Many people are fascinated by personality testing. Some are fans of the Myers-Briggs, while others prefer StrengthsFinder or the DiSC. The Enneagram seems to be enjoying a current resurgence in popularity. I understand that these tests are not all measuring the same elements, and they are not—strictly speaking—all personality tests. However, they each represent a system for understanding who another person is and how they are likely to behave. I have found many of these assessments to be useful tools and I often recommend DiSC and StrengthsFinder in my coaching relationships.
Is personality linked to success as a church planter?
However…. although personality and other profiles are helpful in understanding people and in knowing how to work with them, I have found that these types of tools are NOT predictive of success as a church planter. I often run into an assumption that certain types or profiles indicate that a person either would or would not make a good church planter. That’s a major fallacy. There is no ideal personality type for a church planter. And no type rules people out as potential planters either. Personality testing is ineffective in identifying who is best for the role. The truth is that many widely differing types of people can make effective church planters if they go about planting in a way that is natural to them and fits with their giftedness. The resulting churches will also all look different—and that’s good.I often run into an assumption that certain personality types or profiles indicate that a person either would or would not make a good church planter. That’s a major fallacy. Click To Tweet
There is a better predictor.
There is solid research on the competencies needed to be a church planter that have stood the test of time. Dr. Charles Ridley created a job factor analysis for church planters and a subsequent profile of the 13 essential competencies of a church planter:Good candidates have a demonstrated competence in the areas below:
- Personal motivation
- Visionizing capacity
- Creating ownership of ministry
- Spousal cooperation
- Reaching the unchurched
- Commitment to church growth
- Responsiveness to community
- Gift utilization
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Building body cohesiveness
- Exercises faith
Combining competency and personality for the win.
Any personality type has the capacity to plant a church. Look first at the above competencies instead. Then, once someone is firmly in possession of these 13 competencies, use personality testing to learn how to best develop and coach that particular individual. But be careful not to rule out potential planters based on assessments that weren’t designed with planting skills and criteria in mind. If you do, you’ll miss some amazing candidates. And you might end up with some who aren’t well-suited to the job.Be careful not to rule out potential planters based on assessments that weren’t designed with planting skills and criteria in mind. Click To Tweet
Personality testing can be helpful, but not as a basis for selecting a church planter. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you’d like to schedule a behavioral interview to assess a potential church planter, contact us. We can help.
The Church Planting Journey- This book is a comprehensive guide for the church planter. It is the culmination of experience that includes being a church planter myself, and coaching and consulting church planters for more than 40 years. Within the pages of The Church Planting Journey, you will find wisdom, systems, and processes that can help you launch well as well as sustain your unique vision and call. NOW AVAILABLE FOR KINDLE!
The Church Planter Assessment- Are you thinking about church planting or are already in the process? The Church Planter Behavioral Assessment is a valuable tool. To learn more about how you can be assessed email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Focused Ministry Series– These resources help you coach people to get involved in the effective, focused ministry that God is calling them to.