Determining How Much Risk You Will Take

This self evaluation test will help to determine how much risk you are willing to take within the church.  The answer key follows the test.

1. What is your education? (Check all that apply to you)
a. No higher education degree
b. Bible College degree
c. Liberal arts degree
d. Seminary degree
e. Non-seminary master’s degree
f. Doctorate

2. What is your current church membership size?
a. Less than 100
b. 100–199
c. 200-499
d. 500 or more

3. How long have you been at this church?
a. Less than one year
b. 1–2 years
c. 3–4 years
d. 5 or more years

4. What is your age?
a. 30 or under
b. 31–40
c. 41–50
d. 51–60
e. over 60

5. Which church is this in your ministry history?
a. My first church
b. My second church
c. My third church
d. Fourth or later church

6. What do you believe to be your dominant gifts/talents in ministry?
a. Preaching
b. Teaching
c. Administration
d. Counseling
e. Pastoral ministry (visitation, etc.)
f. Evangelism
g. Music
h. Other

7. Do you use a biblical character (such as Jesus, Paul, or Moses) as a model for decision-
a. Yes
b. No

8. How many times in a typical year are you required to made decisions that you know will
upset, offend, or bring disagreement from people in the congregation?
a. Theological decisions
(e.g., to take a stand on eschatology, spiritual gifts, divorce/remarriage, etc., that
differs from some members’ views.)
1) None
2) 1–2 per year
3) 3–4 year
4) 5 or more per year

b. Institutional/organizational decisions
(e.g., to recommend a ministry program that clashes with the polity or tradition of
the church.)
1) None
2) 1–2 per year
3) 3–4 per year
4) 5 or more per year

c. Interpersonal decisions
(e.g., handling a counseling session in a way that offends a church family, or having a conflict with a board member.)
1) None
2) 1–2 per year
3) 3–4 per year
4) 5 or more per year


Use these guidelines to score you answers:
RISK POINTS: If you are facing a risky decision at this time, each risk point increases your chance of ultimately having to leave your current ministry position as a result of it.

SAFETY POINTS: Each safety point decreases your chance of ultimately having to leave your current ministry position as a result of a difficult decision.

Not all of the answers from the questions were shown to have a measurable level of riskiness or safety. The ones that do are shown below.

Risk Points

Safety Points








  1a.   No higher education degree

1c.   Liberal arts degree

1d.  Seminary degree

1e.   Non-seminary master’s degree

1f.   Doctorate



  2b.  100–199

2c.  200–499



  3b.  1–2 years

3d.  5 or more years




  5b.  My second church

5c.   My third church

5d.  My fourth or later church



  6a.   Preaching

6b.  Teaching (-3 only if preaching is not also listed)



  7a.   Yes, I use a biblical character as a model for decision-making

7b.   No, I don’t use a biblical character as a model for decision-making.






  8a1)     No theological decisions per year

8a2)     1–2 per year

8c1)     No interpersonal decisions per year

8c3)     3–4 interpersonal decisions per year

8c4)     5 or more interpersonal decisions per year


Add the safety points and subtract the risk points. The more positive your total score, the more safe is your current environment in ministry decision-making.


+14 and higher A very high score.
You are in a relatively risk-free environment.
Continue to be sensitive to your flock as you also continue your vigorous approach to tough decision-making.

+6 to +13 An average score.
Take stock of the currently risky factors about your background and/or your church environment.
Evaluate your own decision-making process to see how it could be strengthened.

+5 or less A very risky score.
Look closely at the combination of your background and your current church environment to see where your dangers lie.
Be aware of the dangers.
As you evaluate your own decision-making process, seek out advice from experienced pastors on decision-making itself as well as the tough decisions you face.

Tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *