Does your personality type affect the way you evangelize?
Do you know your personality type?
According to the Myers-Briggs temperament test, there are 4 main temperament types: Intuitive Thinkers (NT), Intuitive Feelers (NF), Sensing Perceivers (SP), or Sensing Judgers (SJ).
Cru staff members Jeff Grant and Matt Baehr helped more than 60 students discover their personality types based on an abbreviated temperament test. The workshop on the Gloucester County College campus in Sewell, N.J. served two purposes for students – understanding both their design and their Designer.
“We explained what their test results revealed about their interests and passions, helping them see what majors/careers would bring them life,” says Jeff.
After students took the test and learned about their personality types, Matt transitioned to a gospel presentation using the “Backstory” booklet developed by Cru. The booklet covers 7 main themes of the gospel and is helpful in explaining the biblical background of the gospel to people in a biblically illiterate age.
God uses the way He made us to draw us to Himself.
Jeff learned from a friend that people interact differently with the gospel based on their personality types.
- NF – intuitive perceivers and process things more by how it affects others. They want to know that God loves them.
- NT – process things logically and need to really process it intellectually and thoroughly.
- SJ – gain understanding largely through their senses and seek to have a plan or closure They need to hear about God’s standards and that they need a Savior because they broke God’s standards.
- SP – individuals who are sensing, but take things as they come and are open-ended. Ways that help them to understand God are by seeing His power. Changed-life stories work well with this temperament.
God uses our personality in how we do evangelism, too.
Pastors and authors Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg explain in their book, “Becoming A Contagious Christian” that there are 6 styles of evangelism according to a person’s personality.
They give examples of each approach to evangelism:
- Intellectual – example: Apostle Paul
- Confrontational – example: Peter
- Invitational – example: woman at the well (John 4)
- Testimonial – example: blind man (John 9)
- Service – example: Dorcas
- Interpersonal – example: Matthew
“The evangelism styles in “Becoming A Contagious Christian” helped me to see I don’t have to be somebody else,” says Barry Warren, who serves in Cru’s Research & Development Department. Barry explains that his evangelism styles are both relational and intellectual.
Also, he uses his God-given gifts of empathy and creativity to tell others about Jesus. He has created Perspective Cards an evangelism tool that uses worldview perspectives to open the door to the gospel.
“One of my main strengths is empathy and so I feel like God has wired me to use my mind as a simulator to think through the conversation and get the gist of what everyone is feeling,” says Barry. He thinks through what a Christian might be thinking and feeling during the conversation as well as what the non-Christian is receiving.
Whether a person is an “engineer or an artist,” Soularium may be helpful. This conversational tool uses photos to discuss people’s view of God. It offers an “approachable” method to open up conversations he says.
Ross McCall has used Soularium as he has served with Cru on college campuses in the U.K. “Getting people to communicate with a picture gives you more of an emotional response to a question than a cerebral one,” he says “With a photograph, whether they realize it or not some of their barriers come down and they let you into what they are feeling.”
“We are all designed to work for the encouragement and health of the body of Christ,” says Barry. “It goes back to what is your make up, what is your personality and your spiritual gifting.”
So be who God has gifted you to be.
“Do whatever you’re comfortable with because ultimately, when you’re comfortable you make the person you’re talking with comfortable,” Barry says.
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