Saturday, July 30, 2011

167. MBTI and Evangelistic Ministry

Looking into how MBTI intersects with the fivefold ministry from Ephesians four has been a cchallenging, but very enjoyable task. I typically focus my thoughts around the apostolic, but I thought I would venture into the field of evangelistic ministry on this one.

I stumbled across a really cool slide presentation on slideshare about MBTI, but at the end it branched off into how J's and P's go about doing sales, and specifically, how J's and P's interact with each other.

Although I cringe at the thought of equating evangelism with salesmanship, in a sense, evangelists are viral type people who promote (ESFP) champion (ENFP) and actively seek out opportunities (ESTP) to share the the story of the gospel. Its just to say that P's are really good at noticing what is going on around them, and if you are an extrovert, this often includes people (especially if there is some Feeling function mixed in, ESTP's can be quite confrontational in their approach to evangelism.)

So where do J's fit in to evangelism. Well, I am a big believer that we have the capacity to function in all five of the APEST ministries, but with varying degrees of effectiveness. As the text says, we have varying measures of grace given to us by Christ. So while J's are typically not gung-ho about the evangelism piece, they can still operate, mature and excel in being evangelistic if they are allowed to spend some time learning and being trained by another evangelist.

So what can happen when a P ends up trying to evangelize a J person? How does the J person tend to react to an evangelist who is a P??? Also, how would a P person respond to a J's approach to sharing Jesus with them? Well, I ran across this really cool concept in this slideshow from It presents us with a possible matrix of how to understand the interactions between J's and P's in the context of presenting new ideas and eventually asking for a response to pursue and apply those new ideas. They of course were referring to sales people and their tactics, but there is something we can glean from this if we look hard enough. So I extrapolated this matrix to help us arrange our thoughts on a few pitfalls that J and P evangelists should be aware of when working with other J and P persons.

It is obvious from looking at this that even when dealing with some one who shares your own type, whether it is J or P, that there are still relational challenges to navigate. So here are a few tips for the J and P evangelists working with their opposites. .

Advice J Evangelists when working with P's:
Realize that P's tend to want to see things from multiple perspectives before making a decision. This means they may want to have conversations that, to you, seem like repetitive, but in their mind they are highly nuanced and effect the over a picture. If they are Extroverts, the P's will want to process things outloud and explore all the options before arriving at a resting pace. If they are introverts, the P's will be thinking about alot of options, but may not necessarily let you know what angle they are coming from. This means you will have to ask a lot of questions and burrow down into their thought process to find out exactly where they are coming form and what it is that they are actually trying to say. So three things for J's to remember when working with P's are:


Advice for P Evangelists when working with J's:
Don't overload a J with too much information. You want to keep it simple and keep it to the point. You might like rabbit trails, but J's like paved roads with clear signs and up front destinations. Also, just because making decisions spoils the fun for you, does not mean it is a party pooper for them. Since you are good at noticing people and observing what is up with them, do not be afraid to ask direct questions about your previous conversations and how they have processed it, or if they have come to any landing points on those issues. If they are introverts, then as an extrovert, you may naturally annoy them with a lot of talking, so resist the urge to fill in the "down time" in the conversation. Silence and quiet is o.k. If they are extroverts, they will probably not have much patience with unrelated information or beating around the bush. So three things for P's to remember when working with J's are:



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

166. MBTI and Apostolic Ministry Part One

THis is the first of a series of blogs on MBTI and apostolic ministry. (Part Two Here.) As I plow through more reading material on MBTI, I am continuously filtering it through the concept of apostolic ministry. I alluded in an earlier post how the Judging and Perceiving functions may work themselves out in the Pauline and Petrine forms of apostolic ministry. I had another epiphany today about this same here tis.

If we see things from the angle of the Center and the Edge, Petrine apostles help mobilize the people of God at the Center to move towards the Edge of the organization, and into the surrounding jungle of cultural pockets in their cities, regions etc. My contention is that Petrine apostles are typically J's, (but they can also be P's if they are introverts. The introverted side keeps them from being very effective in the Pauline mode of apostleship that typically requires higher levels of evangelism i.e. working with people...something introverts don't get really excited about.) As J's, they like to bring order out of chaos. They thrive on structure and are great at developing processes, something organizations need and utilize for efficiency. So if Petrine apostles are typically J's, then the trajectory of their ministry would look something like this...

Here is the catch though, J's do not thrive on chaos and typically keep their head straight when it comes to reaching their plans. If Petrine apostles are typically ENTJ's, INTP's or INTJ's, then their intuitive function raises their eyes up, but they typically do not look side to side to notice all that is around them. They look up and straight ahead, but not side to side. So at some point, in mobilizing people from the center towards the edge, Petrine apostles will approach what I call the "chaos event horizon" where order begins to blend into chaos. If they, as leaders, keep going towards the Edge, they will be engulfed by what seems like needless and pointless disorganization. They will move from "the edge of chaos" to, what seems like to them, chaos itself. This is where the Petrine apostle reaches their limits and essentially begins to pull back to the Center. The important contribution of Petrine apostles is that while they seldom move into the Edge themselves, they essentially mobilize the "P's" around them to make that journey themselves. In fact, it is the Petrine apostles who typically develop processes and tools to bring order out of chaos, something the Pauline apostles need to carry with them into the Edge if they are to keep the frontiers they penetrate.

Lack of structure and disorganization are endemic to the Edge. The Edge is where diversity reigns, and J's can tolerate it it for a while, but eventually they will try to bring order to it. This can definitely be a good thing, but if they are not careful, the J's will end up doing this too soon, and possibly end up replicating the Center at the Edge, a no-no when it comes to incarnational ministry.

Pauline apostles, on the other hand, typically work form the Edge towards the Center. That is, they have a different starting place. They start communities form scratch at the Edge and help them develop mission-incarnational rhythms: forms of structure that will aid in the sustainability of the new venture. Pauline apostles are typically P's as it takes a certain ambiguity tolerance and affinity for chaos to do work at the Edge. The Edge is not so predictable and typically requires periods of chaos and disorder to find the sweet spot. As P's, they thrive on flexibility and spontaneity.

However, just like the Petrine apostles, Pauline apostles will hit a similar event horizon, but from a different side of the coin. At some point, Pauline apostles will hit what I call "the edge of order event horizon" where the venture begins to take on greater levels of organization, structure and predictability. All of this is necessary, to a degree, but when it happens, the Pauline apostle, in their typical "Perceiving" function, begin to get flustered and claustrophobic as the venture begins to develop a more Center-like quality and feel to it. That is, they will eventually have an allergic reaction to the structure, routine and predictability that all new ventures have to develop if they are to achieve a significant degree of sustainability. They can tolerate it for a while, but eventually they will become antagonistic to it, and begin to look for another Edge to inhabit. The Pauline trajectory of ministry looks something like this...

This event horizon exists somewhere in no-mans land between the Edge and the Center. It is different for every apostle depending on the intensity of their MBTI categories of "J" and "P." The important thing to remember is that both forms of apostolic ministry need to venture towards the event horizon where their leadership capacities are stretched and they are forced to develop that side of their personality and ministry calling that they are not exactly fond of. Petrine apostles need to surf the edge of chaos and mobilize the apostles prophets and evangelists to move ever closer to the Edge, even if that means they themselves end up staying behind to missionalize the Center. Pauline apostles need to develop their new ventures towards the edge of order where the new group of people can find a healthy balance between being organized and organic, structured and spontaneous. This is a real challenge for P's, but the sustainability of the new community depends on it.

So really, what needs to happen in both forms of apostolic ministry, is a journey towards the event horizon where both kinds of apostles begin to function outside of their preferred environment. This is, after all, what facilitates growth and maturity. In short, they both need to surf the edge of their respective domains, and learn to inhabit that event horizon where they feel like they are about to go over the edge and lose it.

So even those who have the most affinity for the Edge have to negotiate the difficulty of an Edge in their own personality, something that should keep apostolic people humble in relation to those who do not have an affinity for the Edge, namely the Shepherds and Teachers.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

165. Missional-Incarnational Rhythms

Moving into this new neighborhood has heightened our awareness of the need for process, design and intentional rhythms for living in relationship to God, our Christian family, and the local community (UP, IN, OUT). It takes some real intentionality to actually focus and invest time in all three of these relationships. We typically gravitate towards 2 out of the three, sometimes only one, making us imbalanced for missional impact.

Our missional community core team is largely a group of P's on the Meyers Briggs, so we tend to struggle on following through and executing our plans. We can do a great job at planning our work, but not so good on working the plan. So we face a dilemma going into this. We love the spontaneity and flexibility. Organic is our middle name. This makes us really adaptable and accommodating when dealing with life and its disappointments, but it does not help us out very much when it comes to seeing things through for the long haul. Said shortly, we are easily distracted.

So as I thought about this inherent strength/weakness dichotomy of P and J within our group, I asked myself the question: What is going to help us skirt the dark side of our P culture and balance it out with some J???? Well, I came up with a really profound solution. Are you ready??? here it is....


Yep, that's right! We have developed a plan that we as a group will be holding ourselves accountable to. All of the group will be adjusting their schedules to live into a rhythm of life where we, as a group, live into balanced relationships focused on UP, IN, and OUT. Here is the Calendar for our monthly rhythm.

Here is a breakdown of the rhythm:

1. Group Time: This is our personal space where groups of 12 or smaller join up to be a spiritual family. People will grow closer, share life and work through challenges.
2. Network Gathering: This is a social space where groups of 20-70 (several Group Time units) come together once a month for celebration and vision-izing. Over t6ime it will morph into public space, 70-200 people.
3. Meal & Huddle: This is a personal space where those who are leading in this missional community will come together, at least twice a month, to be discipled through life-shapes and do strategic reflection and planning.
3. Meal & Rec: The missonal community comes together to eat and just hang whatever.This will start off as a personal space (6-12 people) for those in the missional community, but it will morph into a social space over time for anyone to hang out.
4. Meal & Party: This will be social space to PARTY!!!!
5. Prayer: This will be personal or social space where we seek God in prayer through creative means.

It should be noted that this is a rhythm for a group, not individuals. You will notice we only have two designated OUT activities. Because we are living in the same neighborhood with each other, OUT will also take place on a two by two, or individual basis through out each week. Each individual on the leadership team will develop an individual weekly rhythm of UP, IN, and OUT to help us stay on track as disciples. So for example, each of us will have a 3rd place in the neighborhood that we will frequent on roughly the same day and time each week. My designated 3rd place is the community center where I will be going to open gym, schooling some folks in basketball :-) and looking for the person of peace.

You will also notice that there is plenty of space for new discipling groups to be started. Because we live in the same neighborhood, hanging out will be a lot less time consuming and require a lot less organizing. This monthly rhythm would probably be too busy for people who live across town from each other or who have little shared space during the week. This level of weekly interaction can only happen when space and time are not an issue. Living in proximity affords us with this level of interaction.

Having a plan and holding ourselves accountable to that plan is going to provide the needed balance we need for follow through and consistency. We are, as stated before in a previous post, going to "open up a can of J" in our lives so we can see a greater degree of sustainability in our relationships and missional ventures.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

164. Missional Liturgy: a prayer of dedication for our new neighborhood

We went prayer walking today with the apostolic band of folks who are moving into the new neighborhood with us. Before we started the prayer walk, my wife Tiffany (who is a prophet-shepherd according to APEST from Ephesians 4) read off a prayer that she crafted as a result of her reflections on the portion of scripture in the Chronicles where Solomon dedicates the Temple.

As she read it, I couldn't help but think about how this is the kind of thing that traditional liturgies aim to create, but ultimately fall short in because they are detached from mission and active engagement with what God is up to in the present. If a prayer, crafted out of deep reflection on God's nature and what he has been doing at the edge, away from the center of our organizations is what liturgy is all about, sign me up.

This is the prayer she read:

Neighborhood Prayer of Dedication

God, our Father in heaven, how awesome You are
So big and beautiful and bright.
Your love reaches into the deepest parts of us and fills us.
Oh Father, let us be a reflection of Your glory.
We give ourselves and this neighborhood to You
That Your will may be done
And that Your kingdom may come.
Let Your mighty power and love take us over.
Father, be the light to our path
Be our strength in weakness
Go before us in battle.

We give this neighborhood to You
We give this mission to You
Take it and have Your way.

Monday, July 04, 2011

163. The Atonement and Evangelism

 Me and my wife, along with another couple are moving into a new neighborhood across town to plant the gospel in that area. This is a move from the edge of town back to the center of town for us. Needless to say, there is a different culture, socio-economic people group with their own rhythm of life.

Moving into another cultural environment has reminded me once again that speaking about the gospel in meaningful ways requires two things. First, I need to be familiar with the multiple images and metaphors of the atonement. Typically, in the evangelical setting, we have majored on the penal substitution model of atonement, to the neglect of the other images and motifs contained within scripture. i.e Christus Victor, Recapitulation, etc. Second, I need to be familiar with the ways this particular culture experiences sin and the fall in both personal and systemic ways. Anytime you try to do cross-cultural evangelism (apostolic ministry to a degree), you should immediately ask yourself this question: What image or metaphor of the atonement will resonate most effectively with this person or people group? This may sound like splitting hairs, but it is worth a second look.

This article by Mark Baker illustrates how the image of the penal substitution model has co-opted the other images and supplanted the foundational narrative narrative, making itself the only image through which the other images are interpreted.

I will briefly quote it here:

"A number of factors may contribute to an articulation of the gospel that hinders understanding or connection. One contributing factor is viewing the penal substitution model of atonement as being the one and only explanation of how the cross provides salvation. In the New Testament, legal language of justification is one of a number of images used to proclaim the saving significance of Jesus‘ life, death and resurrection. Yet this one image has, in the form of penal substitution theory, become for many the foundational narrative of how the cross saves. When someone only has this one tool in their gospel toolbox it leads to situations like those we have just observed.

New Testament writers use a variety of images and motifs to proclaim the saving significance of the cross and resurrection, including: redemption, reconciliation, victory/triumph, justification, sacrifice, and ransom. They use different images for differing pastoral situations and for different audiences or contexts. Also, however, they use a diversity of images because no one image can capture the full meaning of the cross.


A foundational story is broader and deeper than an image. The various images, represented by arrows in the diagram, build off of, or find a place within the foundational story of how the cross and resurrection provide salvation. In essence, however, the penal substitution theory has taken
one image and sought to make it the foundational story. It is like taking one of the arrows from
the diagram above and turning it sideways as if it was foundational as in the diagram below.

It will not have the breadth to provide space for all the images. Although there will be room for
the sideways arrow to support a few other images, they will end up communicating something
very similar to the image used as foundation. One image does not have the depth of a true
foundational narrative to support diverse imagery. No foundational narrative of atonement can
fully capture the depth of the cross, but, in terms of the toolbox metaphor, we should work to
have a foundation, or toolbox, that will provide us with a rich variety of images, or tools, we can
use in evangelism."

I think Mark Baker is spot on here. He is not saying to get rid of the penal substitution model, he is merely trying to locate it within its proper environment, among other images, metaphors and motifs of scripture. This is something I will be keeping in mind as we begin to listen for the next six months on what aspects of sin and the fall are most clearly pressing in on this neighborhood and the peoples lives in it.

If the problem always defines the solution, then becoming intimately familiar with how sin is finding expression in a particular person or culture is a good indicator as to what model of the atonement will most easily connect with their experience. It is not to say you wont reference or utilize the other models of the atonement at some point in the process. Everyone stands to be enriched by a full exposure to the ways in which the gospel saves, and atones. The question is, which one will you lead in with??? Part of doing apostolic ministry is seeding the gospel into different cultures and people groups. In order to do this effectively, you have to be like Paul in Athens and let their culture provide the initial entry point and starting place to speak about the "unknown God."

Friday, July 01, 2011

162. MBTI and Organizational Cultures Part 4

Continuing this discussion on MBTI, I would like to make some application to our current community here. One of the books I have run across, that has been extremely helpful in diagnosing the MBTI personality traits of our church has been Companies are People Too (CAP2).

This book basically gives you a brief questionnaire to help you diagnose the "personality type" of your organization and then goes through that types strengths and weaknesses/areas to grow.

From what I can discern, Ikon is an ISFP as a whole. This does not mean we have all ISFP's in our community, it just means that our community, as a whole, tends to look inward and be communal, it notices and focuses on our immediate environment, makes our decisions based on how it will effect other people in the community, and has a certain allergic reaction to structure and organization. Essentially, we are organized chaos, with an emphasis on chaos.

The book has various companies in the biz world that they use as examples to say, your organization functions a lot like, say, IBM, or a community center, or accounting firm etc. Oddly enough, they say in all their research they have not found one single company that aligned or tested out as an ISFP!!!! They actually say in the book "You should be excited, and worried that you are so unique."

I immediately started to wonder what was up with our community!!!! Well, here's whats up. We are unique, and we should celebrate our strengths. However, we do need to own up to the challenges that come along with being an ISFP. For one, as an Introverted organization, we tend to struggle to focus our energies and attention outside of the community on a consistent basis. As most introverts will say, its not hat I don't like people, I just need some time to myself to refuel and recharge.

The Sensing factor means we pay attention to detail and notice our immediate environment. This can translate into efficiency in the here and now, but it does not take into account the big picture. We need the Intuitive factor to generate vision for the future.

The Feeling function means we make decisions based on our values and how it will effect other people. This ensures a pastoral, even prophetic (which is the majority of primary and secondary giftings in our community) impulse is strong in our community, but it also means that we veer away from pressing forward with tough decisions, especially when those decisions make others feel uncomfortable. The Feeling function needs the Thinking function to ensure holistic decisions are being made. 

The perceiving function allows us to be comfortable with chaotic environments, a lack of planning and structure. This can be a real asset when it comes to being adaptive to changing environments, but it poses quite a challenge when it comes to making progress and reaching the finish line on on things we start or "perceive" that need to be addressed. Perceivers' can be highly creative, but easily distracted. Basically, they like things to remain open ended. We need the Judging function to help us craft a plan and bring it to completion. This, if I am honest, has been one of the things that has been the biggest challenges for us as a community. We basically need to open up a can of "J" in our community and bring higher levels of organization to what we are doing.

A word of caution is due here about MBTI and personality types for organizations. Just like on the individual level, MBTI is not determinative. It only reveals preferences. It does not mean a "Feeler" can't function as a "Thinker." Likewise,  a "Perceiver" can operate in a "Judging" manner, they just wont be as efficient or find as much satisfaction in doing it. This non-determinative nature of MBTI is amplified when you go to the organizational level. If the character of an organization happens to be ISFP, they are not doomed to have an ISFP culture. They can activate and design their organization in ways that point them to their auxiliary functions, which means an ISFP can develop practices and habits that live more fully into their extroverted potentials. We are not asking people in the organization to be something they are not, we are just asking them to get out of their comfort zones and engage in things that stretch them and push them to mature into the undeveloped areas of their personalities and preferences.

If you are involved in leading a community whose organizational personality is prone to be more pastoral and prophetic, and not externally focused on evangelism and mission, then you basically find yourself in the role of what I have previously discussed as a Bricoleur.