The Church And The Enneagram

 

If you’ve hung out around the Church in the past year or so or if you’re a Christian Instagram user, you’ve probably heard of the Enneagram by now. For those of us who haven’t yet, the Enneagram is a personality type theory that argues nine different personality types exist in the world. The nine types are named according to their number within the sequential order from 1-9; however, their numbered name does not convey any variation in value throughout the order. Each type is equally important and unique, bringing with it, it’s own intensive catalogue of characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, basic desires and basic fears, and areas for growth. The personality types are,

Type 1 - Perfectionist

Type 2 - Helper

Type 3 - Achiever

Type 4 - Individualist

Type 5 - Investigator

Type 6 - Loyalist

Type 7 - Enthusiast

Type 8 - Challenger

Type 9 - Peacemaker

Here, the aim is not to dwell too much on what the Enneagram is, but rather, to consider why it’s an effective tool to implement within ministries and workplaces. For more reliable, legitimate resources on what the Enneagram is, visit the list below.

Identifying what type you are feels much like putting on a new pair of eyeglasses wherein suddenly, your perspective is much clearer. You’re better able to recognize why you do the things you do as it puts language to much of your intrinsic behaviour you’ve always felt but have never known that words for exist. Moreover, not only is the Enneagram is an effective tool for one’s personal reflection but likewise, for those around you. Functioning two-ways, the theory aids you in your understanding of the people surrounding you once knowing their Enneagram type and also aids those surrounding you when they know yours. It brings clarity to the awareness of why one is motivated the way they are, values the things they do, and how they expresses themselves. While some people argue that they feel as though the theory puts people “in a box,” contrarily, it liberates people from misunderstanding, inviting grace, empathy, and deeper appreciation for individuals in community while also allowing them to be known more fully by their peers. Thus, bringing the Enneagram as a tool to use within your workplace or on your church faculty increases the quality of communication among your team members. 

Communication on a team level is essential because it’s from here—in the conversations you take part in, the projects you work on internally, and the mission you agree to walk out together—that you speak to your audience whether it’s an entire church congregation, many church congregations, or a clientele. The way you behave inwardly shines through outwardly, so tools like the Enneagram that foster unity actually bring much more than immediately visible, positive impact on a minute level. 

In addition to the effect that such a tool can have on both micro- and macro-levels, the Enneagram brings clarity to one’s emotional intelligence in regards to their self-awareness and self-regulation, being fruitful too within their own relationship with Jesus and understanding of who they are as a child of God. It is in our comprehension of how and why we are knit the way we are that we can accept in fullness what it means for us and those around us to be God’s beloved. Therefore, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out the Enneagram. Bring it to those around you in your workplaces and spaces of everyday ministry. To identify one’s type, some resources will provide free online tests, some will pose that individuals need to read through each time and the one they feel most emotionally convicted about is the type that they are, and others offer Enneagram coaching in which you can go through this process of identifying and learning with a coach. Some resources to help you learn more in your Enneagram journey are The Enneagram Institute (online website), The Sacred Enneagram- Christopher L. Heuertz, The Road Back to You - Ian Morgan Cron & Susan Stabile, and the Enneagram podcast by musician, Sleeping At Last.