So, what’s your personality type?
For most people, just hearing the word evangelism gives them chills. When we first consider witnessing and sharing the Gospel, the image of the Bible thumping, in-your-face, street preacher might come to mind. Or the great orator standing on the stage in front of thousands of people, eloquently exhorting the Word of God. Some people are comfortable with either of these direct approaches however many are not.
This episode will discuss different personality types and traits. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to evangelism. Most of the popular methods that are being used today just assume that the person witnessing is comfortable going up to complete strangers and challenging them about their sin and talking about spirituality. Or they assume that you just have to suck it up and soldier on when you witness the gospel. Truth is, even the most confident extrovert will find this kind of approach a daunting proposition. No one wants be considered a bother, or rude. Nobody likes being rejected either. And the big fear most of us have is the fear of not doing it right.
The mechanics of sharing the Gospel will be discussed in upcoming episodes. But first we need to talk about the different methods of using evangelism tools to share the Gospel effectively in ways that work with your personality. Let’s face it, if something is difficult or uncomfortable to do, most of us ultimately find ways to avoid doing it. One has to rely too much on discipline. Don’t get me wrong, discipline is still important but you shouldn’t have to rely so heavily on it. When you are confident, and enjoy doing something it is much more likely that you will stick with it and be successful doing it.
Extroverts & Introverts
We all fall somewhere on the extrovert-introvert scale. Most of us are some combination of both types. In fact, most studies show that the ratio is basically 50/50 with men leaning a bit more toward introverted and women leaning a few points toward the extrovert side. Some of us however lean considerable more to one side or the other. Let’s start with the difference between the typical extrovert and the typical introvert. Generally an extrovert is considered to be a gregarious and unreserved person. While the introvert is generally considered to be a more reserved and shy person.
Researchers have suggested that one of the most notable differences between introverts and extroverts is that extroverts get energized from social interactions, while introverts draw their energy from internal reflection and quiet time and their energy is actually drained by social activity. In my opinion, this distinction of energy in vs energy out is a more accurate descriptor than simply saying extroverts are outgoing and introverts are shy. For example, I am an outgoing person. I have never been described as shy. However, I can only handle a limited amount of social interaction before I have to “recharge” my batteries. I require solitude and low-key activities to do this. It may seem a bit ironic that God has called me to evangelism when I can only handle a certain amount of social interaction but when you think about it, an introverts need for quiet, introspective time is beneficial for Bible Study and prayer. The point is, that God will use you the best way He can regardless of your personality. Heck, if God can use a wretch like me…
Let’s dig a little deeper. There are many more aspects to our personalities than where we are on the introvert-extrovert scale. Do you prefer a top floor view or would you rather dive into the details? Are you comfortable with a general outline or do you want a script? Do you like working within a defined system or would you rather fly by the seat of your pants? Would you rather make yourself available for when someone is ready to talk or do you prefer initiating the conversation? The answers to the above questions are all correct. There are no wrong answers. The answers do however, will help to determine which methods of evangelism will work best for you.
There are many personality evaluation tools you can use to help determine your dominant personality traits. They usually consist of multiple choice questions… One of the popular testing systems is the DiSC system. Myers Briggs is another widely used system. For this discussion I will be referring to the DiSC profile system. With the DiSC system you are instructed to select the answer that is “most like you” because in many cases there is more than one “correct” answer that will work for you. Likewise, you are also instructed to select the answer “least like you” as well. Since you can only choose one “most” and one “least” answer, this forces you to make decisions that help reveal the core aspects of your personality. You will receive a report explaining what the analysis means and how your results may impact things like your decision making process, how you relate to people, what is important and not important to you, what things affect your emotions, etc. If you are like me, you may have a different set of priorities for the different aspects of your life. For example, accuracy and details may be important for the kind of work you do however, when it comes to your parenting style, patience and flexibility might be more important than “getting it right”. Having taken many tests like this over the years, I recommend committing to a specific aspect of your life when embarking on the test. As you decide which answers are most appropriate, commit to which part of your life you want to evaluate. You will find that with some questions you would select answer (A) as it relates to your job or work, but answer (B) describes you better when it comes to your family and life at home. In this example you would need to choose beforehand whether you want to evaluate your professional priorities or your family priorities.
The DiSC system works with four aspects of our personality they define as; dominance, Influence, conscientiousness, and steadiness (DiSC). Similar to the fact that most of us have both introvert and extrovert tendencies within us, most of us have some of each of the four profile aspects also. The ratio of the four is what makes us unique. Understanding these aspects and how they affect things like our priorities, values, and decision making is key to learning how we relate to other people and particularly, how we can best share the Gospel.
D – Dominance
People with a high level of “D” tend to be very driven, they are comfortable making quick decisions and solving problems. They like taking authority and accepting challenges. They also like immediate results.
i – Influence
These are very social people. They tend to make a good impression, they are articulate and are good at generating enthusiasm. Participating in a group and contacting people is no problem for them.
C – Conscientiousness
These folks make the best of existing circumstances focusing on quality and accuracy. They concentrate on the details, think analytically weighing the pros and cons of a situation. A systematic approach to situations and activities is ideal for them.
S – Steadiness
The “S” folks are usually very consistent and predictable. They love helping others, tend to be loyal and are good listeners. Patience is another one of their virtues.
These are just some of the many traits that will be analyzed for you. Armed with the analysis from your report, and the understanding the analysis will provide for you, you can now explore different ways and methods of sharing the Gospel that work best for you.
I would like to point out that these tests and the resulting analysis are just tools to help you. If you use any of these tools or take any test please remember that they are just aids to help you identify general personality traits. The best and most accurate method is still to consult the Lord in prayer and ask for His help to guide you in this process.
For more information and a link to a free online DISC evaluation CLICK HERE
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