What's Beyond The Spiritual Gifts Assessment?

Jay McSwain, the creator of one of the most widely used spiritual gift assessments in the United States is often heard using the word “uselessness” in describing spiritual gift assessments.  Let’s explain why Jay uses the word “uselessness” when referring to spiritual gift assessments.  After 20+ years of working with thousands of churches, organizations and colleges along with hundreds of thousands of individuals who have taken the spiritual gift assessment Jay developed he has come to many conclusions.

One giant conclusion is spiritual gift assessments ALONE may possibly have done more harm in helping people discover their spiritual gifts than they have benefited people in discovering their spiritual gifts.

Even more important spiritual gift assessments ALONE may have even hindered people in discovering what God created them to do in ministry (Ephesians 2:10).  You might ask: “Why would Jay make such a bold assumption that spiritual gift assessments have been harmful in helping people discover their purpose in Kingdom work?”  Again, let’s give some explanation.


For years churches have encouraged (usually with a sermon series about spiritual gifts) their members to take a spiritual gift assessment so “we can help you find a place to serve within our church.”  The problem is countless individuals have taken spiritual gift assessments believing that they would definitely discover their spiritual gifts.  The belief was based on the assessment AND their church would help them find a place of service.

Sadly, many churches made a commitment that was not fulfilled either by the church or the spiritual gift assessment in helping people discover where to serve.

Through the years Jay has spoken with hundreds if not thousands of people who have been disappointed in their church regarding the commitment to help them discover their spiritual gifts.  Not only have many been disappointed, but often disillusioned about the value of a spiritual gift assessment in helping them to not only discover their spiritual gifts, but more importantly learn how and where to use them in ministry.

With all of the above said we at PLACE Ministries do believe there is a place (no pun intended) for spiritual gift assessments.  The place for spiritual gift assessments is at the beginning of the discovery process in learning how and where God desires to use you based on how He has created and gifted you.

PLACE Ministries believe there are eight principles for a Christian who desires to discover their spiritual gifts beyond just a spiritual gift assessment.

Principles To Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts:

Believe you have a spiritual gift.

I Corinthians 12:7
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

Ask God to reveal your spiritual gifts.

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Get involved in ministry.

I Corinthians 12:22
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body so it is with Christ.

Teaching by other Christians - Colossians 3:16 - this is where the value of Spiritual gift assessments come into play.

Let the message of Christ dwell among richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the

Evaluate your effectiveness

John 15:8
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Expect confirmation from the body.

Galatians 2:9
James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised.

Examine your feelings

Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Examine your motives.

Proverbs 16:2
All person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

There is a common element in principles 5-8 (evaluate your effectiveness, expect confirmation, and examine your feelings and motives). The common element is:


There is not a spiritual gifts assessment that will replace getting involved in ministry in discovering your spiritual gifts.

Spiritual Gift Assessments are useful when they are used in the beginning of the discovery process and not an end in themselves.

Spiritual Gift Assessments are not useful when they are the ONLY way a person attempts to discover their spiritual gifts.

 If you, your church or college are only using our spiritual gifts assessment we passionately would ask you to consider adding to the spiritual gift assessment the entire PLACE assessments

Also, we encourage you to utilize many of our tools and resources that will give further insight into how to utilize your PLACE results in discovering how and where God desires to use you in life and ministry.

How Can I See Myself Beyond Just Spiritual Gifts?
Glad You Asked

Our online tools allow you to complete assessments and see results right on your mobile device or computer.

Our PLACE online assessments allow you look at five areas of your life and see how God has uniquely created your life and ministry

What You Get...

As part of the 5-step personal discovery process, PLACE provides five online assessments along with insights about you from the results of each assessment.

You can print the PLACE results along with over 20 pages of supplemental insights into you.

Personality Discovery

Section 1

Section 1 - Personality Discovery

After completing DISC personality assessment you will be provided insights into your unique personality along with invaluable information such as what God might say to you from His word regarding your personality.

Learning Spiritual Gifts

Section 2

Section 2 - Learning Spiritual Gifts

You will complete the spiritual gift assessment and learn how your spiritual gifts interact with your personality.

Abilities Awareness

Section 3

Section 3 - Abilities Awareness

The Abilities Assessment will reveal the environments where you will be most competent in exercising your spiritual gifts and personality and fulfilled in living out your passions and life experiences.

Connecting Passion with Ministry

Section 4

Section 4 - Connecting Passion with Ministry

Explores who you are passionate about and how you demonstrate your passion in both life and ministry. You will also learn where your passion originates.

Experiences of Life

Section 5

Section 5 - Experiences of Life

Life experiences are the game changer in how and where God uses you in both life and ministry. In this final assessment, you will reflect on your life experiences in completing your PLACE profile.