anxiety reminds me that I am not self sufficient in being what I was created to be. I am dependent on my loving Creator for knowing what that is, and then acting on that knowledge. In this sense anxiety is a friend.

In every situation… This includes everything that happens, or does not happen, in an evaluation. Stakeholders quarrel as the evaluation is being planned, torrential rain makes it impossible to travel to villages to interview and observe per the data collection plan, evaluation team members become ill, etc. In these and innumerable other circumstances instead of fretting about how an evaluation might be flawed I can, and should, pray for guidance to move forward.

With thanksgiving… in every situation… I commit to giving my anxieties to God.

Worldview indicators

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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Coping with apparent futility

© World Vision International 2000, All Rights Reserved.  No part of this document or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author.

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.

Have you read these books?

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.

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Which store of wisdom?

Post updated May 2019.

“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? This brief reflection may be helpful.   click on this link → Meditation8

“My [Paul]goal is that they [those who know about Paul’s message] may be encouraged in heart and united in love , so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding , in order that they may know the mystery of God , namely , Christ , 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

One objective of TE is to understand a bit more about the teachings and practices of Christ, for this is wisdom. This is why I believe that TE must include spiritual discipline activities and knowledge beyond empirical knowledge.  click on this link → Knowledge of the heart is primary

Discerning conclusions

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.

Recommend after reflecting

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.

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