Personality Types, Spiritual Gifts, and Ministry

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My Vocation of Ministry seminary class homework has included taking various inventories – personality type, spiritual gifts, witnessing style, conflict management style, and more.  For years those of us in discipleship ministries have been using these type of inventories as a starting point for self-discovery, personal growth, and reflection on types of ministry people might be most suited for.  Please explore some of the links below for yourself and for those you spend time with!

Personality types – why we use them, testing website, and the four basics (because it’s easier to grasp than Myers-Briggs or the Enneagram, though I’m a fan of those too!)  personality-types-and-discipleship

Spiritual gifts – Spiritual Gift Assessment Tools

For a book and/or Bible study that covers both of the above, plus your heart passions, life experiences, and natural abilities, try SHAPE by Erik Rees of Saddleback Church.  SHAPE

And for fun, here is one I had not seen before:  Witnessing Style Inventory – though we are all called to share the gospel, our preferred manner to do so varies. Witnessing Style Inventory

Do you have a particular tool you love to use?  Tell us about it and send a link!

Personality Types and Discipleship

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Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, Phlegmatic.  Or, said differently – Golden Retriever, Lion, Beaver, Otter.  Personality types!  Do you know which one you are?

I am a fan of using personality type testing in discipleship relationships, including small groups, marriage and family counseling, ministry teams, and many other settings.  Here’s why:

  • First, it’s fun!  Women love answering little quizzes about themselves and discovering what the results say.  I don’t know if men derive the same joy or not…
  • They don’t take very long.  In less than fifteen minutes you can have a reasonably accurate picture of how you’re wired.
  • The joy of discovery.  I continue to be amazed at how significant a type profile can be.  The first time I read through my type description I was excited – I felt like finally someone understood how I was thinking.  I was also comforted – I am not the only person in the world who thinks this way.  And I was humbled – because the profile was so accurate in revealing my strengths and also my weaknesses.
  • It gives us a vocabulary.  We need words and a framework for explaining ourselves… and also for understanding others.
  • We learn that different is not bad, it’s just different.  This is really helpful in marriage.  Just because he thinks differently, acts differently, and sees the world differently than me does not mean he is wrong!  He is just wired differently.  And, bonus round, I can learn from him.
  • We can think constructively about our strengths.  We are wired to do certain things well, without a whole lot of effort.  Knowing our strengths should help us make decisions about our role in ministry, service, organizations, teams, and even within the family.
  • We can be intentional about tackling our weaknesses.  While we may be “wired that way”, we do not have to throw our hands in the air and loudly proclaim “I’ll always be that way!”  Rather, our weaknesses are specific areas where we have the opportunity to grow and overcome challenges with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Our weaknesses are rather like a To Do List for spiritual growth.

During our premarital counseling I think my husband and I took every type test known to man – Myers Briggs, Firo B, Taylor Johnson, DISC, and more.  Fifteen years of marriage later I will tell you that the type testing was invaluable – for our understanding of ourselves, each other, the vocabulary, and our strengths and weaknesses.   It’s also why we continue to encourage personality type testing in discipleship.  Yes, it’s a secular tool, but a valuable one!

Tests and resources are available on my Resources page https://mindyclemons.com/resources/

Take the test electronically here http://www.gotoquiz.com/personality_plus_1

Several authors have written extensively about personality types – Tim and Beverly LaHaye (“New Spirit Controlled Woman”), Florence Littauer (“Personality Plus”), and Gary Smalley (types and marriage).WiredThatWay

We have chosen to read Dr. Marita Littauer’s new book “Wired That Way” because it is gender neutral, includes the four main types and the 16 blended types, is very practically focused, and is explicitly Christian.

Have your used or benefitted from personality type testing in ministry?  Tell us about it!

What’s Your Type?

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A simple question:

You are almost never late for your appointments
YES                          NO

A question that reveals a great deal about you and how you relate to the world and others!  Marry someone, work with someone, or parent someone with a different personality type – a different take on the world – and the simple things can be so frustrating!

We first encountered Myers-Briggs and other personality tests in our premarital counselling.  I have continued to use temperament testing in ministry and work settings (and refer to it on our marriage) because so much about us is revealed in a few short questions.

What are you great at?  What do you do naturally that others struggle to achieve?  What environment will drive you crazy?  What are your areas of weakness in relationships and life?  How can you best go about maximizing your strengths and moderating (or fixing!) your weaknesses?

You can take a simple, free test in about 3 minutes here.

Then go to www.personalitypage.com and type in your letters.

If you want a more in-depth look, I would recommend the book Please Understand Me by David Kiersey.

There is also another, non-Myers-Briggs temperament testing system that uses the categories Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Melancholy.  Beverly LaHaye wrote The New Spirit Controlled Woman, a Christian book using these temperament types to look at types, marriage, communication styles, anger & depression (most of us struggle with one or the other!), and ministry roles.  Those are also great tools!ESTJ

So me?  I am an ESTJ – the Organizer and Administrator.  I am 80% Choleric and 20% Sanguine, just so we don’t forget to have some fun while we are out conquering and organizing the world!

How about you? Have you ever used temperament testing in ministry or your marriage?

* Special thanks to Tom Fuerst at http://thefuerstshallbelast.wordpress.com/ for bringing up temperaments and reminding me about this ministry tool we often overlook!

** I’ll put the link my Resources page so you can find it later.