Serving Him Together,

Jay McSwain

Founder & President of PLACE Ministries

A Time For Everything...

Why Ministries Like PLACE Aren't Successful And How To Make Them Successful

 So, What’s Different?
Some of the changes are obvious and some not so obvious.

Here are the Changes to the Personality Assessment:
1.  The Personality Assessment has been shortened from 24 statements to 16 statements.

2.  The personality statements and their four responses that correlate to DISC have been simplified.  This was based on years of having people bring to me what might be unclear to them on the possible responses.  Anything that might be unclear I culled out of the assessment.  The current 16 statements and their responses are much more emphatically geared toward pointing toward one of the four DISC personality types.

3.  Before scoring the personality assessment the CAUTION that was in small print on the supplemental pages describing each personality type has been added front and center.  The CAUTION is thoroughly explained as to why it is so important before looking at your personality results from the assessment.

4.  There is a page explaining what your personality scores actually mean and how to interpret the scores in what is called the “Spiker” vs. “Flat-liner” personality.  I say regularly “I am not that smart but I can watch when explaining something whether it resonates with people.”  This added part definitely resonates when I explain it so now it is in the supplemental pages of the assessment.

5.  A graph is provided to insert your four personality scores beside DISC and added up to help you see your personality based on four keywords (Active, Reserved, Task or People oriented).


Spiritual Gifts Assessment Changes
  The changes to the Spiritual Gifts assessment were not as many but are pretty significant in how the questionnaire is worded.  Before going into what I mean by “pretty significant” let me explain some of the reasoning behind the changes.  For 20 years I have been giving the Spiritual Gifts assessment and quietly watching people taking the assessment.  Up until about 7-8 years ago people generally took the Spiritual Gifts assessment in about 20-25 minutes give or take a few minutes.  In recent years it is taking people 20 to yes 45 minutes to take the Spiritual Gifts assessment.  I kept asking "why?"  I believe it is for many reasons but two that stuck out were:  First, people were trying to figure out how to make the spiritual gifts score turn out based on their desire.  Secondly, more and more people have no context of ministry involvement to answer the questions.  Therefore, people have pondered and pondered their responses.

 There is another reason for the “pretty significant” change to the Spiritual Gifts assessment.  I believe that people have gifts (not spiritual gifts) prior to conversion but when a person is converted and becomes a Christian their gifts become spiritual gifts to be used for Kingdom purposes and eternal causes. 

Now let me give the changes.
 1.  The Spiritual Gifts assessment will have only 64 statements instead of the old assessment that has 112 statements.

2.  The “pretty significant” change is the statements do not have any spiritual language in them.  Here are two examples: 

      Statement #17 says, “I am good at explaining what I believe to those who don’t believe          in those same truths.”  Evangelism


      Statement #37 – I expose harmful attitudes and actions even when the people who do          them are popular and/or no one agrees with me.”  Prophecy

  Once the Spiritual Gifts assessment has been completed and scored ALL the supplemental explanation goes back to explaining the use of spiritual gifts from a Kingdom-focused perspective. 
  Also, it is vitally important to remember that a Spiritual Gifts assessment SHOULD NOT be the ONLY way a person seeks to discover his/her spiritual gifts.  The Spiritual Gifts assessment should be used at the beginning of the discovery process and then use the 8 Scriptural principles that are provided in the PLACE teaching to help a person know their spiritual gifts.

3.  The spiritual gift statements are combined with the Abilities assessment statements in the inventory.  Once a person has scored all the statements (88 for both Spiritual Gifts and Abilities) the scoring for the Spiritual Gifts and Abilities assessments are scored separately.

Abilities Assessment Changes
1.  The assessment has been shorted from 42 statements to 24 statements.

2.  As stated above the Abilities statements are combined with the Spiritual Gifts statements.  By combining the two assessments there will be only one time those taking the two assessments will have to read the instructions, which will further shorten the time to take the two assessments.

3.  The statements on the Abilities assessment have been shortened which make them very simple to understand and give a numerical response as to how much you identify with or don't identify with the statement.


Online and Other Resources
  Many reading this email know that PLACE Ministries has many, many resources both in print and online.  While the Participant Guide is the first to be converted we are in the process of converting our online assessments to match those within the Participant Guide and our printed Assessment Tool that many use to again match the ones in the Participant Guide.  Also, we have many resources like the PLACE Facilitator Guide and Connection Coach Guide that in the coming months will also be updated to reflect the New and Improved assessments in the Participant Guide.



  Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” At PLACE Ministries we decided after 20 years it was a time for a change.

  After 20 years of providing what we believe have been great assessments to help people begin to understand their personality, discover their spiritual gifts and incorporate their abilities in serving in ministry we decided it was TIME to update our assessments that have been Tried and True with New and Improved.


   Before I tell you about our new and improved assessments let me explain the journey I have taken to update our assessments.  Last year ended the 20th year since PLACE Ministries launched.  We have worked with thousands of churches and organizations and these churches have provided hundreds of thousands of our assessments to their people.  So, why change what has obviously worked for so many?  Glad you asked.  About three years ago Brentwood Baptist Church in the Nashville area asked me if I had ever considered shortening the assessments and making some minor changes to taking the assessments.  Brentwood has taken thousands of new members through PLACE over many years as PLACE is a requirement for their membership process.  Honestly, I was reluctant for many reasons to make any changes.  But, my friend at Brentwood Baptist Church, Michele Dyer who leads PLACE kept gently with her “S” personality urging me to consider making some changes like shortening the time to take the assessments.  As I worked through my hesitancy I spent the summer of 2016 seriously looking at the assessment I had created in the late 90’s.  Through what I believe to be the Holy Spirit’s eyes God showed me how I could take my experience through the years in what had been Tried and True and make them New and Improved.  Yes, “there is a time for everything” even updated great personality, spiritual gifts and abilities assessments.


At the end of the summer of 2016, I met with Michele and several from her team at Brentwood and made the decision to make updates and yes some major changes to the assessments.  In the fall of 2016, I asked Brad Sargent who helped me originally research, design and develop not only the PLACE assessments but also the entire PLACE process to re-engage with me in looking at the assessments.  Brad and I spent several months back and forth tweaking and in some cases making what we considered major revisions to the assessments.  By the end of 2016, we had settled on the basic framework and changes to the three assessments.  All of 2017 I kept looking at every statement for all three assessments and pondering and more tweaking by asking if the words and phrases used boiled down to the simplest and most profound way to help a person in their discovery of their personality, spiritual gifts and abilities.  By late fall of last year, I settled on what will start being shipped this week in our updated Finding Your PLACE in Life and Ministry Participant Guide. 


Available February 5, 2018