Mirror images are both helpful and deceptive. Mirrors reflect but also reverse real life, and they don’t reflect what’s in our hearts. The best assessments go beyond a mirror image to help fill out our self-understanding. If we're open, the Holy Spirit can work through assessments to illuminate dimensions of our personalities that might otherwise go unnoticed. These may be hints of our shadow side and/or honorable fruits of the spirit.
Assessments can also help us know God better. Our tradition teaches that God-knowledge and self-knowledge are related. Knowing ourselves can help us experience our Creator more fully. Knowing our Creator more fully can help us live more wholly.
Assessments have relational and vocational benefits as well. Seeing ourselves as we are, we can become more compassionate with others and fit more comfortably and joyfully into God’s kingdom service.
There are many assessment tools available for gaining self-awareness. We’ve identified four of the best to get you started.
Four Self-Awareness Assessments
The Birkman Method Personality Assessment
The Birkman is an in-depth personality and vocational assessment. It leads to a deeper understanding of your motivations, behaviors, and perceptions, and it reveals the kind of support you need to maximize your gifts. The Birkman is a great tool for recognizing your ideal fit in ministry—the place, says Sam DeJong McCarron, “where your heart sings and where God is glorified.”
How do I take the Birkman?
- To take the Birkman, contact the CRCNA Ministry Assessment Consultant available through Pastor Church Resources. The consultant will guide you through the assessment process and help you integrate the results with your life and ministry.
- For more information, explore the Birkman website.
“It turns out that ministry transitions end up being some of the more challenging stuff of life! Who knew?! I certainly didn’t, but I’m so thankful to have worked with the CRC’s Vocational Ministry Assessment Initiative, which provided an objective perspective to help me properly gauge my ministry sweet-spot. I’ve done other career assessments, but the results often end up feeling random, since they don’t take into account my local and denominational contexts. This was not the case with the help I received from the Ministry Assessment Office, which took the time to understand my particular circumstances and provide wise counsel that was spot-on. I’m so glad I reached out for help.”
—Phillip S. Leo, pastor of Calvin CRC, Oak Lawn, Illinois
The StrengthsFinder Profile
The StrengthsFinder Profile helps identify what you naturally do best. It recognizes your uniqueness through a cluster of five “signature themes.” Once you identify your strengths using the assessment, the program shows you how to develop, build, and nurture these strengths.
How do I take the StrengthsFinder Profile?
The StrengthsFinder Profile is available online. In order to take the test, you’ll need to purchase the book StrengthsFinder 2.0. Each book contains a unique identification number that enables you to access the profile. The number, however, may only be used once. Results are best discussed with a certified StrengthsFinder coach.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
The MBTI identifies your personality type and expresses it through a four-letter code. Your MBTI type has implications for how you learn and how you teach. It shows how your personality affects relationships, personal growth, and vocational preferences. It also helps you understand why you’re drawn to certain spiritual practices.
How do I take the Myers-Briggs?
- Take the test online for a fee at mbtionline.com.
- There are also many free Myers-Briggs tests online. However, without an experienced administrator or coach to help you interpret the results, many of the benefits are lost.
See Invitation to a Journey by Robert Mulholland for discovering spiritual practices that resonate with your MBTI personality type.
The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system used for spiritual formation. Authors Cron and Stable say it reveals our human wiring with “uncanny accuracy.” It helps you figure out who you are and what spiritual ruts you may be stuck in. But it also helps you discover a path toward wholeness. Enneagram wisdom can lead to deeper compassion for others and deeper intimacy with God.
How do I take the Enneagram?
- Visit wepss.com to take the Wagner Enneagram Personality Style Scales assessment.
- The Enneagram results are best interpreted in a conversation with a spiritual director.
- Books such as Self To Lose - Self To Find: A Biblical Approach to the 9 Enneagram Types by Marilyn Vancil and Mirror for the Soul: A Christian Guide to the Enneagram by Alice Fryling can enhance your understanding of this tool.
- Attending a Christian Enneagram workshop is a good way to explore the Enneagram and its wisdom for today.