Candidate Assessment


Information for Judicatories

LeaderWise offers a two-step model of candidate assessment. Along with screening for possible psychological concerns and appropriateness for ministry, the process emphasizes personal and professional development. Our goal is to work with the candidate to maximize her or his effectiveness in ministry. A third level of assessment is available for clergy transferring into your denomination from another one to screen for major mental health concerns. Candidate Assessments can be completed on site at LeaderWise or online through secure video conference.

Phase 1

This is the traditional assessment process that evaluates appropriateness for ministry. At North Central, the candidate completes all testing and autobiographical work ahead of time and participates in a half-day interview with a psychologist.  A written report is submitted to the judicatory and the individual. The primary question centers on whether this person’s gifts, skills, and psychological resources fit with ministry. For those judicatories using the Phase 1 and Phase 2 model, this assessment typically occurs before the start of seminary.

Phase 2

This assessment assumes some ministry experience, such as field education, internship, or student pastorate, and considers overall effectiveness in ministry. The question is what are the pastor’s strengths and weaknesses and what steps would help to ensure success in ministry. Like Phase 1, the candidate completes all testing and autobiographical work in advance and meets with a psychologist for a half-day to full-day interview. The interview, paperwork, and testing encourage reflection on recent ministry experiences as well as preparation for life as a pastor.  A written report and developmental plan is shared with the judicatory and the individual. This assessment typically occurs toward the end of seminary or while serving in the local church. 

Phase 3

In this assessment, a psychologist meets with an individual who is already ordained from another tradition and wishes to transfer into your denomination, to review inventory results and learn about their history in ministry. The minister completes all paperwork ahead of time, and the psychologist and candidate meet for an hour to an hour and a half. It is a broad screen for potential leadership and psychological concerns.

Information for Prospective Candidates

We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with you in your discernment of a possible call to ordained ministry. At our center, you’ll find a highly experienced team of psychologists who are well-versed in both ministry and psychological assessment. Many of us our ordained ministers as well as doctoral-level psychologists, and all of us have a deep love for the church. Our center was founded over forty-five years ago by the National Council of Churches to provide top-notch psychological resources for the church, individuals in ministry, and anyone interested in a holistic approach to vocational discernment.

A psychological assessment is standard for almost all denominations, and we’ve designed a process that meets and exceeds the requirements of these denominations. You’ll spend a half day with one of our psychologists to hear about your call to ministry, review your inventory results, and discuss their possible implications for ordained ministry. We then provide a written report to both you and the denominational candidate committee working with you. Whether or not you and the committee ultimately discern a call to ordained ministry, our goal is to provide you information to deepen your self-awareness and to help you more effectively live out your life of faith.

"[LeaderWise's] focus on competencies has created 

a paradigm shift in pastoral assessment that is 

extremely accessible and helpful 

to the various parties involved." 

 — The Rev. Dr. Deb DeMeester Director of Leadership Development, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Contact Us

Contact us to begin your assessment process today.


516 Mission House Lane New Brighton, MN 55112 US



8:00-4:30 pm CST