Entering the Ministry Assessment 101

Entering the Ministry Assessment 101

Goals of the Entering the Ministry Assessment
What Assessments are Included
Areas of Assessment
How CPM Uses the Assessment


  • The Entering the Ministry Assessment (EMA) is a series of assessments administered to those seeking ordination in Pittsburgh Presbytery and is typically the assessment is conducted through Pittsburgh Pastoral Institute.
  • The cost of the EMA is split three ways: 20% the candidate, 40% the sponsoring church, 40% the presbytery.
  • Iquirers/Candidates (I/C) are required to complete the EMA within the first year of entering the ordination process.
  • I/C are responsible for contacting PPI to begin the EMA process.
  • The EMA consists of a battery of tests along with a follow-up interview conducted by a trained and licensed therapist.
  • Upon the completion of the tests and the interview, a full written report is sent to our office.
  • A release form is then sent to the I/C permitting us to release the information to the Care Team and, by extension, the CPM.

Goals of the Entering the Ministry Assessment

  • The requirement of something similar to the EMA is a nearly universal requirement within the denomination.
  • The exact composition of and process for the EMA differs from center to center, but the goals are the same.
  • Because we are in the “people business,” it is crucially important that both the individual and the CPM members have a good understanding of the individual.
  • In no specific order, the goals of the EMA are:
    • To assess the current psychological health of the individual
    • To gain greater insight into the strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies of the individual
    • To assess the self-awareness level of the individual

What Assessments Are Included

Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO-B): The FIRO-B helps people understand their interpersonal needs and how those needs influence their communication style and behavior and; in the process, improve their personal relationships and professional performance

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2): The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) is a psychological test that assesses personality traits and psychopathology. It is primarily intended to test people who are suspected of having mental health or other clinical issues.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in the lives of people. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.

PsychEval Personality Questionnaire (PEPQ): The PsychEval Personality Questionnaire provides an in depth normal personality assessment and a quick screen for psychopathology-related patterns of behavior.

Strong Interest Inventory (SII): The Strong Interest Inventory® Test is a psychological instrument that began its formation in the years following World War I through the work of E.K. Strong, Jr. Strong went on to publish the first version of the Inventory in 1927. The purpose of the Inventory was based around studying the occupational interests of men and women.

Tennessee Self-Concept Scale:2 (TCS:2): The Tennessee Self Concept Scale (TSCS) consists of 100 self-descriptive items by means of which an individual portrays what he or she is, does, likes, and feels. The scale is intended to summarize an individual’s feeling of self-worth, the degree to which the selfimage is realistic, and whether or not that self-image is a deviant one. As well as providing an overall assessment of self-esteem, the TSCS measures five external aspects of self-concept (moral-ethical, social, personal, physical, and family) and three internal aspects (identity, behavior, and selfsatisfaction). In addition, crossing the internal and external dimensions results in the mapping of 15 “facets” of self-concept.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI): The TKI is a self-report assessment that allows an individual to discover whether he/she might be overusing (a high score) or underusing (a low score) one or more of these five conflict-handling modes: competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating.

Focus on the Ministry form

Life History Questionnaire: Basic biographical information, including family information

In-person interview

Areas of Assessment

Report also includes information on the following areas:

  • General Personality
  • Relational Skills
  • Family & Social Networks
  • Medical Health
  • Substance Use/Abuse
  • Psychological Illness
  • Empathy & Affective Expression
  • Emotional Maturity/Coping Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Potential for Leadership
  • Flexibility
  • Motivation for Religous Service/Sense of Vision
  • Personal/Professional Values
  • Behavior & Cooperation in the EMA Process Itself
  • Technical Appendix of Assessment Data

How CPM Uses the Assessment

The EMA is one tool out of many CPM uses to get a better understanding of the individuals moving through the process. As a tool, it should not be used as a single-factor determination unless there are serious psychological concerns raised in the report. However, one of the most important aspects of professional ministry is assessing emotional maturity and self-awareness. I (emphasis I) believe the EMA and, in particular, the reaction of the individual to the results help us gain better insight into the level of emotional maturity and self-awareness of the individual. The EMA should be used alongside tools such as the Pastor Competency Profile Evaluation, the Field Education Report, and our personal observations in determining suitability for ordained ministry.