One of my seminary professors, Phil Douglas, is really into Myers-Briggs. I had never heard of this type of personality assessment before and was intrigued when we went through it in class. I came out as an ENFP and when I read the description, I realized that this was a fairly accurate and very helpful tool.
Fast forward three years, from my first year of seminary and in my final semester I have another class with Dr. Douglas where he states that not only do individuals have certain personality types, but also institutions. At first this was a little surprising but as I thought about our tendency to join together with people like ourselves, it made more sense. Dr. Douglas then began to talk about church’s having a primary personality that shapes many aspects of church life. Based on the personality of the pastor and other leadership, churches have a certain way of doing things and attract people with certain personalities and thus you have an institution with identifiable trends. He identified four major quadrants on this wheel and the characteristics of leaders and churches from this quadrant. And here is how it all relates. Dr. Douglas pointed at the “Intuiting” quadrant (south on a compass) and said “70% of our church planters come from this temperament category. And I thought, “Oh, that’s where I am. I wonder…”
While I realize personality tests have inherent limitations there is a lot of thought and research behind this wheel and the conclusions drawn from the data. Personally, it has been very helpful for me to reflect on who I am, by God’s wise providence, and how he wants me to serve him. As I’ve thought about the characteristics behind my label of “ENFP,” I see how it fits with starting a new church. Possibilities, risk, flexibility, people, vision, synthesis, and communication all energize me and make me want to step forward.
When Hillary and I were evaluating what to do next and considering where God was leading us, a friend asked, “Have you considered church planting?” I talked about my Myers Briggs and willingness to explore the possibility, and here we are.