My Advice for Two Very Different People Wanting to Partner Together in Ministry

Someone I know reached out to me about church planting. That’s not unusual, since I’ve planted a couple churches previously. 

Here’s the backend story before I share our dialogue.

His question had to do with working with others – forming a partnership with someone in ministry. I have a little experience here. I’ve done this in ministry – having a “co-pastor” arrangement. Also, during the transition between the vocational and business world, I had a unique opportunity several times to help several people in the business world onboard a partnership relationship. 

Because of previous posts on introverts, this person also knows we assess the same way on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. We are both INTJ’s.

Here’s his specific question: 

Ron, 

As an INTJ, would you feel good co-planting with an ENFP? Good complimentary roles? 

I’ve done some research and there seems to be some natural synergy but curious if you’ve had experience with it personally. 

Thanks, 

(Name withheld for privacy purposes)

My answer (edited for the blog),

Dear name withheld, 

Just so you know, when I take time to answer questions like this it often leads to a blog post.

First, let me be clear I would not refuse to serve with someone based on his or her personality type. I have partnered with people opposite of me several times in the past and it worked. Plus, I’ve counseled many more couples getting married and each one was extremely different. I happen to married to someone in many ways wired completely opposite from me. 

But it would cause me to ask “bigger” questions of each other.   And I think you can apply these questions to many of the relationships you will form in the process – from future staff to volunteers.

Here are three suggestions of questions I might start with: 

Do we ultimately want the same thing? 

Is the end goal for both of us the same? The reality is it will be each of your passion for the mission you’ve been called to – individually, but also collectively – that will drive things forward more than your personal wirings. You likely defy your wiring in many ways everyday just to make your marriage work – for example. There’s a higher reason and “calling” you are trying to fulfill. 

Are we each willing to submit to each other? (Eph 5:21)

Just for an example with your “J” and “P” difference: He’s going to like change a lot. You’re okay with it, because of your “N”, but you’re going to want to see progress towards some goals. His “P” will likely be more okay with activity if everyone’s enjoying the ride that day. (This is not meant to be condescending, just based on preferences.) Will he be okay if you put some deadlines on things and hold people (including him) more accountable? Will you be okay if he tells you every now and then just to “chill out” and celebrate the success you’ve already had? 

Can we trust each other? 

Ultimately, do you believe in each other and trust one another enough to work together; to make each other better, and to really let “iron sharpen iron”? Differences can create amazing synergy if two people willingly and humbly work together to allow it to happen. 

Praying for you.

Ron

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Ron Edmondson

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