1001 Worshiping Communities Assessment

Discover your gifts for starting new ministries—find your joy.

“The best continuing education I’ve ever done.”
—2014 DML participant

Discerning Missional Leadership Assessments are an important part of your development, because faithful and self-aware leaders propel new worshiping communities forward.

We want to make assessments available for everyone leading or considering leadership of a new worshiping community. We even have a process for teams.  These assessments take place around the country in small groups, typically last 3–4 days, and are available to help anyone discern how they might better sustain or prepare for this important ministry.

During the Missional Leadership Assessment, you will work in teams of people going through the same process. You will take part in spiritual reflection and missional theological reflection about your context in ministry, do some team-work exercises, get insights on your leadership style, and take part in an in-depth behavioral interview process.

Our goal is to hold up a mirror to you that allows you to see your gifts and goals clearly, and to also know the kind of people you might want around you as you pursue a new thing.  All participants will leave with concrete advice about next steps and a recommendation from the assessment team of, “it’s a fit; it’s not a fit; or it’s a potential fit in the future.”

Schedule and Cost

DML Events

  • August 28–31 Pittsburgh/Pittsburgh Theological Seminary – Register by July 31
  • September 5-8 Dubuque/University of Dubuque Seminary – Register by July 31
  • October 24–27 Atlanta/Columbia Theological Seminary – Register by September 26
  • November 14-17 Northwest Coast Presbytery – Register by October 13

Registration Fee

$675 for an Individual  |  $775 for a couple
Full-time Seminary Students (Non-DMin):
$325 for an individual   |  $425 for a couple

This includes the cost of the assessment, housing, and most meals. Participants will need to provide transportation to the site along with funds for about two meals out unless otherwise noted. [The DML typically costs us over $1,800 per person, but we feel they are so important, we have supplemented the registration fee by over $1,000 for each participant.]

Please complete this form to apply for an upcoming DML event.  Upon receipt of this form you will receive an email with detailed instructions regarding a questionnaire, references and assessment profiles to complete prior to the event.  These are typically due one month before the event starts.  We will also contact you directly about payment of the registration fee.


Starting new worshiping communities is a life-giving work for those who have the call and capacity for it. “Discerning Missional Leadership” is designed to help discern the call and examine the leadership capacity of those interested in becoming lead church planters. The assessment encourages participation by spouses and potential team members who are called to help model and promote missional living. This three-plus day event will take into account: the planter’s personal history observations; perceptions that people have of them from different spheres of their life; observations from actual exercises with the group; responses to competency based interview questions; and results and observations as they relate to church planting from two separate inventories. There is also the opportunity for those being assessed to reflect on the experience and engage the group in how they see God at work at this time. At the end of this time, those being assessed will be given significant feedback on their readiness for the lead role in church planting, and what they can do to become ready for church planting, or the encouragement that their future ministry consists of apply their strengths in another context. Discerning fit is essential not merely for success but for enjoying the work. This assessment is for: individuals seeking insight and direction for church planting; for churches and other sponsoring groups to get feedback on the capacity of potential candidates to lead a new worshipinng community; and students seeking help preparing.


Who does the assessment?
The assessors are a collection of experienced church planters, those who work in human resources for church planting organizations, and those who oversee church plants for denominations and church planting organizations.

What are the inventories used?
We currently use KTS II (Keirsey Temperament Sorter); and Strengthsfinder 2.0. Those being assessed will receive these in our final reports. WHERE DO THE RESULTS GO?
If an organization is sponsoring someone both parties get the results of the total assessment. If they are Presbyterian, we ask those who are positively assessed if we can pass their name to potential new church opportunities.

What if the results leads away from church planting?
Regardless of the outcome, this assessment will be invaluable in understanding more fully the unique talents you have for any ministry.

My Mission Program Grant commitment letter says I need to participate in an assessment. Why is this important?
Discerning Missional Leadership Assessments are an important part of your development because faithful and self-aware leaders propel new worshiping communities forward. The assessment also helps your presbytery or partner congregation be certain that you are the right person for the hard work of starting a new worshiping community.

How do I register for an assessment?
Information and registration materials for the Discerning Missional Leadership Assessment are available from the apply now tab.

How much does an assessment cost?
$675 for an Individual; $775 for a couple
Full-time Seminary Students (Non-D.Min):
$325 for an individual;  $425 for a couple
The cost covers housing and most meals as well as the cost of the assessment.
Recipients of Mission Program Grants are eligible for a reduced rate (see your commitment letter for details).

Is there any way we can get financial help for the cost of the assessment?
The cost of the assessment is significantly underwritten by the Presbyterian Mission Agency. We recommend that the presbytery or partner congregation share in the cost of the assessment. All parties benefit from finding the right leader for a new worshiping community. The grant itself may be used to contribute toward the expense of the assessment. When the DML was added as a condition for grant recipients, the amount of the grant was increased to address the added cost associated with the conditions. Or consider using the specific cost of an assessment to gain a new donor to your community.

Do I need to use the DML assessment offered by the Presbyterian Mission agency?
No. There are other organizations that offer assessments for church planters. They usually cost more than the DML. The DML has been specifically designed to identify leaders who are suited for the missional, contextual work of starting a new worshiping community. The DML is also available in a variety of language and cultural contexts.

Should my spouse attend the assessment with me?
We encourage spouses to attend regardless of their desire to take an active role in a new initiative. Spouses who will assume a leadership role should apply for assessment as well.

Contact Vera