The Spiritual Leadership Quali­ties Inventory (SLQI) was designed to re­flect “the characteristics and qualities of spiritual maturity described by Paul in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9” (Townsend & Wichern, 1984, p. 306). The authors as­sert that in these passages the apostle Paul sets forth an outline of the spiritual charac­ter qualifications for elders (leaders) of the church. Their exegesis identifies, a total of 22 distinct traits or qualities. Of these, the SLQI measures 19 qualities.

The instrument’s theory base assumes that the beliefs and behaviors of leaders in Christian evangelical churches are on a spir­itual level measurably higher than those of the population at large. Although other in­struments are available and are used for measuring attitudes and interests of reli­giously oriented people, broad spiritual ma­turity levels, or leadership abilities, those instruments deal with a wide range of thoughts, feelings, and values. They tend to be normed primarily for ministers or semi­narians, or they have no explicit biblical basis for determining levels of spiritual ma­turity. Thus this inventory of spiritual lead­ership qualities was developed to be applic­able not only for clergy but also for laity. A hallmark is the explicit and specific biblical content as the basis for both trait and item development. This assumption is that an in­ dividual who has a marked degree of these “biblically-derived” qualities of spiritual maturity could be considered for spiritual leadership. This instrument’s purpose, then, is to “help an individual recognize areas of spiritual and psychological growth,” rather than to “be a diagnostic instrument of over­ all spiritual maturity” (Townsend and Wich­ern, 1984, p. 306). This distinction, how­ ever, is not entirely clear.


The SLQI contains 222 items identifying 19 traits of spiritual maturity. A thorough exegetical study of the Timothy and Titus passages resulted in the following traits: being upright, having a good reputa­tion, being above reproach, being re­spectable, having a desire to be overseer, being holy, having an ability to teach, being temperate, being prudent, being able to manage family, being the husband of one wife, being gentle, not being quick-tem­pered, being self-controlled, not being ad­dicted to wine, not being greedy, being a lover of good, not being self-willed, and being hospitable. Specific scriptural pas­ sages, Greek words, and principles of exe­gesis are detailed in Appendix A of the In­struction Manual (Wichern, 1980).

The spiritual traits were logically derived to confirm or disconfirm the presence of those traits in a person’s daily behavior. Means and standard deviations of pastors, elders, seminary students, and non-Chris­ tians are reported in Wichem’s (1980) Man­ual, providing a general frame of reference for interpretation.

Practical Considerations:

The SLQI pro­ vides a 22-page Instruction Manual, which explains the instrument’s purpose and his­torical development, contains directions for administration, and offers interpretation guidelines. The Manual has two sample case studies to clarify the use of the SLQI in in­terpretation. Appendix D provides helpful and simple action plans for developing each of the leadership qualities measured by this instrument. The inventory may be com­pleted in about 50 minutes.

The scoring key is a single transparent overlay with seven columns, one for each page. Scoring is straightforward for anyone familiar with hand-scoring procedures. The two-sided SLQI Scoring Record explains the four-step procedure. Raw scores from one side of the Scoring Record are plotted on the Analysis Profile on the reverse side.


The Analysis Pro­ file is a graph of an individual’s scores. Shaded portions of the profile indicate “new believer,” “normal Christian,” and “spiritu­ally mature.” The distinctions are based on the mean score for all populations.

The Manual reminds the user that the usefulness of test results is directly related to the skillfulness of the administrator. Scores can be analyzed in one of three ways: as individual traits, as general trends, or as reflections of certain social attitudes and behaviors. No explanation is offered for using these levels of analysis. At several points in the Manual, users are reminded that the SLQI is not to be used as the sole basis for any administrative decision as to one’s qualification for leadership. The in­strument may be combined with an educa­tional and small group process, thereby pro­ viding informal feedback for the spiritual strengths and weaknesses of potential lead­ers.


Support of the SLQI’s reliability is reported both in the Manual and in the follow-up study by Townsend and Wichern (1984). Test-retest correlations are reported from l00 Christians randomly selected to take the SLQI twice. The interval between administrations was eight weeks. The coef­ficient values for the 19 traits ranged from .30 to .63, with an overall reliability of .94. All correlations were significant at the .05 level.


The SLQI Manual asserts that “nu­merous personal interviews and surveys have confirmed that the SLQI accurately as­sesses the traits it measures. In addition, several studies have shown that the SLQI discriminates between church leader and non-church leader populations” (Wichern, 1980, p. 6). Aside from these assertions, no other citations provide actual empirical data to evaluate the instrument’s validity for its intended purpose. However, Townsend and Wichern (1984) cite several studies that demonstrate acceptable convergent and di­vergent validity for each scale (Ewing, Parker, & Quinn, 1983). Campbell, Carr, and Parker (1983) performed a factoranaly­ sis of the SLQI, resulting in a five-factor so­lution accounting for 70% of the variance. Parker (l 984), and later Carr (l 987), explored construct validity again using a principle components factor analysis and pro­duced a feasible five-factor explanation and a two-to-six factor solution, respectively. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the total variance was attributed to one factor, further questioning the theoretical analysis and item pool of Wichern’s original study.

Townsend and Wichern (1984) attempted a comparison validation study of the origi­nal data, using 71 adults from the Dallas, Texas, area. Their sample included 22 el­ders, 22 deacons, and 27 non-Christians, ranging in age from 18-65. Comparisons among these known groups were analyzed using t-tests. On none of the I 9 traits was the non-Christian group higher than the church-leader group in total scores. Several significant differences were found on indi­vidual traits, including “gentle” and “not self-willed” (the elders were higher than deacons in both groups). In general, the SLQI did not effectively distinguish be­ tween these two leadership groups, although they distinguished the leadership groups from the non-Christian group.

The correlational results are mixed. There were high intercorrelations among the 19 trait variables, indicating high internal consistency. These results also evidence sig­nificant overlap in these scales, demonstrat­ing lack of discrimination of these character qualities. Rockwood (1986) reported a sig­nificant relationship between the spiritual development traits of the SLQI and the psy­chological maturity scores yielded on the Personal Authority in the Family System Questionnaire, an instrument based on fam­ ily of origin theory. Rockwood found a sig­nificant difference between age-group scores on both instruments, lending some credence to the SLQI’s ability to distinguish leadership qualities in younger versus older participants.

Based on these findings and on the short­ age of current validity studies for this in­strument, most researchers suggest further development focusing on reexamining the exegesis of the passages and the items drawn from them. The instrument as a whole seems to have promise, but individual scales may not make the sensitive dis­ criminations the author expected. The avail­ able findings suggest the viability of dis­ criminating spiritual leadership qualities from nonleadership qualities, but the length of the SLQI might be discouraging for re­ searchers when briefer instruments measure similar constructs (Bassett et al., 1991). Thus, caution is warranted in using this as a pure clinical instrument for determining roles within a fellowship, but it might be used effectively as an educational and dis­cussion tool for developing spiritual leader­ ship qualities, assuming that any feedback given is tentative.

Spiritual Leadership Qualities Inventory

This survey is one way of describing human beings in terms of their beliefs, attitudes, and val­ ues. The survey consists of numbered statements. Read each statement and decide whether it is true as applied to you or false as applied to you.

You are to mark your answers directly on the survey sheet. If a statement is true or mostly true, as applied to you, blacken in the circle in the column headed ‘T’. If a statement is false or not usually true, as applied to you, blacken in the circle in the column headed F.

Remember to give your own opinion of yourself. Do not leave any blank spaces if you can avoid it. Be sure to let your responses reflect how you feel at the present time.

  1. If others fail to recognize how good I am, it is because of their own limitations.
  2. I rarely find myself so overcome by emotion that I cannot meet the people I work with.
  3. At times I am afraid that things I have done in the past will catch up with me.
  4. I have little trouble because of a guilty conscience.
  5. At my work area or desk, I frequently create such a mess that I can’t get anything done.
  6. My will power is strong when it comes to passing up food.
  7. It makes me angry when others refuse to accept my good ideas.
  8. If you don’t look out for yourself, nobody else will.
  9. There are a few people who know things about me which if told, could cause me great embarrassment.
  10. I am sometimes depressed because of things that I did in my past.
  11. l l. I admire someone who will point out an error even though it may cost them.
  12. I am often bothered by feelings of guilt.
  13. I believe each person has complete freedom to eat, drink, or act however he wants.
  14. I don’t mind being asked to do a humbling job which no one else will take.
  15. At times I feel like swearing.
  16. My conscience often bothers me with the feeling that I am not doing what I ought to be doing.
  17. I often laugh at a dirty joke or story just so my friends or coworkers don’t think I’m stuck-up.
  18. If I took a test and the grader missed a mistake I made, I wouldn’t tell him.
  19. I believe that there is a code which demands that all men act fairly toward one another.
  20. If I could get into a movie without paying and be sure I was not seen, I would probably do it.
  21. I usually feel irritated when I have to take orders from others.
  22. People in my community would say that I am a person with high moral values.
  23. At times I feel like swearing.
  24. I frequently laugh at dirty jokes.
  25. What others think of me does not bother me.
  26. I secretly enjoy someone who is good at fooling others even if it sometimes embar­ rasses them.
  27. Most people are too soft and if they were more critical they wouldn’t get taken advan­ tage of.
  28. I think nearly anyone would tell a lie to keep out of trouble.
  29. I frequently find myself going out of my way to make sure the other guy has an equal chance.
  30. I really enjoy a good hot argument.
  31. I don’t enjoy conversations in which the faults or misdeeds of others are being dis­ cussed.
  32. I secretly feel good when I learn that someone I dislike has gotten into trouble.
  33. Sometimes when others speak too highly of an acquaintance, I try to point out his de­fects.
  34. If I am given the wrong change by a clerk, I usually try to return the incorrect amount.
  35. If I had to choose, I would rather be spiritually close to God than be physically and emotionally close to people.
  36. People who invest their time in studying the Bible are not aware of the real problems facing man.
  37. I have often thought that I would like to be a leader in a local church.
  38. The main purpose of man is to know God and worship Him.
  39. Frankly, there are so many religions and cults that I doubt if any of them are right.
  40. I sometimes find myself continuing a discussion just because I don’t want to be wrong.
  41. I am not impressed by the men who lead the church I attend.
  42. Being able to teach a subject well is as important as knowing that subject.
  43. I don’t have any desire to be a church leader.
  44. I would rather read a good novel or a true life adventure than to read the Bible.
  45. I wouldn’t mind being an elder or deacon if I was chosen.
  46. While I may not consistently study truths about God, I do make it a priority to seek Him.
  47. A regular program of Bible study should be a priority for most people.
  48. I would like to be an elder or deacon if chosen.
  49. I believe that by meditating on the Bible and praying one may know God better.
  50. I enjoy being able to get up in front of a group and sharing new ideas I have had.
  51. Elders or deacons are sincere people who should be praised for their work.
  52. The life of Jesus shows that all men can know God if they just look in themselves.
  53. Some of the greatest moments of my life have come through seeking to know God.
  54. Theologians have so confused people about religion that I would rather watch TV than read a religious book.
  55. Elders or deacons are just like anyone else, only they try to look good.
  56. Serving in activities at my church is more important than having time just for myself.
  57. I have made the study of the Bible and seeking God my highest priority.
  58. I would rather help a person grow spiritually than develop my own interests.
  59. I would feel good about working regularly on projects for my church.
  60. Christians overemphasize the abstract knowledge of God and forget to see the good in human beings.
  61. I am a doer, not a planner.
  62. Planning ahead makes things tum out better.
  63. I don’t easily become impatient with people.
  64. Talking in front of a group of people makes me very anxious.
  65. The main purpose of man is to know God and worship Him.
  66. I am not easily swayed by others’ opinions.
  67. I have periods of days, weeks, or months when I can’t take care of things because I can’t “get going.”
  68. I am called on by my friends in times of trouble.
  69. I feel I am well suited to be a leader.
  70. I usually have to stop and think before I act even in trifling matters.
  71. I have been asked to lead groups where a difficult decision had to be made.
  72. I do many things which I regret afterward (regret things more or more often than oth­ ers seem to).
  73. I sometimes feel a good goal for myself would be to never have to rely on anyone for anything.
  74. I don’t easily become impatient with people.
  75. I have met problems so full of possibilities that I have been almost unable to make up my mind about them.
  76. There is no respect these days for people who really know what is going on.
  77. When I get into a conversation, I am uncomfortable unless I get people to talk about subjects I know a great deal about.
  78. If other people fail to recognize how good I am, it is because of their limitations.
  79. I have had periods in which I carried on activities without knowing later what I had been doing.
  80. The human mind has so much potential that it will be able to bring world peace, end pollution, and bring in a “new age.”
  81. I feel resentment when others fail to notice and praise me for my achievements.
  82. People who say that man is innately bad are just too pessimistic and are overlooking the human potential for justness.
  83. One of my greatest desires is to be a truly wise man.
  84. I rarely experience times when I am so confused I can’t decide what to do.
  85. I have good success in settling disputes between people.
  86. In order to be really successful, I must be willing to take big risks.
  87. I find it hard to set aside a task that I have undertaken, even for a short time.
  88. I am a doer, not a planner.
  89. At times I feel like smashing things.
  90. I frequently feel like swearing.
  91. I feel better about my life than I ever have.
  92. At times my thoughts have raced ahead faster than I could speak them.
  93. I get mad easily and then get over it soon.
  94. I frequently find myself worrying about something.
  95. When you do something wrong, there is very little you can do to make it right.
  96. Wishing can make good things happen.
  97. Planning ahead makes things tum out better.
  98. I sometimes feel a good goal for myself would be to never have to rely on anyone for anything.
  99. I find it hard to set aside a task that I have undertaken, even for a short time.
  100. Society has surrounded man’s sex drive with too many prohibitions.
  101. I have very few quarrels with members of my family.
  102. I want my wife/husband to feel that she/he is the most important person in my life.
  103. Teenagers have too many problems and should be ignored.
  104. I 04. When I have problems with my family life, I usually try to work harder at my job.
  105. 105. I think that any religion which teaches that God made man with a sex drive and then sets up restrictions is unreasonable.
  106. I 06. I spend time thinking about new and unusual ways to enjoy sex.
  107. Because mothers spend more time with their children they are better able to make decisions about privileges and discipline.
  108. The main part of man’s life is his work, and a woman should take care of the home.
  109. An occasional visit to an adult bookstore never hurt anyone.
  110. If my children talked back to me, I’d spank them.
  111. Sexual enjoyment is God’s greatest gift to mankind.
  112. My wife/husband and I rarely agree on any decision.
  113. My interest in sex is about average, but I sometimes find myself having long periods of erotic fantasy.
  114. I find I can talk more openly and honestly to friends at work than I can my family (or wife).
  115. If I have a choice, I will go see a sexy movie in preference to others.
  116. If I had teen-age children, I wouldn’t be particularly embarrassed if they were arrested for alcohol or drug use.
  117. At times when I am around an attractive person of the opposite sex, I am preoccupied with thoughts of touching, embracing, and going to bed with that person.
  118. It is probably better not to tell your children about sex, since they probably learn more about it at school.
  119. In the final analysis, pleasure is not the most important thing in life.
  120. I agree with the concept that “kids will be kids” and should be allowed to sow their “wild oats.”
  121. I think I could give up about anything except sexual feelings, thoughts, and pleasures.
  122. Children should make up their own minds on religion without their parent’s prejudices.
  123. I would rather read a magazine about current events than a magazine which contains sex-related articles.
  124. Most of the time parents listen to what their children have to say.
  125. It is useless to try to get my way at home.
  126. No one can tell me when and how and with whom I can make love.
  127. I have little to say about what I eat at home.
  128. I don’t especially enjoy watching movies depicting intimate love scenes.
  129. I have little to say about what my family does.
  130. Sexual enjoyment is God’s greatest gift to mankind.
  131. I want my wife/husband to feel that she/he is the most important person in my life.
  132. I have resentments which I have stored up and harbored for long periods.
  133. Although I am usually aware of my immediate response to a situation, I have little difficulty with impulsiveness.
  134. At times I enjoy a good argument.
  135. Most people are uninformed and need someone to tell them what to do.
  136. I will go out of my way to avoid causing a fight.
  137. When someone insults or hurts me, I think for hours about things I should have said or done to get even.
  138. I do not let interruptions in my schedule disorganize me so that I cannot finish my jobs.
  139. In meetings I feel I should have something to say about every issue.
  140. Frequently I feel frustrated because I cannot think of a way to get even with someone who deserves it.
  141. I have frequently found myself so overwhelmed by anger that I have thrown something or cursed.
  142. I enjoy seeing a shrewd lawyer change a jury’s mind.
  143. When I think how many stupid people are allowed to drive, I get angry.
  144. Doing things on the spur of the moment is just not characteristic of me.
  145. If I propose an idea or belief, I usually will push it until the majority of people accept it.
  146. If I were in the military, I would have some problems in accepting the discipline.
  147. I am not surprised when someone goes out of his way to please me or to help me.
  148. It makes me angry when others refuse to accept my good ideas.
  149. I am known to my friends as a man who exhibits self- discipline.
  150. It is impossible to expect that any group of thinking men could agree consistently.
  151. The best defense is a strong offense.
  152. I believe that I can stop myself from catching a cold.
  153. I really enjoy a good hot argument.
  154. I hate to talk to people who I know have talked badly about me in the past.
  155. I believe that if somebody studies hard enough, he or she can pass any subject.
  156. I admire the concept, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
  157. God made the world but He expects men to work out their own problems.
  158. Some people make me so angry I’d like to shout at them or slap their face.
  159. It makes me impatient to have people ask my advice or interrupt me when I am work­ing on something important.
  160. I frequently find myself daydreaming about ways to get back at people who have hurt me.
  161. l 6 l. I think most people mislead their friends just to gain sympathy and help.
  162. I can’t think of anyone I really hate.
  163. I have sometimes opposed people who were trying to do something not because of what they were doing but just to oppose them.
  164. If I am angry, I think it’s best to keep it to myself for several days.
  165. It takes a lot of argument to convince most people of the truth.
  166. If a credit card company doesn’t bill me, I simply figure that it’s their problem.
  167. I have used alcohol excessively.
  168. l68. When I lose money, I get so uncomfortable I can hardly think about anything else.
  169. It’s too bad so many people who haven’t worked for it have money and position.
  170. In the final analysis, pleasure is the main thing in life.
  171. I would prefer an easy comfortable life where I need to exert myself as little as possible to a life full of challenges and demands.
  172. I couldn’t care less what people think of me as long as I have plenty of money.
  173.  One of the things I would like to do is keep a well-stocked liquor collection.
  174. If I am given the wrong change by a clerk, I usually try to return the incorrect amount.
  175. I feel I sometimes misuse medicines I have been given.
  176. l76. I secretly dream of finding an envelope of money on the street.
  177. I prefer the company of people who drink very little or not at all.
  178. One of my major goals in life is to acquire enough money so I can be sure of a secure future.
  179. I frequently find I am jealous when I hear about friends who have made fantastic sav­ings on expensive items such as cars.
  180. I believe there is some truth in the old saying that you can “drown your sorrows” with alcohol.
  181. I enjoy telling my friends about tricking a salesman into making a good deal.
  182. At times I have so enjoyed the cleverness of a crook that I wished he would get away with it.
  183. I frequently use medication.
  184. I enjoy movies or stories about men who “beat the system” either by taking valuables or escaping the authorities.
  185. My will-power is strong when it comes to passing up food or drink.
  186. I would rather have a savings account of over $5,000 than to have close relationships with my friends.
  187. I worry over money and business.
  188. I find it difficult to share food or drink with others.
  189. My health is not good, and I frequently use medicines to keep going.
  190. I don’t enjoy conversations in which the faults or misdeeds of others are being dis­ cussed.
  191. The philosophy of looking out for yourself appeals to me.
  192. People who get all the breaks need to experience a few more troubles.
  193. I sometimes enjoy conversations in which the faults or misdeeds of others are being discussed.
  194. It would give me pleasure to be at a party where someone more popular than I am suffered embarrassment.
  195. I enjoy having friends come over for supper or an evening.
  196. God’s plan for mankind is still the best plan.
  197. I secretly feel good when I learn that someone I dislike has gotten into trouble.
  198. I support missionaries because I believe they are doing a necessary job
  199. Sometimes when others speak too highly of an acquaintance, I try to point out his de­ fects.
  200. My friends feel that I am optimistic about life.
  201. My meals are more enjoyable when I can feel free to eat as fast as I wish without wor­ rying about others at the table.
  202. The world is full of too many idealistic Pollyannas; life is hard.
  203. Frequently I find that I have eaten so much I just don’t feel like doing anything but lying around.
  204. When I get into a conversation, I am uncomfortable unless I get people to talk about subjects I know a great deal about.
  205. I wish I could get rid of the feeling of inferiority and resentment which the good for- tunes of others frequently arouse in me.
  206. Providing overnight lodging for my friends or even strangers does not bother me.
  207. I often think, “I wish I were a child again.”
  208. I don’t have problems saying no to my own desires over spending time with my family.
  209. People who seek their own self-interests before the needs of others probably have infe­riority feelings.
  210. I think most people exaggerate their misfortunes in order to gain the sympathy and help of others.
  211. Most people will use somewhat unfair means to gain profit or advantage rather than to lose it.
  212. Some people are just born lucky.
  213. I am against giving money to beggars.
  214. People often disappoint me.
  215. I have a good luck piece.
  216. I find it hard to make talk when I meet new people.
  217. I basically am a selfish person.
  218. My motto is “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
  219. I don’t believe in letting the “grass grow under my feet.”
  220. I believe that things will tum out as the Bible says.
  221. I feel good when I learn that someone I dislike has gotten into trouble.


Wichern, F. B. ( 1980). Spiritual Leadership Qualities Inventory Instruction Manual. Richard­ son, TX: Believer Renewal Resources.

Subsequent Research:

Campbell, C., Carr, S., & Parker, T. (1983). Factor analysis of the Spiritual Leadership Quali­ ties Inventory. Unpublished manuscript, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, OR.

Carr, S. A. (1987). A theoretical and empirical examination of the construct validity of the Spiri­ tual Leadership Qualities Inventory (Doctoral dissertation, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1987). Dissertation Abstracts International, 48, 37148.

Ewing, B., Parker, T., & Quinn, J. (1983). Cor­ relates of the Spiritual Leadership Qualities Inven­ tory, the Religious Orientation Scale, and the Spiri­ tual Well-Being Scale. Unpublished manuscript, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, OR.

Parker, T. G. (1984). An empirical examination of the construct validity of the Spiritual Leadership Qualities Inventory (Doctoral dissertation, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, I 984). Dissertation Abstracts International, 48, 37248.

Rockwood, J. T. (1986). The relationship of spiritual development to psychological develop­ ment based on family of origin theory (Doctoral dissertation, Texas Womens’ University, 1986). Dissertation Abstracts International, 47-10, 41328.


Bassett, R. L., Camplin, W., Humphrey, D., Door, C., Biggs, S., Distaffen, R., Doxtator, I., Fla­ herty, M., Hunsberger, P., Poage, R., & Thompson,

H. (1991). Measuring Christian maturity: A com­ parison of several scales. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 19(1), 84-93.

Greene, M. P. (1987). The relationship between faculty-led small groups and character development of seminarians in an evangelical seminary (Doc­ tpral dissertation, University of North Texas, I987). Dissertation Abstracts International, 48-04, 0890A.

Townsend, J. S., & Wichern, F. B. (1984). The development of the Spiritual Leadership Qualities Inventory. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 12(4), 305-313.

Wichern, F. B. (1980). Spiritual Leadership Qualities Inventory Instruction Manual. Richard­ son, TX: Believer Renewal Resources.