Personality indicator types has been used by many organisations over the years when appointing new personnel. The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator is perhaps the best known. When thinking about Christian Discipleship Michelle Morris of the UMC uses the four gospels to speak of four different ‘disciple types’ we find in church. (Michelle J. Morris – ‘Gospel Discipleship’, Abingdon Press, 2020.)
These types may also help us to understand how many of our church members are coping, or not in the current lockdown.
1. Mattheans. Mattheans are characterised by Matthew 28:19a – “Go therefor…” Mattheans love a tick list, concrete action. They want to know where they are going and how they are going to get there. Mattheans are the ones who will rip a hole in the roof and lower their friend to see Jesus. Methodist Committees are full of Mattheans.
But now they are told stop! Mattheans have become anxious for they have nothing to do. This is a time for them to take a sabbath from work and focus on God.
2. Markeans. Markeans are characterised 2Corinthians 3:17 – “The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit is there is freedom.” Mark’s gospel is characterised by the word immediately. Mark has Jesus and his disciple rushing from place to place, village to village. Markeans are often on project or evangelism committees, they are great starters but they are not always finishers.
But now they have to slow down. Markeans are feeling exhausted even though they have nothing to do. Now is the time to breath, take stock and tie up some loose ends.
3. Lukeans. Lukeans are characterised by Luke 10:25-29 – “Love your neighbour…” Lukeans should wear a badge that says ‘Happy to Help’. They are the huggers in the church, they pull people together. They are great in organising the lunch club or drop in time.
But now they are told keep your distance. Social distancing, and worse, self isolation are an anathema for the Lukean, they are feeling helpless at this time. they have to discover the worth of the internet , Skype and Zoom.
4. Johanians. Johanians are characterised by John13:15 -“I have set you and example..” These are often the thinkers and ponderers of the church. Great at leading study groups, but they look to others for authority before giving leadership.
But now leadership looks different, there is no example to follow. Johanians are feeling lost. Now is the time to observe and pay attention, where does love break out and where does it fail? Then plan for the ‘new’ church in the post lockdown world.
Now before you start looking at others in the congregation and say “I know what type you are!” take a look in the mirror and ask who am I and what you can do to help the church in the new post lockdown world.