Valuing Personality and Gifting: Part 4

August 29, 2016

Valuing Personality and Gifting

This is part four of a four part series on valuing personality and gifting. Knowing one’s spiritual gifts can be a great source of strength as you live and serve in this world. In this fourth part, I want to share how understanding your personality type can affect how you deploy your gifting. But before we get to that, let’s review where we’ve been.

Common Identity, Vocational Lens & Your “Toolbelt”

In my first blog, I talked about how understanding your gifting begins with understanding who God is and what he has done. Knowing this helps us understand who we have been made to be. We called this our “common identity.”

In my second blog, I shared about the gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4 that affect how we view the world and how we see ourselves contributing towards God’s purposes.

The third blog in this series was about all the other spiritual gifts and how they make up a kind of tool belt that we use when needed.

To summarize these three blogs about gifting, I used the grid below through which we can understand the beauty of the gifts God has given:

Common Identity -> Vocational Lens -> Tool belt.

In this last blog, I want to briefly touch on the subject about how all of our unique personalities affects this all.

Understanding Personality

After years of working with executive teams, I began thinking about how personality affected the ways we interacted in the life of a missional community. In mine, some wanted to throw parties for the neighborhood and others mostly wanted to pursue relationships with just one or two people. Yes, there were gifting factors involved here, but I began noticing how modern day concept of personality manifested itself.

The Myers-Briggs Temperament Inventory is perhaps the most popular personality instrument in use today. It builds upon the theories of Carl Jung who believed we all had natural ways, from birth, that we prefer to interact with the world. Here’s a quick overview of the Myers-Briggs dichotomies.

Extroversion and Introversion are about how we get energy. Those who prefer extroversion get energized by higher concentrations of people. They talk things out. Those who prefer introversion are energized in the quiet and enjoy fewer, deeper relationships. They think things through before they talk them out.

Sensing and Intuition are about how we view the world. Those who prefer sensing are the ones who read the instructions. They notice the details and think in a linear fashion. While those who prefer intuition would rather learn through hands on experience. They see the big picture more than the details.

Thinking and Feeling are about the way we process the information we take in. Those who prefer thinking think in terms of logic—sometimes in a “one size fits all” type of way. While those who prefer feeling operate in terms of personal values and the implications for people. Both types think, they just think about different things. One thinks about logic and the other thinks about people.

Judging and Perceiving are about the ways we prefer to order our world. Those with a judging preference, like a judge, prefer decisions and timelines. While those with a perceiving preference prefer to “take it as it comes.” They are the ones who are open-ended and work really well under pressure. Both types can be orderly, but the ways in which they go about organizing their lives are completely different.

These are dichotomies are what make up our four letter type. You may be familiar with your type. Perhaps you are an ISTJ or ENFP or other combination. Knowing our unique personality type isn’t an excuse though. Rather, it helps us understand why we do the things we do and raises our awareness so we might better serve those around us. We all can do every side of each dichotomy, just not with equal comfort.

Bringing It All Together

Knowing your spiritual gifting is a valuable asset. But knowing your own personality will also bring further clarity to how you’ve been wired to contribute to others, as well as what energizes you the most.

A few years ago, we made a video about valuing personality and gifting. I started the video by talking about personality type and then spiritual gifts. If I could do it over again, I’d start with spiritual gifts and then personality because our gifting and personalty are informed by the work of Jesus. Everything else flows out of that.

Take a few minutes to watch this video and think about how your personality affects the way your gifts are displayed. Here are some sayings and the potential gifts & personalities that might be behind them.

“Let’s throw lots of parties!” You may be an extroverted evangelist.
“Can we have a meeting with just a few people to plan the next few weeks?” You might view the world through the apostolic lens with introverted and/or judging preferences.
“We’ve had a busy season. Can we get everyone away for some rest to check in and see how they are doing?” You might be an extroverted shepherd.

The intricacies of how we are gifted are vast and fascinating. We are all truly unique creations. Conversations around the diversity of gifting within our missional communities, for me, have been some of the most rewarding. Helping others discern how they are uniquely wired to make disciples of Christ brings clarity, conviction and freedom. I’m excited for you as you engage your missional community in this conversation. Enjoy this video.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Achata is the Director of Achata Coaching Inc. where he focuses on uniting fractured teams and helping leaders learn to ask instead of tell. He and his family and recently transitioned to east Tennessee where he and his wife Amy are writing their first books. They are a part of Matthew’s Table, a new church plant in Cleveland, Tennessee.