by Greg Curtis: Ariel with one of the Chilean families she has fallen in love with.
I was trying to encourage Ariel, one of our Compassion Interns for the year. She was petrified of public speaking and our Compassion Team requires interns to get “up front” experience representing our local and global opportunities to our church’s guests in our Next Step Experience program.
Ariel was responsible for 25 minutes of the session as the Compassion Rep for the day. She came in looking a little stressed but internally being even more anxious. “I get so nervous speaking in front of a group” she said.
After encouraging her privately, she took the stage, and…POP! She got to photos of kids in Mexico and Ariel had a story. She got to a photo of our work in Chile and she had another moving story. She had passion and personal connection to everything she shared. I even had to give her the signal to wrap it up so she didn’t go overtime.
When she was done, there she was surrounded by a group of guests connecting with her and our compassion opportunities in animated conversation.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Ariel is a Seven.
This is Ariel in the Bubble Run. Think she might be a Seven?
How a Type Seven sees their world
A Seven is also known as an “Enthusiast”. Sevens wear the “party hats” on the Enneagram and add an element of fun to every situation they find themselves in.
As an Enthusiast, Ariel is someone that brings a smile to everyone’s face when she walks in the room. Her excitement to see each person and look them in the eye to cheer them on in what it is they are about that day is almost a spiritual gift.
Seven’s are story tellers, love to laugh, and to be with people. They rally people and point the way toward what they are passionate about. Because they tend to be “big picture people”, details can sometimes elude them. They can also frequently be late to the party, but they bring the party with them nonetheless.
Sevens also have a tendency to cover up pain, particularly from the past. This is part of what can drive them to dwell in the positive, and hopeful side of life, leaving what is unpleasant and unresolved somewhere else. They are drawn towards the happy and hopeful things of life, welcoming their distraction from things that otherwise would make them sad and introspective.
All of this informs their experience of your church whenever and wherever it gathers.
How Sevens experience your church
Fundamentally, Sevens experience your church as a Mixer. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a mixer as, “a game, stunt, or dance used at a get-together to give members of the group an opportunity to meet one another in a friendly and informal atmosphere”.
This reveals two things about Sevens at your church:
1. They are looking to connect with certain kinds of people
2. They are wanting to have fun, be energized, and get excited about something.
Sevens love to get amped socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically and spiritually. When they do, they will be influencers, inviting others to the source of what has given them new hope and a fresh direction.
Dos and Don’ts for for connecting a Type Seven
Do: Make it fun.
Now is a good time to remind ourselves that we are not a religion or an institution. What we are is a movement that started house to house, meal to meal with large scale gatherings in public spaces by a man who was accused of being a drunk and a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). This isn’t to say that Sevens live a particularly sinful lifestyle or that Jesus did. It is to say that like Jesus, Sevens like to have fun and enjoy people.
This is one of the many reasons that at Eastside, we don’t invite people to a class to become part of our church: we invite them into an experience. At our Next Steps Experience, they’ll be a part of fun competitions, grow in their faith through creative assignments, and make friends through meaningful discussion. When they arrive, they are given a backpack for the adventure and are told they will receive a new piece of equipment each week to reinforce the training they will be given.
While most churches connect people by teaching them what the Bible says about connecting, I recommend just creating a fun environment where they actually connect. Read about the 2nd mistake many churches make when assimilating guests to find out more.
That’s what to do. Here’s what not to do.
Don’t: Make them sit with people who would not identify with them or appreciate them.
When you spend time with an Enthusiast (7), you learn that the questions they ask when making decisions about where they spend their time are Who questions, not When or What questions. What matters to Sevens is “who will be there”.
I have also learned that the unspoken question of any new guest at your church and mine is this: “Is there anybody here like me?” That is the question you and I ask subconsciously when we are in any new or strange environment.
That’s why an assistant at the door of Next Steps assigns a table to first-timers (whether there are 2 tables or 8). They seat guests with birds of a feather (mostly by life-stage) so that good connections and conversations can take place over coffee and snacks. Table Hosts are also present armed with questions that unearth things that everyone at the table has in common without being too personal.
The worst way to connect a Seven is to sit them with people they have nothing in common with. Take the time to matchmake…and have fun while you doing it.
This is me, Ariel and Esther (Ariel’s mom) after praying along with many of our staff for Ariel as she left for South America to serve in our movement down there.
What is the “Superpower” of a Seven on a volunteer team?
One of the most common and high-impact roles Enthusiasts take on when they volunteer is that of a Host. This might take the form of:
M.C. at an event.
Welcome and announcements in worship services.
Upfront Host or Table Host at your assimilation program.
Housing or hosting special guests for the church in their home.
One thing I have learned is to not put a teacher in charge of your assimilation program: put a connector. This is where many Sevens shine. To connect guests, you need someone that solicits trust, not just someone with solid doctrine. Check out the 3rd mistake I see churches making when it comes to assimilation to go deeper on this issue.
Ariel went from someone I needed to give a pep talk to, to someone that became my favorite communicator for guests at Next Steps. She has recently finished language school in Costa Rica and has been pouring herself into people that bring her joy in Chile.
I am grateful God made her an Enthusiast. Connect as a many of them as possible as God leads them to you church. You will be glad you did.
In your assimilation environments, do you tend to use grounded teachers and theologians or someone who can rally others with a gift of hospitality?
When guests arrive in your assimilation program, do they have the ability to seat themselves at tables with other people who are similar to them?
What opportunities and relationships exist in your church that can help a Seven actually process their wounds and issues in a safe way when the time comes?
Does your church culture help people who may not be as detail oriented as others or as prompt improve their abilities? Does your church respond with hardline accountability or a spirit of equipping and encouragement to people like that? What kind of approach would you find practical and helpful to successfully challenge a Seven who may need to grow in those areas?
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Source: How a Type 7 on the Enneagram experiences your church and how to connect them