Measuring Transformation

Can one measure transformation? Can we identify the behaviors that enable transformation? Can we tell if we are doing it correctly?

I believe the answer to the first two is ‘yes’, though I’m less sure about the third. Still, I admire anyone who makes an honest attempt. To that end, I was very intrigued by Biola’s new Spiritual Transformation Inventory:

The Spiritual Transformation Inventory (STI) [was] developed to meet the need for a broad, multidimensional measure of Christian spirituality with national norms targeted specifically for churches, mental health agencies, and faith-based universities and nonprofits. The STI is based on a broad relational spirituality theory relevant to a wide range of Christian denominations and over a decade of work on conceptualizing and measuring spirituality, including two longitudinal multi-site grant funded studies on spiritual development. Several Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) schools, seminaries, and treatment centers have already standardized on the STI for program and individual assessment.*
My first reaction was that this was way too complex, but then I realized I’d missed the point. These 23 measures may not all be relevant, but by collecting all the data the Inventory can help establish which of the various measures are strongly correlated with sustainable spiritual growth and maturity (vs. those which are not). From there, hopefully we can identify the transferable practices that reproduce the appropriate behaviors.

To be sure, that sort of research is hard, and they may not succeed. But — assuming the spiritual and material worlds are governed by similar laws – there’s no reason this shouldn’t produce *some* useful knowledge, even if just a rough first cut. I wish them the best.

[Read More] for the 23 metrics and six domains used.

Spiritual Transformation Inventory (STI?)

The STI consists of six domains based on previous theory and research. The six major domains include 23 subscales validated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and convergent validity with relevant measures. The domains are:

1. Spiritual Meaning & Vitality
* Prayer Type Frequency Scale
* Spiritual Practices-Frequency Scale
* Desolation/Consolation with God Scale
* Transformational Suffering Scale
* Spiritual Perspective Scale
* Spiritual Meaning Scale
* Spiritual Openness Scale
* Awareness of God Scale
* Realistic Acceptance Scale
* Other-Centered Relationships Scale
2. Spiritual Commitment & Community
* Spiritual Service Scale
* Faith Centrality Scale
* Spiritual Community Scale
3. Secure Spiritual Attachment
* Secure God Attachment Scale
* Forgiveness with God and Others Scale
4. Preoccupied Spiritual Attachment
* Preoccupied God Attachment Scale
* Disappointment with God Scale
* Instability Scale
5. Dismissing Spiritual Attachment
* Compensatory Spiritual Confidence Scale
* Spiritual Practices Scale-Motives
* Quest as Ultimate Goal Indicator
6. Additional Scales
* Spiritual Hindrances Questions
* Recent Crisis Questions
* Curricular & Co-Curricular Impact Scale