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Strengths Finder

The supportive response to my sermon Sunday has been overwhelming.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about and are interested, then you can check it out here:  Thank you for your kind words, affirmation, and love.  I've had several requests to go more in depth on different aspects of my message.  I maxed out my sermon time on Sunday, and still couldn't cover everything in 25-30 minutes.  So, there's more I'd like to say.  Over the next week or so, I hope to tackle some such issues on this blog.

The first and most light-hearted is the Strengths Finder assessment.  Our staff did this years ago, and I didn't find it very helpful.  I was in a funky, unhealthy place, and my results were skewed.  I re-took it this past fall and have since found it to be very helpful.

Sunday I did a humorous bit, which seems to be the most memorable part of the message, on my internal conflict with the strengths of "competition" and "empathy."

"StrengthsFinder measures the presence of 34 talent themes.  Talents are people's naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling, or behavior that can be productively applied.  The more dominant a theme is in a person, the greater the theme's impact on that person's behavior and performance."  (

Unlike some personality tests with which you're put in one of four boxes, this assessment has 34 themes.  You get your top five in order of dominance.  The chance of having the same five, especially in the same order, as someone else is extremely rare.

Here are my top five:

1.  Achiever--I'm driven and have a strong need for achievement.  This correlates with that hard work value I discussed on Sunday.

2.  Learner--I love to learn and am drawn to the process of learning. 

3.  Individualization--I am interested in the unique qualities of each person and frustrated by generalizations or types (hence my attraction to the StrengthsFinder versus those personality tests that put you in one of four boxes:).)  I like to hear each individual's story and tailor make my gifts and approaches to fit them.

4. Empathy--I can put myself in others' shoes, feeling what they feel and seeing things from their perspectives.

5.  Competition--I like to compete, and I like to win.

So, looking at these it's no surprise I did well in grade school, college, and seminary.  I like to achieve, to learn, and to compete against my fellow students.

It's also no surprise that I'm a pastor, particularly one who thrives in one-on-one and small group settings.  I love learning the individual qualities of people in a small group or pastoral care setting.  I love listening to them and feeling how they feel.


  1. I did Strengths Finders a year ago for work and found it really helpful in understanding what I like to do, what I don't, and where I needed to go next, especially in volunteer world. My 5 are:



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