AssessmentsChurch Planting

Assessing Church Planters


A key part of selecting suitable church planting candidates is gathering the right information to use to make a final decision. To do this it is imperative that you have accurately gathered all of the relevant information about a candidate and made sure that it is as role-related as possible. Without this you are likely to make some pretty “hit or miss” decisions.

This process will include a number of different stages depending on the starting point of the candidate. If the candidate has been a part of a Church Planter Pathway in a local church then you already have a wealth of information about their discipleship journey, ministry involvement and leadership development, as well as their fit with the denomination or movement and their biblical/theological training. If the candidate has not been part of a pathway then the information gathering journey will be longer and more complex and it should also include a more in-depth assessment to make sure they are a good fit with the role of Church Planter.

Using an Assessment

Some organisations choose to use an in-house assessment; others use a basic third-party assessment that is designed for this process, while others are now using sophisticated psychometric assessments that provide much richer information about areas like previous experience, education, abilities, aptitude, attitude, motivation, interpersonal skills, task preferences, interests, and work environment preferences.

The Harrison Assessment is one of the sophisticated psychometric assessments that specifically measures and scores Eligibility and Suitability alongside the interview process and then creates a formula that weights each factor and scores the different response levels of each factor.

Assessing Church Planters

  • Eligibility – Can the person perform this role? This includes previous experience, education, skills, abilities, aptitude and reference checks. By using gradient scoring, you are able to quantify the person’s experience and obtain a score for each factor. By weighting the factors in relationship to each other, you are able to obtain an overall eligibility score.
  • Suitability – Will the person perform this role? This includes measuring attitude, motivation, interpersonal skills, task preferences, interests, and work environment preferences. To illustrate different aspects of Suitability, here are some examples of role behaviour factors that are relevant to a Church Planter. These are just a small sample of more than one hundred important suitability factors that could relate to an individual’s success.
  • What types of things will an applicant accomplish or put off?
  • What motivates them?
  • How will they communicate, influence and lead?
  • How well can they handle autonomy, freedom and responsibility?
  • How much initiative will they take?
  • How much will they persist when faced with obstacles?
  • How innovative will they be?
  • How much will they accept and respond appropriately to feedback?
  • To what degree will they become autocratic, dogmatic, dictatorial or controlling?
  • How much will they resist change and/or be rigid?
  • What behaviours will they exhibit under stress?
  • How much will they be blunt or harsh in their communications?
  • How much will they tend to be blindly optimistic, impulsive, illogical or easily influenced?
  • To what degree will they avoid difficult decisions?
  • How well will they organise and handle details?
  • How much will they be scattered or chaotic in their approach to projects or planning?
  • How much will they seek to learn, grow and excel?
  • What kind of recognition do they need?
  • As a leader, how well will they provide direction?
  • How well do they handle conflicts?
  • How reasonable will they be when assessing the value of their contributions to the ministry?

The Harrison Assessment is also unique in that it identifies counter-productive behavioural traits (traits to avoid) that can derail success. These are not obvious to the questionnaire-taker as there are combinations of traits that are paradoxical. The tool does not type-cast and has 175 separate traits as its base.

Candidate Interview

Interviews have been used as the primary means to assess a candidate’s attitude, motivation, and even role behaviour. Even if interviewers are extremely intuitive and well-trained in the interview process, there are many reasons why accurately assessing whether a person will fit the proposed role, using only an interview process is nearly impossible. The unique feature of the Harrison Assessment interview is that it includes a full range of Eligibility and Suitability questions that help the interviewer to target potential weaker areas in the candidate so that doubts can be confirmed or put to rest.

Summarising the Value and Challenges of Assessment

Effectively assessing both Eligibility and Suitability is the essential foundation necessary to select and develop great church planters. To do so requires a role success formula. Interviewing does not effectively assess role behaviour unless it is conducted using a role behaviour assessment. Effective role behaviour assessment requires the ability to measure more than 100 traits, a questionnaire that is work-focused, the ability to detect false answers and/or self-deception, a specific role success formula derived from performance/success research. Harrison Assessments meets all of the standards mentioned above, providing a powerful tool for assessment. It enables you to build a strong foundation for your church planter selection, retention and development.

The Harrison Assessment is the only assessment method that:

  • Uses a full spectrum of behavioural assessments, including personality, interests, work environment preferences and task preferences.
    Uses a high-tech questionnaire that provides the equivalent of a full day of testing in only 30 minutes.

    Uses a technological consistency detector that provides an extremely reliable validation of the authenticity of the answers.

    Can be effectively applied without professional interpretation.

    Uses the power of paradox to decipher subtleties and complexities of personality related to role performance.

Looking for high levels of predictive accuracy for future success in a candidate will be enhanced if you use the Harrison Assessment.

For more information:

Colin Noyes is the Director of ResourceZone International. He has thirty-five years of ministry experience as a pastor, college lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, denominational leaders church planters and local church pastors. He can be reached at


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