Three Inventories Every Church Member Should Take

Christians are not religious robots.  God provides us with free wills, personalities, and idiosyncrasies that compliment our human experiences.  By the same token, Christians’ common love for God, His church, and humanity don’t exempt us from dealing with bias and preferences that are amoral.  We not only have a heart for God, we also have a heart: we have feelings, experience uncertainty, etc.
 
Regardless of how church leaders view members’ roles, every member should take and share results of three types of inventories: personality, learner, and spirited giftedness.  The first two are applicable for both believers and nonbelievers whereas the third is only applicable for believers.
 
Personality Inventory

As the name implies, a personality inventory involves a series of questions or statements that reveal your character traits.  It answers the essential question of “Who are you?”  This is not an existential question but one reflecting your range of emotional responses and interactions with others.  There are a number of personality inventories descriptors such as introverted, extroverted, aggressive, passive, thinker, feeler, etc.

 
Learner Inventory
A learner inventory reveals how you receive, evaluate, and disseminate information.  It answers the essential question of “How do you?”  Categories of learner inventories include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.  
 
Spiritual Giftedness Inventory
Unlike the previous two inventories focusing on the common experiences of humanity, the spiritual giftedness inventory only applies to believers.  This might seem very sanctimonious and restrictive. You’re right. It is. I’ll explain why after mentioning characteristics of this inventory.
 
A spiritual giftedness inventory reveals the source and reasons for your spiritual vocation.  It answers the essential question of “Whose are you?” Popular categories of spiritual giftedness inventories include shepherd, teacher, administrator, helper, and giver. 
 
Talents vs. Gifts

Allow me to clarify my earlier statement about Christians’ exclusivity regarding spiritual giftedness by citing two examples.  In one case, a sportscaster declares “This player is one of the most gifted athletes I’ve ever seen.” In another case, during an awards acceptance speech about his song glamorizing drug abuse and sexual promiscuity, a rapper declares “I’d like to thank God for willing this award.”  

 
I argue that both the player and rapper are talented based on their athletic and musical abilities but the rapper is definitely not a Christian (unless you believe that God delights in the words and cosigns sinful behavior mentioned in the lyrics). 
 
Both examples lead to two reasonable conclusions:  God provides everyone with general talents/abilities that are amoral,–i.e. athleticism and singing– based on His sovereign will and God provides spiritual gifts to Christians for His glory and the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 7:7, Ephesians 4:11-13, Romans 12:6-8).
 
Why Inventories?
Why administer inventories in churches?  First, they help us better understand ourselvesAfter taking several learner inventories for instance, I discovered that I tend to learn better with visuals but tend to share information verbally.  Consequently, I make deliberate decisions that help me compensate for these learning styles when teaching my high school students or when interacting with church leaders.
 
Second, inventories help us better understand others.  I know several Christian church leaders whose spiritual giftedness descriptors include “shepherding” which helped me understand their patient and sometimes painstaking demeanor when breaking down difficult doctrines such as justification by faith.
 

Third, these inventories help us better understand God.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 reads “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  Through the Holy Spirit, God permitted writers to incorporate their personality, experiences, and writing styles without compromising the Gospel message.  In much the same way, God delights when His church identifies, embraces, and sometimes compensates for our personality, learning, and spiritual giftedness traits–all for His good and His glory.


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