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June 30, 2021

The Enneagram and Ministry

By New Churches Team

Enneagram Background

Concerns surround use of the Enneagram, and it is important to address them. The modern enneagram of personality exists within the field of psychology and is a theory of nine archetypes or character structures that show up consistently in humans.

Here are three things to keep in mind when considering the Enneagram.

  1. The Enneagram symbol is mathematically literal. Ennea means nine, and gram means point or symbol. The symbol shows nine connected points.
  2. The Enneagram uses numbers. Different teachers have different names for the types, so the numbers are a way for everyone to know which type they are talking about.
  3. The Enneagram originated in the field of psychology, and human psychology is an ever growing body of knowledge that has developed over time with many contributors. The Enneagram is a collection of observations about archetypes of human personalities. With these observations, you can then interpret and apply them according to your personal worldview.

As with most things, the Enneagram family tree has some oddballs in it. Christian proponents often point out how Paul drew from philosophers in Acts 17 to teach and proclaim the gospel. There might be times to avoid doing so, but there may also be opportunities to utilize secular ideas for gospel purposes.

How is it Different from Other Personality Assessments?

Most personality assessments are descriptive in nature and give us language for things that we do. The Enneagram goes beyond behavior and explains why we do what we do, detailing unconscious underlying motivations and fears that drive these behaviors. That’s powerful information because beliefs drive behaviors, and we can’t do anything about things we don’t know or see. Usually, behavior modification is not the same thing as transformation.

The Enneagram is not a personality test as much a catalog of what psychology calls the human ego. Personality traits are part of ego structure, but they are more like the tip of the iceberg of the character structure under the water. The Enneagram helps us understand what’s under the water.

The Enneagram and Ministry

So, what types of the Enneagram are compatible? The truth is, any two healthy individuals can create a fruitful partnership in ministry. The issue is the health of the individuals. We want to be careful in type-casting. Different people will do the same job differently. It’s not better or worse; it’s simply different.

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New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


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