Tag Archives: TD

Transformative Evaluation Overview–6 Slide Shows

This post contains links to six brief slide shows that provide orientation to the distinctive features of Transformative Evaluation. The shows are in PDF format.

94orientation1 TE overview…Brief description of each critical feature. Includes a group exercise to see if people in an agency want to explore implications for the agency.

orientation2 core belief2018…Description of the core belief that justifies TE as an approach to evaluation for a Christian agency. This presentation was updated 11/28/2018.

94orientation3 TE theory of program change…Description of the theory of change in individuals and institutions for transformation development, which is the primary evaluand for TE.

94orientation4 TE overview…Description of three critical features of objectivity in TE. There is a more detailed description of objectivity at objectivity-in-te.

94Orientation5 Mission Results in TE…Description of mission results that can be achieved through TE.

Orientation6 Spiritual Disciplines in TE…Description of use of spiritual disciplines in TE.

Search for other posts related to topics that interest you. As always, constructive critiques are welcome.

Transformational Development (TD) as a Means of Prevenient Grace

Various Christian traditions acknowledge the concept of prevenient or preceding grace. “Prevenient” means preceding or coming before.

The United Methodist Book of Discipline (2004) defines prevenient grace as “…the divine love that surrounds all humanity and precedes any and all of our conscious impulses. This grace prompts our first wish to please God, our first glimmer of understanding concerning God’s will, and our ‘first slight transient conviction’ of having sinned against God. God’s grace also awakens in us an earnest longing for deliverance from sin and death and moves us toward repentance and faith.”

The overall aim of Transformational Development is to alleviate suffering in ways that witness to God’s love for all people. As Christian development agents work alongside project participants to achieve goals and objectives, the theory is that participants will sense God calling them to know about God’s love for them and to respond to it by deciding to love God and neighbor in culturally appropriate ways.

Thus TD is a means of prevenient grace.

Transformation as Changes in Worldview

T4 Global Ministries describes transformational training as a process that “that leads to a deep, structure shift in how people interpret the world around them, including how they relate to other people, to their environment and to God. Instead of generating only changes in knowledge, attitude and behavior, transformational training generates changes in worldview. It is the kind of change that moves a person or a community from despair to hope, from helplessness to self-reliance, from corruption to trustworthiness.” (www.T4Global.org, about us)

These are the characteristics of desirable TD results inspired by this vision for transformational training:

  • A deep shift in how people interpret their world, especially regarding how they relate to each other, their environment, and God.
  • Emergence of hope from despair.
  • Emergence from powerlessness of the poor to equitable inclusive power sharing.

TD is development that goes beyond improvement of well-being to redemptive social justice and restoration of individuals as children of God.

Note April 2017. T4 Global Ministries has changed its name to Spoken Worldwide, www.spoken.org. The description of transformational training stated above is no longer on the website; but the organization clearly is committed to holistic ministry.

Understanding Success in Transformational Development (TD)

Typically a program evaluator makes judgments about the different ways that a program was successful or not. Understanding the features of success in a transformational development program is essential for facilitating TE.

Cook (1974, p. 13) lists six propositions about success from a scriptural perspective. Because the worldly notions of success are not consistent with godly notions it is important to think carefully about the words that are used to describe the features of success. Cook’s detailed discussion in the book points in directions that are based in Scripture, but he could have indicated this more explicitly in this list. Cook’s propositions are bullet points; my comments are marked with FGC. 

  • God is interested in me being successful, provided my definition of success is correct. 

FGC. God is interested in me being successful in the emerging kingdom of God, which is in conflict with the world. Success in the kingdom is very different from success in the world. God deeply desires that I be faithful to him in all matters; this is the image of success to keep before me. 

  • God should know more about success than anyone that has ever written about success. 

FGC. God knows more about success in the kingdom than anyone that has ever written about success. God in the person of Jesus demonstrated exactly what success looks like. 

  • God has put man into the world to succeed, not fail. 

FGC. God has put man into the world to succeed, not fail, in loving God and neighbor. I succeed in the kingdom as I act with love in all things. 

  • God is interested in our goals – interested in helping me formulate some that would benefit me tremendously. 

FGC. God is interested in how I choose to live my life, and will help me live in a godly way in the fallen world. The benefit of doing this is indescribable joy in all circumstances. 

Worldly success is often defined in terms of achieving personal goals. The problem with ‘achieving’ is the implication that I must work hard, which obscures the fact that devotion is more important to God than effort.  The problem with ‘personal goals’ is the implication that whatever I decide about goals is okay with God, as long as I do not hurt others. 

 Also, this statement is not helpful because an emphasis on benefiting the self is a stepping stone to sinful behavior; it obscures the fact that God’s interest is in being in relationship with me. Although God is always open to me coming to him, even as I pursue worldly goals, God is not interested in helping me achieve them. Secondly, God has promised to provide whatever I need to serve him; it is distracting to wonder about what other tremendous benefits I might receive. Finally, in our culture goal-setting is primarily about achieving selfish ends. What God desires is that I discern his plan for me as his servant, and faithfully follow that plan as circumstances evolve. 

  • God has written a book that contains excellent principles of success. 

FGC. God has written a book that contains excellent principles of success that I can apply in the emerging kingdom from this moment forward. 

  • God knows more about how to motivate man than any other authority in the field. Once he helps in the formulation of our goals, he then provides inner motivation for maximum achievement. 

FGC. God, through the Holy Spirit, knows how to motivate man more than any motivation specialist.

God does not help us formulate goals; God gives me insight into how I can fit into his plan for reconciling a fallen world back to God. Through the Holy Spirit, and only through heeding the guidance of the Holy Spirit, can I do things that fit within the plan. How much I achieve is not really relevant because I do not know how God measures achievement. I know that God desires me to be faithful in all things; perhaps this is what Cook means by ‘maximum achievement’. 

Cook, William H. 1974. Success, Motivation and the Scriptures.  Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.