I found it interesting that both Publishers Weekly and Christianity Today mentioned the Ennegram system in their most recent issues. “Most simply, the Ennegram is a system of categorizing people with a number—one through nine—that represents a core motivation or orientation to others and the world,” the Christianity Today article reported (Christianity Today, November 2016, 56). (See also “What It Means to Be Christian,” Publishers Weekly, October 24, 2016, 21.)
At some point in our lives we have all taken a personality or spiritual gifts survey to indicate what our strongest traits are. What is making the Ennegram system different and so appealing to churches nationwide is that it gets to the heart of why people do what they do. The nine categories are as follows:
- I want to be good.
- I want to be needed.
- I want to achieve.
- I want to be unique.
- I want to think things through.
- I want to be safe.
- I want to have fun.
- I want to be in charge.
- I want to be a peace.
As I type each of these categories, my mind instantly goes to certain people I know and to myself. “That is so him.” “That is so her.” “That is so me.” The designers of the system grant that each one of us is a mixture of several numbers, but suggest that if you are a certain number you often become blind to the motivations of those are are another number.
I find that fascinating because it does play out so often within the Church. People talk past each other because they have different motivations. Churches that take part in a test like this can at least have a better awareness of where people are coming from and why they are saying and doing what they are saying and doing.
But the biggest takeaway I carry with me from this topic is that we all need to remember that as Christians, no matter what number we are any survey, our motivation is the same: to bring glory to Christ. If from the outset, we all acknowledge and agree to that core motivation, our interactions that proceed from that are bound to go smoother.
The Bible makes it clear:
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. Galatians 3:27-29
We have all put on Christ and he should be our core motivating factor.
For more information on the Ennegram system, check out this link: