The psychological-type profile of lay church leaders in Australia

Ruth Powell, Mandy Robbins, Leslie J. Francis
2012 Mental Health, Religion & Culture  
A sample of 845 lay church leaders (444 women and 401 men) from a range of 24 different denominations and movements (including house churches and independent churches) completed the Francis Psychological Type Scales within the context of the 2006 Australian National Church Life Survey. The psychological type profiles of these lay church leaders were almost identical to the type profiles of 1527 Australian churchgoers (936 women and 591 men) published in an earlier study by Robbins and Francis
more » ... bbins and Francis (2011) . The predominant types among female lay church leaders were ISFJ (21%), ESFJ (21%), and ISTJ (18%). The predominant types among male lay church leaders were ISTJ (28%), ISFJ (17%), ESTJ (13%), and ESFJ (12%). The SJ temperament accounted for 67% of the female lay church leaders and for 70% of the male lay church leaders. The strengths and weaknesses of the SJ leadership style are discussed. Introduction Psychological type theory, originally proposed by Jung (1971) , provides an interesting framework for assessing individual differences in the personality profile of active church attenders and leaders (Francis, 2009). As well as being of interest to those who are concerned with the psychology of religion, a psychological type framework has also had an impact in church life. It has been applied among those interested in developing self-reflective practices among leaders. It also explains differences in attitudes and values between those in different areas of ministry and in different traditions. Further, studies PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPE PROFILE LAY CHURCH LEADERS 3 about psychological type can help to explain preferences for different areas of Christian ministry, in the same way it can inform career choices. According to psychological type theory, there are four indices on which individual differences can be assessed. Two orientations, styled introversion and extraversion, are concerned with where energy is drawn from. The two perceiving functions, sensing and intuition, are concerned with how information is gathered. The two judging functions, feeling and thinking, relate to how decisions are made. The two attitudes toward the outer world, judging and perceiving, address how a person prefers to deal with the outer world. The two orientations are defined as introversion (I) and extraversion (E). They are concerned with the sources of psychological energy. Introverts are oriented to the inner world, they are energised by solitude, and by their inner ideas and concepts. They tend to think before acting, and work best alone without interruption. They tend to prefer to learn by reading, and to communicate by writing. On the other hand, extraverts draw energy from the outside world; they are stimulated by people and events, and are drained by solitude. They prefer to work in groups, communicating face-to-face or on the phone and learning by talking tasks through. The two perceiving functions are concerned with the way people receive and process information. Individuals who prefer sensing (S) perceive their environment through their senses and tend to focus on the actual reality of a situation. They attend to specific detail, rather than the overall picture. They will move step-by-step to a conclusion and prefer well-established patterns. On the other hand, individuals who prefer intuition (N) make sense of their environment with imagination and inspiration. They focus on the possibilities, perceiving meaning and relationships. They can aspire to being innovative, acting as change-agents. 53, 475-482.
doi:10.1080/13674676.2012.686478 fatcat:amx2ou4sxrgejio7vrvohgva4u