Personality Inventories for Church Leaders

Personality Types

In a training session for pastors starting new churches, a presenter claimed there is a dominate personality-type among successful church planters. The future church planters pushed back on the assertion, pointing out the differences among themselves.

There were 14 future planters and five veteran church planters in the room. The trainer asked everyone whose Myers-Briggs personality type was “ENTP” to raise their hands. All but two raised their hands.

While this is an extreme example, it points out potential benefits to using personality inventories in churches. Here’s my experience with inventories and staffing.

Choose the right personality inventory for your context.

When Church Councils or Board of Directors want to work together more cohesively, the key issue is relationships. I suggest personality-type inventories such as Myers-Briggs.

If a Senior Pastor want to help the staff serve at the best of their ability, we usually use behavior-based inventory such as the DiSC profile.

The key both recommendations is context.

Use the same personality inventory for the entire staff.

There are times when I find churches using multiple personality inventories. This is fine unless the staff starts mixing and matching different inventory results. Personality inventories are different from behavior inventories. It is better to use one inventory well than meld together multiple inventories.

Never use personality type as the primary reason for hiring staff.

This is true even where research supports a dominant personality type for a position, such as church planters. In hiring or calling staff, there are a number of factors more important than personality type. I consider past performance, attitude and spiritual maturity top tier considerations for positions. Personality inventories fall under that top tier.

Periodically take the staff through the same inventory.

This is a refresher to remind staff of the best ways to support or collaborate with one another. It is especially beneficial if staff have changed roles or received promotions. Different roles bring out different aspects of personalities. I was a “Di” (Dominance and Influence) in the DiSC profile as a Senior Pastor and church planter,  but a “DC” (Dominance and Conscientiousness) as a Mission and Ministry Facilitator.

When in doubt, consult a professional.

If you are unsure which inventory to use in your organization, speak with a professional. Counselors, psychologists and consultants have the training and experience to lend in the search. They often will also lead the staff or leadership through inventories.

Which personality inventory would work best for your context? Share your thoughts in the comments or shoot me a message.


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