Called for Leadership: Psychological Type Profile of Leaders within the Newfrontiers Network of Churches in the United Kingdom

By Francis, Leslie J.; Robbins, Mandy et al. | Journal of Psychology and Theology, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

Called for Leadership: Psychological Type Profile of Leaders within the Newfrontiers Network of Churches in the United Kingdom


Francis, Leslie J., Robbins, Mandy, Ryland, Andrew, Journal of Psychology and Theology


The aims of this study are to examine the psychological type profile of leaders within the Newfrontiers network of churches and to compare those data with the psychological type profile of lead elders reported by Francis, Gubb, and Robbins (2009) in order to test whether the wider leadership reflected or complemented the profile of the lead elders. Data provided by 154 leaders, who completed the Francis Psychological Type Scales, suggested that the leadership teams reflect rather than complement the strengths of lead elders. Among these leaders there are preferences for extraversion (52%), sensing (71%), thinking (60%), and judging (86%). The combined STJ preference accounts for 40% of the leaders, indicating a church that is well equipped with practical, organisational management rather than with inspirational pastoral care.

Psychological type theory is being used across a range of Christian denominations to illuminate areas of church life, including different ways of praying (Duncan, 1993), different perspectives on preaching (Francis & Village, 2008), different approaches to evangelism (Butler, 1999), and different ways of exercising leadership and ministry (Oswald & Kroeger, 1988). Psychological type theory has its roots in the insights of Carl Jung into major patterns in human psychological functioning (Jung, 1971). The theory as originally proposed by Jung and subsequently developed and expanded by others distinguishes between two orientations (extraversion and introversion), two perceiving functions (sensing and intuition), two judging functions (thinking and feeling), and two attitudes toward the outer world (judging and perceiving).

Psychological Type Theory

The two orientations are concerned with where energy is drawn from; energy can be gathered either from the outside world or from the inner world. Extraverts (E) are orientated toward the outside world; they are energised by the events and people around them. They enjoy communicating and thrive in stimulating and exciting environments. They prefer to act in a situation, rather than to reflect on it. They may vocalise a problem or an idea, rather than thinking it through privately. They may be bored and frustrated by silence and solitude. They tend to focus their attention upon what is happening outside themselves and may be influenced by the opinions of other people. They are usually open individuals, easy to get to know, and enjoy having many friends. In contrast, introverts (I) are orientated toward their inner world; they are energised by their inner ideas and concepts. They may feel drained by events and people around them. They prefer to reflect on a situation rather than to act in it. They enjoy solitude, silence, and contemplation, as they tend to focus their attention on what is happening in their inner life. They may appear reserved and detached as they are difficult to get to know, and they may prefer to have a small circle of intimate friends rather than many acquaintances.

The perceiving functions are concerned with the way in which people receive and process information; this can be done through use of the senses or through use of intuition. Sensing types (5) focus on the realities of a situation as perceived by the senses. They tend to focus on specific details, rather than the overall picture. They are concerned with the actual, the real, and the practical, and they tend to be down-to-earth and matter-of-fact. They may feel that particular details are more significant than general patterns. They are fond of the traditional and conventional. They may be conservative and tend to prefer what is known and well-established. In contrast, intuitive types (N) focus on the possibilities of a situation, perceiving meanings and relationships. They may feel that perception by the senses is not as valuable as information gained from the unconscious mind; indirect associations and concepts impact their perceptions. …

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