Monday, May 02, 2011

155. MBTI and Ministry Part 2

In the last post I pointed out my MBTI categories. I am particularly interested in how the categories of "J" and "P" play themselves out in apostolic people. We should first start out by recognizing that there are, according to Galatians 2, at leats two functions of apostolic ministry: Petrine and Pauline.

1.) The focus of Petrine apostolic ministry is more to the people of God, which entails engaging organizational and institutional contexts with a higher degree of regularity (and efficiency) than the Pauline. Petrine apostles find it more appealing to work with people who already have a good stock of religious capital.

2.) The focus of Pauline apostolic ministry is more to the "Gentile," or in other words, those who do not have much religious capital. Pauline apostles have an affinity for the wide open spaces of unsettled territory, more regularly AWAY from the center of the organization.

If we allow for this distinction, then the categories of "J" and "P" from MBTI may be helpful in deciphering ones orientation towards a Pauline or Petrine model of apostleship. 

The Role of "J' in apostolic ministry

If you are apostolic and happen to be a "J" on the MBTI, then this might be an indicator that you are more of a Petrine apostle than a Pauline.The J's love order, planning and structure. They plan their work and work their plan. They will be highly focused and driven to execute the strategy, ideally with little deviation till the plan has been accomplished. As such, they either tend to keep their attention focused straight ahead on the goal, or keep their heads down to ensure the plan is being executed. As a result, they sometimes steamroll right past people. They typically only see the end goal, not the people around them. If they do see people, it is as a means to an end. They are resources that help the "J" to get from point A to point B. The slide show on the previous post uses this diagram to illustrate the streamlined way in which J's approach tasks and deadlines.

This kind of approach makes Petrine apostles highly valuable to the organization. They are excellent at mobilizing people towards a specific goal and making sure the organization stays on track. Because they crave order and succinct game plans, they are most effective when they are in an environment that accommodates this disposition. The center of the organization, or a mobile organization, provides this environment for apostolic J's.

The role of P's in apostolic ministry

P's on the other hand, are another story.  They are perfectly at home in a more chaotic environment and minimal amounts of structure. They like to keep their options open and actually enjoy deviating from the plan. If you are apostolic and happen to be a P on the MBTI, you are most likely a Pauline type of apostle. You will crave the openness and possibilities of doing ministry where there are all kinds of contingencies, complexity and lack of organization. This does not mean that a P will not reach the deadline or that they will not achieve any sort of structure or bring order out of chaos. What it does mean is that they will take a different route to get there. Consider this diagram form the previous slide show.

While this kind of approach literally bugs the hell out of a "J", the "P" brings a certain advantage to projects that are being executed out and away from the more controlled environment of the organization. The "P" will more readily notice people and is often really good at noticing the person of peace. They have their eye on the developing patterns and opportunities around them. They are quite adaptive to changing circumstances. This is the kind of capacity one needs while working on the edge, away from the more predictable environment at the center of the organization. Apostles with a P are typically going to have a stronger gifting of evangelist mixed in somewhere in their APEST profile.

Finding the sweet spot between order and chaos is what both the J and P apostles bring to the table. they will both create what Dee Hock calls a chaordic environment. The only difference is, P's will more readily linger in the chaotic phase before they tighten the ropes and formulate some kind of order. The J's will bring a strong sense of order into the chaos a lot more quickly. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, depending on the environment. Either way, P's need J's to standardize their ministries for sustainability, while J's need P's to recognize the opportunities floating all around them.

None of this, of course, is intended to box people up. I think an introverted person could also be a P and still function primarily as a Petrine apostle. The introverted dynamic being the decisive factor that points them towards a more Petrine function. The only point I am making is that if you crave order and structure, you may be more aligned with a Petrine function than a Pauline function. It is something worth thinking about. If I am right, then the line between Pauline and Petrine is negotiated between the combination's of E and I, and P and J, with N being a constant throughout.

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