How a Type 5 on the Enneagram experiences your church and how to connect them
When we had our third child, she was unexpected. We had undergone medical procedures to insure we would not have more children.
Then came Carly.
I often joked that because she was our third, we were lucky to have photos of her. In fact, when I brought her back to the hospital she was born at when she twisted her ankle at 6 years old, we both had a stunning revelation: Her birth certificate revealed we had been celebrating her birthday on the wrong day her entire life. Yep, 2 full days off. I will never forget how she looked at me, a look like, “Are you really my dad? Or are you some guy mom found that was willing to raise me who hadn’t finished reading up on me yet?”
Carly was a voracious reader. The more she liked an author or a series (Twilight, Lord of the Rings, The Space Trilogy, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and more), the more she would read them again! I don’t even like seeing a movie twice so I was amazed at how she loved to throw herself into all this material.
Carly was also her mama’s girl. She not only looked like her, but when Carly was ages 2 thru 6, there was no one of mere flesh and blood that could separate her from her mama. I was slapped across the chops for attempting a separation. So was my mother. So was my grandmother.
Carly was even asked to permanently leave a church preschool for 2 reasons:
It required she be separated from her mother and she would not be having that, no.
She would not stop explaining to the other hysterical children that the real Santa Claus who actually lived in the fourth century was now dead.
When Carly knew something, she knew it deep and would/will argue you to the ground if she knew herself to be right.
That spirit of confidence in what she knew and studied not only caused her to graduate with honors, but it made the year I had her as an Assimilation Intern at my church one of the most memorable ones I’ve ever had.
Carly was the one who would accompany me on Base Camps to run things from the back and to answers questions of church staff from all over the country. Carly was the one who discovered that the newly increased frequency of our assimilation program had resulted in 1 out of 5 of those being baptized attending, versus 1 out of 32 of those baptized through our former quarterly program. And it was Carly who I sent to our new LaHabra campus to launch our Assimilation Program (“Next Steps”) with my friend Jeff Sandoval where she led it for a year and half, explaining the faith and our church to new guests.
I actually thought all this was possible because she is MY daughter.
I now know it was largely because Carly is a Five on the Enneagram.
How a Type Five sees their world
Fives look around and wonder if they have the energy, time and resources to deal with everything that’s surrounding them. If you want to experience the world of a Five, picture yourself as Jon Snow in this battle scene from Game of Thrones. This photo represents not how they necessarily feel, but how they fear feeling when they are in a new environment that could possibly catch them off guard. They fear being overwhelmed and they strive to maintain competency by knowing those around them and the topics that will be focused on in advance.
Because of this, Fives tend to have fewer friends, but go deep with the ones they have, often keeping them for life. The predictability of these relationships creates a secure environment that they feel a mastery over-with a low risk of feeling helpless and a high probability of being seen as helpful.
How Fives experience your church
Ready for this one? Fives see your church as a catalogue. When coming into a church for the first time, Fives aren’t looking for new friends, affirmation, or a spiritual high. They are looking for information. They see your church as a place where information should be readily available about…
God, what He’s like and what he’s not like.
Comparisons to other notions about God.
Where to go to find things (clear signage) and to find answers (info counter).
How to access information about resources that would be helpful to them or others they care about personally.
Where to start.
On that last one, Fives like to have the info organized or indexed in an accessible logical way. In other words, a friendly person inviting them to lunch or to a men’s or women’s retreat is not going to impress them. In fact it may make them uncomfortable. What will impress them is having a place to have the important questions answered first and the space to process the answers to those questions at a pace that allows them to own them. An ordered, logical progression of information is appreciated by Fives and will give them a sense of trust and expectancy as they see answers coming in multiple sermons, sessions, discussions or places. The promise and delivery of intel on this new church they are finding themselves in is the best thing you can do to connect a Five.
“The promise and delivery of intel on this new church they are finding themselves in is the best thing you can do to connect a Five.”
Dos and Don’ts for for connecting a Type Five
Do: Give them info in an organized way.
Clear signage from parking to auditorium are appreciated by a Five. An easy to access info counter is valuable too. Most of all when it comes to becoming part of a church or the Faith for that matter, Fives will value a well thought out step by step program for exploring matters or faith, a church’s vision, and how to become a part.
Don’t: Force them to commit to positions.
Because Fives will commit to an environment where relevant info is discussed and processed, don’t mistake their enthusiasm for learning as an enthusiasm for Jesus or becoming his follower, at least not yet. Their passion is for getting the data necessary for forming a new or more solid position on a topic they had insufficient info on. They will attend faithfully any environment that delivers this kind of information.
When being invited to serve, be careful about placing Fives in roles that require them to believe things or advocate positions that they may not have fully processed or wrestled with. Use them in places that are appropriate to their convictions. They will be good at participating in discussions where the information they obtained that was helpful for them can be shared now to help others.
When they have formed a position or conviction, they will own it in a notable way. Which leads me to thier unique influence as a volunteer.
What is the “Superpower” of a Five on a volunteer team?
When a Five volunteers, they become a docent for others-a tour guide of sorts. They explain the terrain they have studied, what they’ve discovered that has made them feel comfortable, and encourage others to lean into the value of what is being offered-kinda like Carly when she led Next Steps at our new campus after returning from her first year of college.
Once they have “mastered the material” (their knowledge of God, how he works in people’s lives, how your church operates, etc.), this knowledge will make a Five appear more like Jon Snow in this photo instead of the previous one I shared.
Except they will look more like a tour guide instead of a warrior, so there’s that.
If you are looking for a “Five friendly” way to help your volunteers or staff team form an improved connection pathway for guests of any enneagram number at your church, access my video course here. In six sessions, you can work through a checklist that will help you build the four parts of an effective assimilation strategy into you church within a few months. All this will help you move toward connecting 1 out of 4 guests at weekend services into a small group or a ministry team so that they stick.
If you were information oriented (like a Five), what would be the first 5 pieces of info you would want to know on your first visit to your church? What about the second and third visits? List them in order.
What is the best delivery system for each of those pieces of info? Think location, medium (print, digital, personal) or program.
What environments do you have for people to process faith in Jesus? On a 1 to 5 scale, how well are they working? What is one thing you could do to make them more “Five Friendly”?