Tomorrow Lauren Visser, the Director of our Preaching program (A New Kind of Preacher) and I (as the Program Consultant) are traveling to Grand Rapids for a colloquium organized by the funders. They have set homework for all participants which includes reading two papers: Leading change through adaptive design and Learning as we go: making evaluations work for everyone. We have been set the task of analyzing our own programs in the light of these papers especially the latter which urges non-profit organizations to evaluate their work continuously from the inside. It makes for uncomfortable reading when you are pushed to answer how much time has been given to answering questions about whether resources are adequate and strategies need improvement. And about short-term and long-term outputs with expected impact.
I guess that most non-profit organizations struggle to maintain rigorous evaluation. Certainly, we do. So, three days of examination, panels, and reporting lie ahead. And I feel a little like a student facing exams. Humbling but, hopefully worthwhile all round. Thanks for prayers and interest. I'll report back!