User Friendly Evaluation: Improving the Work of Pastors, Programs and Laity

by C. Jeff Woods. The Alban Institute, 1995.

'User Friendly Evaluation' is perhaps the handiest and most comprehensible survey of evaluation techniques and purposes currently available. For non-professionals approaching the evaluation task, Jeff Woods addresses the questions that are crucial to gathering and using results but that may not have been considered. The book begins by exploring what evaluation is. Later, it examines the subjects of evaluation—programs, lay ministry, and pastoral ministry. Woods also presents the responses of three field experts (Roy Oswald, Jill Hudson, and Paul Light) to several unsuspected but standard evaluation dilemmas. Between the author's text and these responses, one learns the trade-offs in the dilemmas of choice about the evaluator, the point to be evaluated, the technique, the unavoidability of bias, and the understanding and use of results. It is important for a congregation to understand that the results of an evaluation can never reflect the full reality of someone's ministry, and some distortion is inevitable. Appendices provide three excellent instruments that include guidance on both administration and use of results.