Around the Corner
REFRESH: Assessment and Pastoral Leadership
Every time you go to the doctor you fill out paperwork. Questions include symptoms you are experiencing if you are sick, medications you take, previous surgeries, and on and on. When you finally get into the patient room, and the nurse comes in, she often asks the exact same questions. When the doctor enters, he asks the same questions again! Have you ever wondered why?
Your doctor and his staff are assessing you and your situation. Assessment can save hours of time and a possible misdiagnosis. By asking questions about your symptoms, they can often diagnose you accurately and prescribe the appropriate prescription moving forward.
Assessment sometimes seems bothersome and unnecessary. As church planting director, I was introduced to the idea of church planter assessment many years ago. After I was exposed to it, I realized the great value in assessment. Assessment is hard because it forces us to take a critical look at ourselves. It often exposes weaknesses and points out areas we need to improve. No one likes to experience that, but it’s helpful and necessary if we want to get better.
Have you ever wondered why some pastors do well everywhere they go, and others always seem to struggle? I realize sometimes churches are difficult, and no pastor can lead them, but other times, the problem lies with the leader. Please don’t be offended if you are a pastor struggling at a church. I’m not saying you aren’t the right guy, or you aren’t valuable to ministry. I’m simply suggesting you should assess yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses. By doing so, you can identify where you can grow, and where you may need to be coached and helped. Many different types of assessments are available, from ministry preference and experience to spiritual gifts, personalities and others.
I have been passionate about assessment for more than a decade. I am so convinced assessment is necessary I have pursued training and certifications, giving me necessary tools to help in my ministry roles. As a certified practitioner of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and DISC Personality Assessment, I have assessed hundreds of ministry leaders over the years.
Understanding our personalities gives us keen insight into leadership style and abilities, as well as where we might need to work to improve how we communicate with others. Knowing my personality also helps me know my own limits, how I process information, and what I can do to prevent burnout or a nervous breakdown.
Don’t misunderstand. There aren’t any “right” or “wrong” personalities. In fact, God created us individually and hard-wired us in unique ways by His divine plan. We know God doesn’t make mistakes. However, the more we understand ourselves, the better we can understand our strengths and weaknesses to best lead others. By identifying our particular personality type we can better understand how we receive and process information, and how we navigate that information. It makes us better leaders and helps us make better decisions.
I challenge every leader to take the MBTI and/or DISC assessment to understand yourself better. If I can be of help or assistance, please let me know.
About the Columnist: Dr. Brad Ransom is director of church planting and chief training officer for North American Ministries. Contact Brad: firstname.lastname@example.org.