There are quite a few personality inventories out there, and most of them work well. If you need more input into which will serve you best you, may want to talk to a counselor you know to get more perspective on how each one works. Here are some personality inventories worth considering:
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
- Keirsey Temperament Sorter
- DISC Profile
- The Birkman Method
- Enneagram Test
In addition to understanding a person's personality, it's helpful to work with them to figure out their strengths. While personality has to do with how a person is made, strengths have to do with what they are good at. When someone serves out of their strengths, they're most effective and fulfilled. Of course there is a correlation between someone's personality and their strengths, but they're not the same thing.
For instance, I love music. I have thought many times about learning to play guitar, and I have daydreams about being part of a worship team. The biggest problem with this is that I lack rhythm. I've never had it. Now, I could work really hard and probably become an average guitar player, but knowing myself I will never be really good at it. Speaking, on the other hand, has always come pretty naturally. I've worked at it over the years and improved, but I always did well in speech class and debate team, and now feel relatively comfortable with the speaking part of preaching and teaching. At this point in my life, speaking is a strength and playing the guitar is not. I can benefit our community more by speaking than trying to be part of the worship team. Plus, I'm more fulfilled in the process.
This isn't to say that people should never take on a new skill or work on their weaknesses, but for the sake of each person, our churches, and the world, it's often best to encourage people into their strengths. Here are two ways we help people identify and live into their strengths.
- Use StrengthsFinder 2.0. This is an inventory, much like those that help identify personality traits, that helps clarify areas of strength.
- Ask those who know a person well to identify their strengths. We sometimes ask three different people to list the top five strengths they see in a person. Then we compile those lists and pay special attention to the things that all three people identify.
Finally, we must not ignore spiritual gifts. This can move us into some deep theological discussions (How many gifts are there? How are gifts given? Are they given forever or for a specific task?), but for today we're going to stay on a more practical level.
Personality, strengths, and spiritual gifts are often deeply tied to each other, but the Bible makes it clear that the Holy Spirit gives gifts to people that have to do specifically with a person's ministry in the context of the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."
There are a number of things that can play into the discernment of spiritual gifts:
- Prayer. God is the one who gives these gifts through the Spirit, so a great place to start in discerning what gifts a person has is in prayer.
- Calling. Does the person you're working with feel a call from God into a specific kind of service? If he or she truly is called, then we can trust God to give the needed gifts to pursue that calling.