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Preaching Through the Lens of the Enneagram — 10,000 Fathers Worship School

HOW TO USE THIS TOOL:When you’re wanting to connect a point with your congregation, choose one type from each of the 3 Centers to speak to and you’ll be connecting with 100% of your congregation. Maybe for one point, you choose 8, 5 and 2. Maybe another is 9, 6, 3. As you progress through your sermon, you can address the specific fears, desires and motivations listed in the detailed chart below.

For example, imagine you’re wanting to pose a compelling point about the beauty of living with the Holy Spirit within us. Instead of shooting in the dark, saying, “The Holy Spirit does so many things for us… He can encourage us when we’re feeling discouraged, He can pray on our behalf to the Father, He can guide us when we’re unsure which way to go… If you’re a parent, the Holy Spirit can help you love your children better. If you’re married, He can give you intuition to love your spouse more creatively…” So on, so forth.

It’s good. It’s true, after all. But is it resonating with your community at a soul level? Is it peeking behind their ego to reveal their deeper desires?

Now, using this tool, let’s try again.

“Imagine you’re having one of those days, when you’re feeling that ever-present shame brimming under the surface, and everything inside of you just wants to hide it and pretend everything is OK… Or it’s one of those days that you’re consumed with anxiety—it seems everywhere you turn just adds to the fear. You open Facebook or turn on the news, or you look at your bank account, or you’re dreading that upcoming doctor’s appointment. Or maybe you’re just feeling ‘over it’ and you just want to give up. It’s not worth it. You’re angry, even though you’d never admit it. You don’t know why but you want to punch something (or someone!)… The beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He is with us through it all. He’s there with us in the shame, there with us in the midst of fear, and there with us when we’re angry. And in each of those circumstances He’s patiently extending to us a spirit of openness (instead of hiddenness), of trust (instead of fear), and of peace (instead of anger). We are fully known (and fully loved) by God. What a freeing truth!”

I trust you recognize the difference here. The Enneagram is almost a cheat-sheet for better understanding the fears, desires and motivations of our congregations. As long as we don’t use this tool as a way to label people, or reduce their struggle to a number on a page, it will serve us well.

I pray that God uses this tool in your life to bring greater clarity and connectivity to your preaching.