About 20-30 years ago, missiologists reframed our efforts at reaching the world with the life-transforming message of Jesus by pointing us towards people groups. The efforts of Wycliffe, Pioneers, Frontiers, the International Mission Board, and the U.S. Center for World Mission among others called the Church to focus our efforts and resources on the people groups which had yet to hear the Gospel. These people groups were connected by language and cultural affinity. As a result of their efforts, missionaries began to think in terms of reaching Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis rather than assuming all Iraqis were the same (for example).
Another people group has gone overlooked. There are many in this people group living right here among us in the United States. We need churches which will focus on reaching the intuitives.
Approximately 75% of all people in the U.S. who have taken the Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator were considered Sensing. These men and women gather information based on their senses – what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. They see facts and details. We need sensing people to fly our planes and teach our classes and do our taxes, among many other things. In fact, growing up we are graded in our schools by how well we can adjust to a predominantly Sensing society.
Only 25% are considered Intuitive. Intuitive people gather information based on the implications, the possibilities, the connections. In other words, if I were to hold a rose in the air in front of a crowd and asked a Sensing person to describe what they see, they would answer “red petals,” “green stem,” “thorns,” etc.. An Intuitive person would respond with answers such as “The Bachelor,” “my prom date,” “love,” and so on. They genuinely see the rose, and then their mind reminds them of a person, an experience, a story, an abstract idea, or another object.
You can imagine the conflict we have based on this simple exercise. Sensing people think Intuitive people are lying (or crazy). Intuitive people think Sensing people lack imagination. Neither are correct. We need both Intuitive and Sensing people to make the world go around. (For a recent movie which deals with this “battle” between Sensing and Intuition go see The Bridge to Teribithia. The main character’s dad is sensing. The girl who lives next door is intuitive).
So often our churches which are led by Sensing leaders reach out in ways that make sense to connect with Sensing people. Intuitive leaders do the same, speaking in ways that make sense to Intuitive people. We need both types of churches happening! If we were to guess, I would imagine 95% of our churches across the U.S. are geared more towards Sensing rather than Intuitive. We need to strategize new ways to communicate the truth of the Gospel in ways all can grasp and live out.
For great thoughts from others on this, check out the responses to the first time I posted this article.