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 idea...so 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.

5 comments:

Ben Sternke said...

Dude, this was so helpful for me. Thanks for posting these thoughts!

Anndy Hayball said...

I really resonate with this analysis...thanks for posting!

Jamie Nuckols said...

Loved these thoughts - keep them coming! As a more Petrine apostolic who is currently moving toward the Edge I wholeheartedly agree with the need for each group to move toward their "event horizon."

Todd Nuckols said...

Should you try to find your apostolic counterpart and help each other at the horizon?

Planter said...

Todd, I think we definitely need to create environments where apostolic folks get together and sharpen each other up from a Petrine and Pauline stand point. I have been receiving some good insights and training from the 3DM folks, who come across to me as being predominantly Petrine in their vibe and function. I am Pauline, so I stood to receive form them in areas of organization and operationalizing what we are doing. We need a greater level of sustainability to what we are doing, and it was right on time to drink form a Petrine fountain.