How Enneagram Affects Your Church’s Growth Potential
The success of a church is a burden carried on the shoulder of its leaders. However, a church’s leaders can only take it as far as their limitations allow. So, where do your limitations lie and could your enneagram personality type help or hurt you in your role as a church leader? This is a topic that’s long been explored.
What Is The Enneagram?
The enneagram was published in 1915. Philosopher George Gurdjieff later described nine personality types in the 1960s and associated them with the enneagram. In the decades since, the enneagram has been a thoughtful resource in everything from self-assessment to relationship counseling, and more.
Here’s a quick rundown of the nine personality types, according to the Enneagram Institute.
- Type one personalities are principled and purposeful. They have self-control and perfectionistic attributes.
- Type two personalities are generous and demonstrative. They aim to please others and can be possessive.
- Type three personalities are adaptable and typically excel. Although sometimes image-conscious, their drive is admirable.
- Type four personalities are expressive and dramatic. Showcasing self-absorbed behavior and a temperamental attitude are not uncommon.
- Type five personalities are perceptive and innovative. They’ll often isolate themselves and remain secretive.
- Type six personalities are engaging and responsible. They can be anxious and suspicious.
- Type seven personalities are spontaneous and versatile. They are acquisitive and can be scattered.
- Type eight personalities are self-confident and decisive. They are willful and can be confrontational at times.
- Type nine personalities are receptive and reassuring. They can be complacent and resigned.
If you’re reading through these personality types and wondering which one applies to you, it’s not a subjective assessment. Instead, you should opt for the official enneagram personality test, which will show you your three best matches based on your answers to a large set of questions. There are no right or wrong answers on the test, just ones that help reveal your true personality.
Will My Enneagram Type Impact My Ability to Lead?
If you’re worried that having a specific ennegram type will negatively impact your ability to lead, you need to shift your mindset. Identifying your enneagram type is not about determining whether or not you’re suited for leadership, but rather recognizing the limitations and challenges you may face so that you can overcome them.
Once you take the test and get your results, here’s how your personality type will enable and inhibit you in a leadership position at your church, with recommendations to help you grow through the challenges.
1. The Perfect Pastor
Type ones can be perfectionistic, which can lead to a perpetual list of to-dos. You want to do your best and give everything your all, but you must realize that perfection is unrealistic. Stop spending your evenings stapling agendas for your next meeting or getting the format just right. Prioritize your time and focus on putting your all into what really matters.
2. The Generous Pastor
Type twos can be very generous, which is a great thing when serving the Lord, as long as the generosity is appropriately controlled and directed. Work to strike a balance between what you feel, think, and do. Before you approach people to offer help, ask yourself questions to ensure they really need help, that you really have the capacity to help, and whether you expect appreciation or gratitude in return.
3. The Over-Performing Pastor
Being adaptable is a great thing, and so is wanting to excel at what you do. However, type three personality types often end up over-performing out of a desire to excel. It’s great that you can achieve your short- and long-term goals, but do you get caught up in the end result and lose sight of the spiritual side of things? Efficiency is wonderful, but we often call the Christian way of life a “long obedient journey in one direction.” Taking the fastest or most “optimal” route doesn’t always allow for the spiritual development of yourself or your congregants.
4. The Expressive Pastor
Type four personality types tend to be very empathetic, which makes you a wonderful person to turn to when a church member is going through a hard time. However, in order to really connect with you, you need to lighten up sometimes. Church leaders need to approachable, and your comfort with melancholy moods and pain may mean conversations with you aren’t as upbeat or enjoyable as your congregation desires on a day-to-day basis.
5. The Perceptive Pastor
Type fives tend to love research. They love have a deep understanding of the topics they talk about, and that means you’ve likely spent more time than anyone thumbing through the Bible and working to truly understand theology. You may approach church management with a similar commitment and desire for deep understanding. However, type fives can get a bit too caught up in the facts. You may find it easy to emotionally detach and that can make you less than approachable. Pastors need empathy to carry out their service with the community.
6. The Engaging Pastor
If you’re a type six, you are engaging to speak to and probably perceived as quite reliable by your congregants. You’re loyal to your mission, but you also recognize the reality that we live in a world filled with threats. Your anxiety may stand in the way of taking decisive action. When dealing with people, you may need to work on remaining present in the moment and focused on the “here and now.” You can’t always be thinking about tomorrow.
7. The Spontaneous Pastor
Type seven pastors are often very popular because congregations love the spontaneity and vibrancy that they bring to worship. You get excited for new ideas and you’re likely always introducing new concepts to your church. You can be creative in dealing with conflict, too, but may struggle to face things that can’t be solved within a “reasonable” amount of time. As a person, you focus on the happier half of life, but as a pastor, you need to learn to face sadness and tragedy.
8. The Confident Pastor
Confidence exudes from type eight individuals. On paper, it seems like they have all the perfect traits to make them ideal leaders. They’re decisive and take strategic action, and they know how to mobilize their people. The downside? Their passion often outpaces their explanations, which can leave those around them unsure of the path ahead. Take the time to understand the concerns and answer the questions of those around you to get confident buy-in.
9. The Peacemaking Pastor
Type nines are peacemakers through and through. They prefer to resolve conflict than to let it linger, and they don’t often make a strong stand. While it’s good to be able to put your own thoughts aside, as a leader, you need to learn how to take control and be more straight forward about your ideas and opinions. It’s a gift that you can merge others’ ideas, but focus on being confident about your own.
Interested in learning more about leading your church? Keep reading on the DonorWerx blog.