ISTJs and Evangelism

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TrustGzus

Puritan Board Freshman
So I imagine most have heard of and have a little familiarity with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator system of understanding personalities.

I am an ISTJ. I've been called the poster child of ISTJ.

I would love to be more evangelistic. I love reading various books on methods of evangelism. I have and enjoyed very much Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion and Comfort's/Cameron's The Way of the Master and other materials.

While I love those materials and they make much sense to me, I'm awful at evangelism. It's only slightly more natural to me than if I were to give birth to a baby. It's very forced and unnatural to me. I've been a Christian for 29 years.

Yesterday I came up with the idea of Googling "ISTJs and evangelism methods" to see if I could find any tips. I didn't find any tips. The idea of personality types and contributions to church life is explored a bit in a Google search but not excessively.

While I didn't find tips, everything I found said that ISTJs and evangelism don't go together more-or-less. We are often leaders. We teach Sunday school. We make things work at church. One sight said my type has little patience for high theology and other impractical philosophical discussions. I love theology and philosophy so I'm not sure if that person is simply mistaken or if I misunderstood the individual or if I'm just odd for an ISTJ in that way.

We are also often described as good at spiritual disciplines. It's said we memorize Scripture easily. I found this interesting because when I got saved at 15 and bought my first Bible, the guy that sold it to me gave me a read through the Bible plan that gets through the NT twice per year and the OT once per year. I've done that ever since. It's a cake walk for me. I'm always encouraging others to read through the Bible. I've taken audio Bibles and divided all the daily readings from that plan up. They range from 8 to 23 minutes per day depending on the chapters, averaging out to 13 minutes per day. My thought has been "who doesn't have 13 minutes?" Yet, I've found so few stick to this and don't struggle with it. I never considered the personality God gave me as being a factor that makes it easy for me. I think it was good for me to think about that because it can make me see now why perhaps it's easy for me and not for others.

What I don't want to do is use my personality type as an excuse. Yet at the same time, perhaps I do need to accept the fact that because of the way God made me, evangelism just may not be normal for me. When I have an opportunity where it flows naturally - go for it! If not, don't get hung up on it.

Part of the desire is having walked with God for all these years, I've seen so many fall away. I'm very burdened by that. I hate seeing those who once professed to walk with Jesus being atheists now - particularly when their arguments are really bad (which is all of them as far as I've seen).

Anyway, anyone ever thought about anything like this? It makes me look at my brothers and sisters a little differently. Gives me a new way to ponder the body and its members.

Anybody have any suggestions for evangelism for an ISTJ?
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As a fellow ISTJ, who is extremely similar to your and your experiences, my evangelism (though lacking) has largely been one on one with a friend, coworker or fellow I trust enough not to call me a bigot.

Perhaps thats where God wants us to do it. Depending upon who, but usually for me, three is a crowd if I am a part it.
 

Conner

Puritan Board Freshman
Interesting, I just did a personality type quiz and also found myself to be listed as guardian. I am a lot like what you described. The only thing is that I don't have trouble handing out tracts on a street corner or interacting with unbelievers at public events. Do you experience that at all?
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I have no doubt that a standardized test can give you some insight into your basic personalty, and maybe even strengths and weaknesses, but I'm not clear about how that would impact evangelism.

The first thing that is unclear to me is what is meant by evangelism. Is it a formula? Is it a process? If so, I think that most of the modern techniques are geared toward an emotional extrovert. If it is designed as a sales pitch, then the message depends upon your delivery. An introvert will have a hard time pulling off a "pitch" like that.

An extrovert might pull it off, but is it evangelism? I don't think so. Any sort of emotional manipulation is going to backfire for a number of people. The people who might be persuaded by it may find themselves doubting their profession when their emotional high has worn off.

There has been much discussion about who can "evangelize." I don't want to get to far into that except to say that our confessions place a special burden on the ministers of the gospel. Preaching is the primary means of evangelism.

Other believers also have their callings and their duties. The personality God gave you is part of that calling. Just because 4'8" man is unlikely to find himself on a professional basketball team doesn't mean he is not a man. He's just not made for that particular office.

Similarly, not all are called to preach. But even so, all are called to something. Believers are called to follow Christ. With that comes specific duties, like being knowledgeable about Scripture, being able to give an answer to everyone who asks you why you have hope (1 Pet 3:15) but doing it in gentleness and with respect. Christians have a duty, when spiritual conversations arise, to turn that focus to Christ alone.

But there is no particular "formula" that we have to find that "works" for a given personality.

One of God's blessings to me was that he did not convert me until my middle-age. That gives me easily remembered perspective of how I thought before God abruptly brought me to my knees. I had a keen distrust of those who would try to "evangelize" me. I recognized a look, almost a predatory focus, that was aimed at manipulating my heart into saying something I did not believe. I relished confounding such poor souls who thought they were doing God's work. I knew enough of the Bible to twist the sloganeers into knots. Most of them meant well, but many, 20 years later, completely abandoned faith. The process didn't work and the emotional high wore off for them.

But I can give two anecdotal instances of true evangelism. Both of them stuck with me for more than 20 years before the Spirit conquered my rebellion. One was from an Anglican minister, the other from a country-boy guitar player.

When I was 19, in a state that allowed drinking at 18, I was a pretty edgy hard drinker. I lived in a dorm on a floor of single-roomed introverts. One day I saw a guy in his room practicing rock licks on his guitar. I figured I'd chat him up and tell him some of my tales of outright rebellion, thinking he was a kindred soul.

After listening for a while, he looked me in the eye and quietly said, "the good Lord has been watching you and protecting you. You should thank him and repent of your foolishness." And he went back to his guitar practice.

Of course, I was stunned and never talked to him again.

The other happened in the same period of time. Even though I was a sort of wild-cowboy rebel, I also was in a sophisticated circle of musicians and intellectuals. I went to the local Episcopal church because of the music, and because of the smart genteel intellects, and mostly because I could count on the preacher not doing something offensive and foolish like preaching the Gospel.

A visiting minister was going to preach. I had met him at a dinner party and found out he was from Scotland, had an Oxford PhD in something obscure like philosophy of language, that he was married to a beautiful and brilliant PhD chemist. By all impressions, he seemed my kind of guy: a renaissance man of the world with a position in the Church of England.

So I went to his service full of anticipation. I wanted to see what wonderful things he'd say, what turns of brilliance he'd employ. In short, I wanted my ears tickled.

The first words I heard from him, in his Oxfordian-tempered Scottish accent, were these:

"My friends, I have now spent some time in America. I perceive many things about your culture and your country. I marvel at the energy and industriousness. But there is one thing I do not see. I do not see serious things of God being discussed or even alluded to. I am called as a minister to do one thing: preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I perceive that we must go back to basics.

"My friends, listen to these words carefully: if you do not trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, you shall go to hell...."

And, true to form, at that point I quit listening and quietly left in disappointment.

I was evangelized twice. Once by a hippy country boy who spoke plain truth. Once by a highly eductated Anglican preacher who spoke plain truth. Each in his sphere of calling glorified God. Neither used any "technique." Their personalities had little to do with the effect of the message. And, God be praised, that message reverberated in my mind for two decades, doing its work in God's time.

That's my long-winded way of saying your personality does not matter. Do what ever task God has put before you with your whole being to God's glory. Opportunities always come up to discuss Scripture and the Gospel. Do it in gentleness and with respect, yet holding fast to the truth. Know your Scripture inside and out. Be ready to help those who express confusion. Following that approach, which is from Scripture, will keep you out of fruitless interactions with the likes of what I used to be.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Sounds like the type of pop psychology found in a woman's magazine. I don't think that is any way to prepare for gospel work.
 

Captain Picard

Puritan Board Freshman
Sounds like the type of pop psychology found in a woman's magazine. I don't think that is any way to prepare for gospel work.

I saw this thread title in new threads and new this kind of post was only a matter of time. Obviously one is called to bring the gospel to people in season and out of season, but principles core to Jeungian thought, while clearly not rooted in Scripture, are not "pop psychology".
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I saw this thread title in new threads and new this kind of post was only a matter of time. Obviously one is called to bring the gospel to people in season and out of season, but principles core to Jeungian thought, while clearly not rooted in Scripture, are not "pop psychology".

A few years witnessing real people meeting real challenges and experiencing real change will burst this psycho-bubble. Why would a Christian with a desire to serve God, and a trust in His Almighty power, wisdom, and goodness, allow himself to be subject to the supercilious judgements of men?

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
You can invite people to a worship service. If they come, you can ask what they thought of it.

You can ask people about what they do when they are not working and then talk about what you do when you are not working.

Ask people about their church or religious background. Share yours.
 

Toasty

Puritan Board Sophomore
The first thing that is unclear to me is what is meant by evangelism. Is it a formula? Is it a process? If so, I think that most of the modern techniques are geared toward an emotional extrovert. If it is designed as a sales pitch, then the message depends upon your delivery. An introvert will have a hard time pulling off a "pitch" like that.

It is my understanding that evangelism is telling other people about how God saves His people from their sins and telling them to trust Christ for their salvation and to repent of their sins. It doesn't have to be like a sales pitch. You don't have to give a speech in front of a crowd of people in order to do evangelism. Evangelism can take place on a one-on-one basis.
 

Ken

Puritan Board Freshman
Here is what Peter had to say:
1 Peter 3:15: "15 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

Some say that the thief on the cross next to Jesus was a great evangelist; considering, how many criminals have come to faith because of his witness.
Luke 23:40–43: "40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Watching Ray Comfort on the street corner and thinking that is what we need to do can be very intimidating. How about working in an engineering organization where everyone is Hindu, Buddhist or to smart to believe in anything except themselves, how do you witness to them when company policy says you can't? The Bible is full of examples of godly people and people who represented God in a way that made them stand out, Daniel and Joseph to mention a couple. We need to be an example of living by the Spirit, in Christ.

God bless you and keep you,
Ken
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
Sounds like the type of pop psychology found in a woman's magazine. I don't think that is any way to prepare for gospel work.

I saw this thread title in new threads and new this kind of post was only a matter of time. Obviously one is called to bring the gospel to people in season and out of season, but principles core to Jeungian thought, while clearly not rooted in Scripture, are not "pop psychology".

But it is sort of a pop application of Jung. For example, when Jung described intuition he was referring to something magical like ESP, not the ability to synthesize ideas.
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
All very interesting and possibly a wee bit late in the thread but what is an ISTJ?
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
All very interesting and possibly a wee bit late in the thread but what is an ISTJ?

Meyers Briggs personality classification. Introverted Sensing Thinking Judgmental.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator

At best the scheme categorizes how one answers a series of questions. The categories might provide some insight, but people run the risk of "being what they test." (e.g.: "I'm an introvert sensor, so I don't engage others in discussion about principles.")

At its worst, it is often used superstitiously the way horoscopes are used.
 

jambo

Puritan Board Senior
All very interesting and possibly a wee bit late in the thread but what is an ISTJ?

Meyers Briggs personality classification. Introverted Sensing Thinking Judgmental.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator

At best the scheme categorizes how one answers a series of questions. The categories might provide some insight, but people run the risk of "being what they test." (e.g.: "I'm an introvert sensor, so I don't engage others in discussion about principles.")

At its worst, it is often used superstitiously the way horoscopes are used.

See also the many helpful results of this search: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=introvert+pastors

That's helpful, many thanks
 
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