Refection on Proverbs 16:1-9 can prepare you to engage in holistic planning.
Verse 9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (NIV)
I plan my course in my heart; I envision goal and milestones. But the Lord determines the steps to take that will move toward each milestone as seen by the Lord.
I have plans in my heart; I can envision what I desire to do with my life. But I cannot make my case for them; I must depend on the Lord to do that. Moreover, I cannot do what is in my heart without direction from the Lord; this is a consequence of original sin. I try to plan as a servant of God. But I cannot know all of the consequences of what I think and do. God loves me; God desires that I choose to follow the way to righteousness. Only God knows how my plans will affect plans of others. (Verse 1)
The Lord detests the pride I have about my plans and my doing; I will be punished for it in the sense that I will miss opportunities to engage fully in God’s redeeming work. (Verse 5) The Lord works out everything as he desires it. He even uses the plans and deeds of the wicked for godly ends. (Verse 4) Sin is atoned for through love and forgiveness; evil is avoided through fear of the Lord. (Verse 6) It is better to gain little with righteousness than much with injustice. (Verse 8) When we please the Lord, opportunities open up for God to transform the lives of even wicked ones or those who oppose achieving the purpose of righteous planning. (Verse 7)
Therefore in prayer I submit my plans to God for judgment, sure that there are aspects that will be found wanting. I stand ready to revise, even abandon, plans as directed by the Holy Spirit. I commit to implementation and accept responsibility for repenting as events reveal God’s judgment on my plans. (Verse 2)
LORD, I commit to you the implementation of my plan for this project. As I take the steps that make sense to me I will pay close attention to what happens, trusting that you are guiding the effects of my doing. I will reconsider my vision as you reveal your will, and praise you all the day long. (Verse 3)
A most difficult challenge facing the Christian program evaluator is reconciling truth as defined in scripture with truth as defined by secular evaluators. The way you answer this challenge will greatly influence the way you plan and implement program evaluations.
In this brief paper I show my answer to this challenge by analyzing my original secular definition of program evaluation years ago from a scriptural perspective. Let’s talk!
Click this link → Program Evaluation as Discernment of Truth
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.
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.
Typically a program evaluation involves searching for knowledge that we can use to change the world so that it is more like our vision of the good life. An alternative approach to evaluation involves understanding how a program helps and hinders transformation of individuals and society. To understand transformation we need to seek faith-based knowledge as well as empirical knowledge.
I share two illustrations of how topics in TE can be organized to evaluate a transformational development program.