How a Type 1 on the Enneagram experiences your church and how to connect them

Let me tell you about Matt. He is hilarious (don’t try and a best him in a trash talk contest) and one of the most compassionate and helpful young men I know. When we had the honor of baptizing him in 2013, I was blown away by his hunger to know God, know his path for him, and learn what following Jesus was all about. As someone without a church background, he spiritual journey was fast paced but rock solid at the same time. We came to know him as a real strength and “go to” person for his family (brothers, sisters, parents), one they could depend on.

Matt (right) with his buddy Josh (left)

Matt (right) with his buddy Josh (left)

Because of this, we should not have been surprised when Matt quit a fairly well paying job to join our church’s staff on the facility/operations team. What I would call “hyper-responsible”, Matt wanted to serve and to learn what it meant to be a spiritual leader and his hard-working “get her done” spirit rallied people around him to do the same. He even started a network of young adult men’s groups that brought a lot of unconnected guys into connection with each other. Matt would be at their birthdays and significant events and if they were in trouble, he would help them in anyway he could.

Matt is a Type One on the Enneagram and his journey can teach us how to connect the “Matt’s” in our community when they show up at our church’s doorsteps. But before we do that, let’s start with how a Type One experiences the world…

As Reformers, Ones see the world as a place that needs to be managed by following procedures, upholding standards and values, and keeping the rules. Ones color inside the lines. How do they want to reform the world? By helping others learn to color inside those lines too. They see themselves as realist because of their sober assessments of others and of circumstances. Others see them as idealists because they are continually. disappointed and surprised when people are rewarded who don’t honor the rules and when unpleasant circumstances befall those who work hard for them not to.

This description might make them sound like condescending jerks who see people constantly living below par. Though Ones do see the world as a “glass half empty”, nothing could be farther from the truth. Ones tend to be the stand up guy or gal you can always count on, very witty, and loyal friends. They make the atmosphere they find themselves in more pleasant as they want to make it better and they know that being positive makes it better. Ones can feel inwardly resentful when their hard work and “keeping the rules” seems to be holding an endeavor together while others do whatever they want.

How does a Type One experience your church?

As a transaction. Either a good one or a not so good one. That sounds cold, cut and dry but it’s not to a Reformer. They see life held together by those who stand in the gap between people’s needs and the ideals that must be embraced to see them met. That gives them a set of expectations for people that make a claim to deliver on a promise or a product, which leads me to exactly what to do and what not do in your connection ministry to help Type Ones find their home at your church.

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What are the dos and don’ts when connecting a Type One?

Do: Follow through.

Ones do not understand when a church says it is “for everybody” but they see people being ignored. They don’t get it when they show up for a Serve Day and three other people who signed up (one of them a leader) don’t show up. They have little desire to connect when they fill out a card that request information and that information doesn’t come (or comes 3 weeks late).

For you to connect with Reformers, your church must follow through in a timely way. You have to deliver on what you promise and your processes must be automated so that it happens that way, all the time, for everybody. (Click here to learn how we do this at my church).

For you to connect with Reformers, your church must follow through in a timely way. You have to deliver on what you promise and your processes must be automated so that it happens that way, all the time, for everybody.

Do not: Not follow through

Let me tell you about one of my favorite Reformers: Marge. My family and I love her because Marge doesn’t suffer fools lightly. She is compassionate and hilarious to us in her demeanor. She is a consummate volunteer. When Marge is making it happen (usually in a behind the scenes support / organizational role), then it happens well. We call it being “Marge and in charge” in our assimilation ministry as she serves as our Next Step Assistant several months out of the year.

She also now lives several months a year in Chicago where she gets to spend time with her grandkids and attend a church there as well. I say attend, because she doesn’t really serve there. It is a fairly large church that, like ours, invites people to exchange their contact info for a free gift in the lobby. When she came to the kiosk, two older people just spent time talking to each other, not noticing her or other guests. After a few minutes, she interrupted them to hand them her connection card and they said they would turn it in. Whether they remembered to do or not, it was a matter of months, not days, before she received an email acknowledging her visit.

Can you believe that?! Marge couldn’t because she’s a One and that’s why she attends that church but serves at ours. Which allows us to tap into her superpower.

What is the “Superpower” of a One on a volunteer team?

In a word, faithfulness. When you have a Reformer on your team here is (no exaggeration) what you can expect. You can expect them to…

  • work hard & show up on time.

  • take things to the next level.

  • stay in their sandbox (unless you invite them into yours).

  • serve to your specifications.

  • exceed your expectations.

They will improve anything they touch. They may not be natural managers (due to the glass half empty perspective and the “I’ll do it if nobody else is going to follow through” mode of operating) but they will lead with clear directives, expectations and by example.

Bottom Line: You cannot afford to not assimilate guests who are Ones into your church family. If that means you need to figure out how to automate your follow up processes so they are timely and consistent and you don’t have to think about them anymore, then make that your top priority. Session 2 and 5 of my Climbing the Assimilayas Video Course is designed to help you do just that if its time for some education and tooling on what it takes to make that a reality.

If that means you need someone to come work with your staff a couple days to help you develop a plan to create assimilation process you can count on, bring them in. I would love to spend that kind of time with your church staff to bring a unifying force for your team and a calendarized plan to bring this all into reality by your next big bump in attendance. My coming out for a Base Camp would be a next step if this is the case.

If that means removing someone from leadership who is under-performing or who doesn’t have the spiritual maturity to lead strong toward this, then find the role that fits their gifting and maturity quickly and without apology. The health of your church depends on it.

Being able to connect with guys like Matt that are visiting your church depends on it.

Pastor Matt baptizing people after church.

Pastor Matt baptizing people after church.

The result of decisions like these are what happened with Matt as a Reformer after he joined the facilities team. His ministry with young adults, launching small groups and interacting with adults of all ages by serving them on our facilities team resulted in his readiness for an extraordinary moment in the history of our church.

In 2018, we got a call from a church that was ready to close its doors in Redlands California, 50 plus miles away…and Matt’s home town! I will never forget the interest meeting we had with their congregation when Gene Appel, our Lead Pastor, introduced Matt as the one who would be the Campus Pastor if they chose to become Eastside’s campus in Redlands. There were people in the room who knew Matt before he knew Jesus (Matt didn’t come to know Jesus until he left Redlands and moved to Orange County and got invited to Eastside). They voted almost unanimously to become our 5th campus.

I remember Matt going through Next Steps and becoming a volunteer (we call them Change Makers). I remember him starting his first of several small groups for young men. I remember milestones in his own growth as he processed the book Wild at Heart around my fire pit and it was no surprise when a church of 40 in attendance become of almost 500 on Easter (with 4 baptisms that day) and is running almost 300 just 2 months after launching.

Matt is giving notable attention to our assimilation processes and strategy in Redlands. They had 65 people at Next Steps before they launched and 4 full tables attending at the round of Next Steps after they launched under the leadership of one of our pastors, Jeff Swaney). Why is Matt able to oversee what’s going on in his hometown this way? Because he is a Reformer.

Make sure your follow through captures the hearts of the Ones like Matt who are visiting your church this weekend. You will be glad you did.

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  • Is there someone on your staff or volunteer team that is a high-performing Type One? With their help, retrace their assimilation journey from the time they first said “yes” to following Jesus, through their first volunteer ministry experience, to where they are now. What can you learn that would help you capture the heart of a Reformer and connect them well at your church now?

  • When it comes to assimilation follow through, where are your greatest strengths and vulnerabilities? How can you leverage your strengths to diminish your vulnerabilities when it comes to follow up?

  • What 3 improvements (big or small) make the top of the action list for this quarter to make your church more “Reformer friendly”? Which one could you pull the trigger on as early as this week?

Look for a different guest scenario each week and on my instagram (follow me  here ), and if you need an explanation of all 9 types before we continue the series, go  here  to my intro to get an overview.

Look for a different guest scenario each week and on my instagram (follow me here), and if you need an explanation of all 9 types before we continue the series, go here to my intro to get an overview.

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