I am a great advocate of self awareness. On the path to self awareness, I believe that personality profiles are great aids – they may create small boxes of personality types, but they provide windows of understanding into oneself and others.
I prefer to use the Enneagram as a profiling tool. I also like DISC and Meyers Briggs (MBTI). On a recent weekend youth camp, I tried to help the young people work out their MBTI type. Use this website to do an online test. You can see an overview of the MBTI profile here or here.
I then talked about spiritual disciplines – see a great website on this here.
Finally, I helped them to link their MBTI types to the type of spiritual disciplines and activities that would help them take their next steps with God.
For more info on your MBTI type, go to this website, and click on the icons at the top to look at careers, relationships and more.
Here is a summary of what I told them. You are free to use this as you wish – please just reference back to myself and this website:
Popular and sensitive, with outstanding people skills. Externally focused, with real concern for how others think and feel. Usually dislike being alone. They see everything from the human angle, and dislike impersonal analysis. Very effective at managing people issues, and leading group discussions. Interested in serving others, and probably place the needs of others over their own needs.
Study, Confession, Service, Worship, Guidance
- Reflect on what it means to be part of the body of Christ – His family
- Testimonies work well for you
- Get involved in other people’s lives
- Need time for reflection
- You like structure and discipline
Quietly forceful, original, and sensitive. Tend to stick to things until they are done. Extremely intuitive about people, and concerned for their feelings. Well-developed value systems which they strictly adhere to. Well-respected for their perseverance in doing the right thing. Likely to be individualistic, rather than leading or following.
Fasting, Prayer, Simplicity, Worship
- Prayer is important – it connects you to eternity
- You long for depth and meaning in the now – so pray in everyday things
- A mystical approach might be helpful
- Yours is a difficult path. Structure and order will help you, but you have a desire for something transcendent that will only be fulfilled when you feel you have found your own unique path. Keep searching. God does still speak to His children.
- Try sharing your experiences with others
Enthusiastic, idealistic, and creative. Able to do almost anything that interests them. Great people skills. Need to live life in accordance with their inner values. Excited by new ideas, but bored with details. Open-minded and flexible, with a broad range of interests and abilities.
Study, Submission, Celebration, Worship
- Enjoy being “like a child”, feeling special to God.
- Need creative outlets, where you can do new things.
- You don’t really like the “rules” that are in place at most churches. Be careful of doing something silly just to prove a point.
- Try service to others – where you can stretch yourself.
- Need time to reflect.
Quiet, reflective, and idealistic. Interested in serving humanity. Well-developed value system, which they strive to live in accordance with. Extremely loyal. Adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value is threatened. Usually talented writers. Mentally quick, and able to see possibilities. Interested in understanding and helping people.
Meditation, Study, Solitude, Guidance
- You get really inspired when you think about what you could do for God if you grew spiritually
- You appear laid back to others, but don’t fool yourself – you know you’ll grow best when you have order and discipline
- You will do well with notes and spiritual growth tools that provide gradual progression
- Get guidance
- At the end of each day, look back at your activities and reflect on their spiritual dimension
Assertive and outspoken – they are driven to lead. Excellent ability to understand difficult organizational problems and create solid solutions. Intelligent and well-informed, they usually excel at public speaking. They value knowledge and competence, and usually have little patience with inefficiency or disorganization.
Prayer, Service, Worship
- You need depth, and need to engage in deep study, with order and discipline
- You need time to reflect and think
- You would get great benefit from formal theological studies
- You will be thinking for your whole life. You like to reach conclusions, then challenge yourself to rethink them and start all over again. Enjoy it!
- But your thoughts must lead to real actions and implications. You don’t like dreamers.
- You find it hardest to accept things by faith.
- Review your progress regularly.
Independent, original, analytical, and determined. Have an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans of action. Highly value knowledge, competence, and structure. Driven to derive meaning from their visions. Long-range thinkers. Have very high standards for their performance, and the performance of others. Natural leaders, but will follow if they trust existing leaders.
Fasting, Meditation, Solitude, Guidance
- Focus on poetry, beauty, free verse.
- Don’t get stuck in a routine. You will grow best in an unstructured way.
- Prayer is hardest for you. Don’t be discouraged by this. Remember that silence and waiting are also prayer. Pray “in the moment”.
- Take 10 minutes every day to be silent and “wait on God”.
- You will never have everything sorted out in your head. Stop thinking you will, and enjoy the journey of discovery.
Creative, resourceful, and intellectually quick. Good at a broad range of things. Enjoy debating issues, and may be into “one-up-manship”. They get very excited about new ideas and projects, but may neglect the more routine aspects of life. Generally outspoken and assertive. They enjoy people and are stimulating company. Excellent ability to understand concepts and apply logic to find solutions.
Study, Service, Celebration
- You need freedom from structures – disciplines are least helpful for you.
- Prayer is much more of your whole day than a specific event.
- Dream big dreams for God – you can change the world, if you try something really huge for God!
- You might want to try liturgies and written prayers that you read, but be careful of an overly “religious” life.
- Have spiritual conversations with others.
- Try serving other people.
Logical, original, creative thinkers. Can become very excited about theories and ideas. Exceptionally capable and driven to turn theories into clear understandings. Highly value knowledge, competence and logic. Quiet and reserved, hard to get to know well. Individualistic, having no interest in leading or following others.
Meditation, Solitude, Simplicity, Confession
- You are open to new things, but you are initially quite critical. Keep trying!
- Give yourself time to reflect and think. Don’t be rushed into new things.
- Pursue some of the more charismatic gifts of the Spirit.
- You do need order and discipline, though. A specific schedule of spiritual disciplines, put into your diary, would be very helpful for you.
- Other people might perceive that you are “jumping around” between lots of different things. Don’t worry about that – you, more than many others, can actually get value from many different disciplines.
Part 2, with the other 8 types, is available here.
4 thoughts on “MBTI and spiritual development (Part 1 of 2)”
I would really like to discuss your methods. I am writing a plan to help our church members be assessed for ministry placement and I am finding what is written very helpful. I would love to ask you some additional questions if possible.
THANK YOU for providing a site that is a MULTI-resource and actually helpful RIGHT NOW for anyone accessing it.
THANK YOU for being selfless and sharing your research.
When you talk about “guidance” with the separative personality types, are you suggesting that they “receive guidance” from the church, or that “guiding others” is spiritual gift they share? I’m having trouble figuring out the context.
The article refers to the ways in which people are best spiritually developed. It is slightly ambiguous, but in most cases I mean that they receive guidance. In many Catholic traditions, this is a formal process of spiritual formation, and involves following the advice of older Christians in certain spiritual disciplines.
Thanks Graeme. That explanation helps me a great deal.