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Assessment Tools for Discerning a Call to Plant

By Marcelo Gomes

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Updated: November 1, 2022

Discerning a call to plant a new ministry or new church begins with significant self-reflection. We encourage everyone to lead or partner in planting, which cultivates multiplication culture in our churches. Prospective planters and leaders must consider their gifts and graces, ministry passions, vocational interests, hobbies, family commitments, and many other factors in this season of discerning. To help you start on this journey of discovery, we invite you to follow the links below to a series of FREE self-assessments and personal inventories.

Start here:

Spiritual gifts assessment

What are your God-given ministry gifts? Several New Testament scriptures mention gifts of the Spirit, given specifically for building up the body of Christ. We’ve highlighted some helpful gifts for planting in the article below, along with a link to an online spiritual gifts assessment.

APEST Assessment

As mentioned in the article linked above, some helpful gifts for church planting include apostleship, prophecy, and evangelism. The assessment below, grounded in the church planting research and writing of Alan Hirsch, specifically addresses the “fivefold” gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Shepherds, and Teachers, with a focus on planting.

Grit Assessment

As defined by psychologist and researcher Angela Duckworth, “Grit” arises from a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal. Duckworth highlights holding steadfast to goal achievement in the face of discouragement and obstacles as critical to exhibiting “grit.” How “gritty” are you? Follow this link to learn more.

Five Factor Model Personality Inventory

Also known as the OCEAN Model, the Five Factor Model groups hundreds of personality characteristics into five factors: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. For our assessment process, we look at the “original” (longer form, with greater reliability and validity) assessment found here:

Attachment Style Assessment

Attachment styles are fixed patterns of behavior that a child develops during the early years of childhood. Once they have established their behaviors, three out of four people never change their patterns later in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. Our attachment style can affect the way we function and perform in the workplace because our work environments include social relationships and social dynamics.

Among the first researchers to apply John Bowlby’s attachment theory to social dynamics in the workplace were Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver (1990). They discovered that the same attachment dynamics (that are discussed in the contexts of intimate and family relationships) were evident in people’s relationships with coworkers and leaders.[1] Church planters will develop ministry based on relationships with others in the field. Recognizing their attachment style can help them identify struggles and conflicts. It also helps developers understand more about the general behavior of church planters when dealing with frustrations, expectations, and institutional challenges. Such knowledge will provide leaders with a better sense of how to help and support them.

Shared Christian Praxis Lab

The Shared Christian Praxis Lab is a one-day leadership laboratory retreat with church planters led by a conference developer. The idea is to use Thomas Groome’s method of Shared Christian Praxis as an effective pedagogy through people’s reflections on their own life experiences. Groome’s method has five movements: (1) Naming/Expressing Present Action; (2) Critical Reflection on Present Action; (3) Making Accessible Story and Vision; (4) Dialectical Hermeneutics to Appropriate Story/Vision; (5) Decision/Response for Lived Christian Faith. The purpose of this lab with church planters is to help them contextualize life and church planting realities into personal experiences and ministry vision. Below is a resource with the purpose of each movement to serve as an outline of the lab process. The suggestion is to have a retreat model event.

See Thomas H. Groome, Sharing Faith: A Comprehensive Approach to Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry: The Way of Shared Praxis. (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1991), 135 to 154.

Innovation Assessment

The purpose of the Innovation Assessment is to help church planters discover their Innovation archetype and specific tactics in their leadership potential toward innovation. The assessment is based on two segments as follows:

FARMER - Instincts: Loyal, Consistent, Disciplined. Traps: Protective, Complacent, Repetitive.

HUNTER - Instincts: Curious, Insatiable, Willing to destroy. Traps: Distracted, Dissatisfied, Reckless.

After completing these free assessments and reflecting upon the findings, if you want to continue the assessment journey, please send your results to Marcelo Gomes, Director of Training and Church Planting Systems with Path 1. He will get back to you with suggestions about what comes next. If you have questions about the entire planter assessment process, he’ll be glad to answer those questions, too.

[1] Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver, “Love and Work: An Attachment Theoretical Perspective,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (1990, Vol. 59, No. 2, 270-280), https://adultattachmentlab.hum....

Dr. Marcelo Gomes is the Director of Training & Church Planting Systems with Path 1 at Discipleship Ministries.

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