I was just reading Christianity Today’s book review of Introverts in the church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture, which you’ll find under the heading of Introverts for Jesus, Unite!
Now, as an introvert I’m only too happy to see personality differences being recognized. But as someone who’s been researching personality types in new religious movements for many years, I have to say, I think Adam S. McHugh’s has picked the wrong type pair. Because my researches have led me to conclude the intuitive – sensor gap is far more significant.
Many years ago I conducted a number of informal spot poles amongst emerging church folk and invariably found 80% were intuitives, that only 20% or less were sensors. This gave me pause for thought, given you’d expect the figure to be 30% in the general population. Moreover, more recent studies have found that people drawn to mysticism tend to be intuitives. And you know, the deeper I looked the more clear it became to me that the emerging church in many respects represented a revolt of intuitive Christians against suffocatingly sensor Christian institutions.
But this personality type split is not healthy, not healthy at all in my opinion. Balanced community requires both sensors and intuitives. The problem is intuitives are not feeling respected. This is a challenge for sensors but also intuitive Christians as well. As an intuitive Christian myself, I have found discipleship of intuitives is very different to discipleship of sensors. Christians need to learn to adapt discipleship to the needs of different types.