pencilsFollowing on from yesterday’s post on the isolation of the ‘frozen chosen’, churchgoers who feel left out in extroverted worship might be interested in taking a Jungian personality test which will give them a result similar to the Myers-Briggs test.

The Jungian Typology Test results give a four-letter personality designation according to Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’s typology. The test from HumanMetrics is comprised of 72 Yes / No questions and takes about 10 or 15 minutes to complete online.

Upon completion, the user obtains their four-letter personality designation — the score — by providing age and gender.

Whilst this is a secular test, a churchgoer can use it to assess privately why certain styles of worship and activities suit him better than others.

There are reasons why we feel isolated at church. Certain extroverts might find sombre worship boring. Some introverts might run a mile from a service which includes introducing ourselves to one another at the pastor’s instruction. The extrovert often prefers a more interactive service. The introvert likes one which is structured and traditional.

Today’s style of worship often tilts in the extrovert’s favour. Church imitates the world in this respect. Those who are outgoing will find this a welcome approach.

The introvert, on the other hand, is less fortunate. Clergy, from what I have seen here in the Church of England, do not like when members of the congregation withdraw from certain aspects of the service or parish activities. Sometimes clergy make a general comment during the service — ‘Only man can give peace’ (patently false, only God can) — or give the offending person the evil eye afterward in the post-service handshake on the way out the door.

The introvert goes home questioning what happened. Why can’t he/she just be left alone? Why do the clergy consider introversion as a betrayal of the church?

This is why discovering where we land on the 16-personality type scale is so important if we are to feel affirmed and comfortable in our congregations.

For anyone who has been told they are aloof, withdrawn and asked what is ailing them — all three of which are often levelled at introverts — the Jungian Typology Test is invaluable.

Personality types

There are 16 Jungian-Myers-Briggs personality designations.

Carl Jung described his typology in Psychological Types. Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers read Jung’s descriptions in 1923 and went on to develop his ideas further. Their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument — a more extensive test administered by the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT®) — helps individuals and organisations around the world gain a better insight into the contributions people can make in their own way in groups and at home.

The test, as well as the aforementioned Jungian Typology Test, looks at the following four opposing categories:

Introversion (I) versus Extroversion (E): Are we more comfortable alone or in others’ company?

Intuition (I) versus Sensing (S): Do we rely on the information given or do we add interpretation and meaning to it?

Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F): Do we rely more on facts or on feelings when assessing a situation?

Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P): Do we wish to arrive at a firm decision or keep things open-ended?

There are no right or wrong answers, however, we can find out where and how we are best placed to work and serve. This includes the church.

An example

I am borderline INTJ/ISTJ, with 1% difference between ‘N’ and ‘S’. I am 56% introverted.

This is what my personality types denote.

First, there is the difference between intuition and sensing, which is different to feeling (another personality grouping):

Sensing (S)

Paying attention to physical reality, what I see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. I’m concerned with what is actual, present, current, and real. I notice facts and I remember details that are important to me. I like to see the practical use of things and learn best when I see how to use what I’m learning. Experience speaks to me louder than words.

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I remember events as snapshots of what actually happened.
  • I solve problems by working through facts until I understand the problem.
  • I am pragmatic and look to the “bottom line.”
  • I start with facts and then form a big picture.
  • I trust experience first and trust words and symbols less.
  • Sometimes I pay so much attention to facts, either present or past, that I miss new possibilities.

Intuition (N)

Paying the most attention to impressions or the meaning and patterns of the information I get. I would rather learn by thinking a problem through than by hands-on experience. I’m interested in new things and what might be possible, so that I think more about the future than the past. I like to work with symbols or abstract theories, even if I don’t know how I will use them. I remember events more as an impression of what it was like than as actual facts or details of what happened.

The following statements generally apply to me:

  • I remember events by what I read “between the lines” about their meaning.
  • I solve problems by leaping between different ideas and possibilities.
  • I am interested in doing things that are new and different.
  • I like to see the big picture, then to find out the facts.
  • I trust impressions, symbols, and metaphors more than what I actually experienced
  • Sometimes I think so much about new possibilities that I never look at how to make them a reality.

Now to a description of my personality types:

ISTJ

Quiet, serious, earn success by thoroughness and dependability. Practical, matter-of-fact, realistic, and responsible. Decide logically what should be done and work toward it steadily, regardless of distractions. Take pleasure in making everything orderly and organized – their work, their home, their life. Value traditions and loyalty.

INTJ

Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others.

There are very few INTJs in the world. In the United States, they make up between 2% and 4% of the population.

ISTJs comprise a greater percentage: 11% to 14%.

Therefore, even those of us who test in a smaller category — including certain extrovert types (e.g. ENTP)  — can feel reassured that we have our role to play at work, at home and at church.

Implications for churches

Everyone should be made welcome at church, regardless of our personality types.

Congregations have both extroverts and introverts. Each group and subgroup can play a part of church life — or not.

Whilst extroverts are increasingly valued for their fellowship style and participation rate, introverts can also be helpful to the congregation. Introverts are happy working behind the scenes; archiving church records, setting up rooms for church events and restoration committee work come to mind.

On an interpersonal level, introverts make good listeners. They can gently befriend a newcomer or someone who has a story to tell.

It would be helpful if clergy and lay leaders were to make introverts more welcome and accept their quiet calm. This used to be the case. It no longer is.

More tomorrow about the difficulties introverts — the ‘frozen chosen’ — experience in their congregations.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your personality type below. I would enjoy hearing from you!

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