Effects of personality differences
Personality Type in Congregations: How to Work with Others More Effectively, by Lynne M. Baab (Alban Institute, 1998) Some of us want silence in worship but others hate it. Some of us want to hug and talk to those around us in worship services, but including that makes others of us want to stay home. Some want to know the concrete details of day-to-day church operations, but others focus more on long-range visions and goals. Some want harmony at any cost, but others want to analyze and talk about all sides of issues even if it reveals strong disagreement. Baab reminds us how important it is to take these differences into account in planning church activities and in reacting to other members’ preferences. See the box on page 1 of the September 1999 Connections for a little more. Much better, read this book or others on similar topics.
Discover Your Spiritual Type: A Guide to Individual and Congregational Growth, by Corinne Ware (Alban Institute, 1995) If you’re turned off by theological terms like apophatic and kataphatic you probably won’t like this book, but I found it quite interesting, and its message is important. UMC pastor Steve Langford’s way of covering the same subject, which I describe in the September 1999 Connections, uses language that more church members will relate to. For other thoughts about how personality or temperament types influence people’s different ways of seeing and describing God, see also the February 2005 Connections for Huston Smith’s views as expressed in the book The Way Things Are, and the January 2005 issue for its discussion of the book Evangelical and Methodist. Also, see the October 2005 Connections for a discussion of how personality differences influence what kind of worship services help different people experience and respond to God’s presence.