At the age of 29, I was selected to become a deacon in the small rural African American Baptist church that I attend. This position is held in high regard in the church community as deacons are tasked with being the leaders of the church that assist the pastor with the spiritual and operational needs of the church. Deacons are responsible for helping pastors with congregational care as well as evangelism and outreach that would in return grow the congregation. In most churches in my area, deacons are seasoned men. My church is an anomaly in our area as our deacon’s ministry consists of both men and women, but the ministry does fit the tradition of being comprised of individuals that are sixty plus in age. When I completed the process to become a deacon I knew that the new leadership position would come with challenges such as how we view situations because of age differences, the desire to step out of our comfort zones, and previous relationships with the team and with the pastor.
Last fall the pastor of the church approached the deacons about his vision for paving a new parking lot on the property. The church parking area is gravel and during weather events the parking lot takes a toll. The pastor used his interpersonal dominance to convince to try to convince this team that embarking on this project would be good for the church for several reasons. The means of financing this project would come from refinancing the mortgage on the building that would be paid off in less than two years. When this was presented to the group it took a while for it to be processed. Several of the team members had no initial response. Others asked a lot of clarifying questions to learn more information. Several meetings were held to discuss this plan and several times the dynamics of the group were very challenging at times. This decision did not go as the pastor thought it would and caused some tension among the team.
The team of deacons is comprised of seven individuals three men, four women, five seventy plus, one sixty plus, and me in my thirties. If I were to estimate the MBTIs for the members of the team, I would start with the team being comprised of all introverts. Working on a team comprised of all introverts can be frustrating at times. Knowing that I am a strong introvert I know that introverts tend to be quiet and take time to digest what others are saying. Introverts are not quick to speak and do not obtain their energy from meeting with others. One of the co-chairs of the group Deacon Sims is the senior member. He is the oldest and also has served the longest. His estimated MBTI would be ISTJ. Deacon Sims is one only looks at tangible information. He is a critical thinker and bases decisions on logic. He comes to conclusions quickly on serious matters and wants to keep things moving. Deacon Jones is an introvert that leans towards the behaviors of an extrovert. In working with him I can see his intuition looking at the big picture of situations. I also see that he is a thinker and judges when making decisions. The women of the team are all feeler. When making decisions they tend to allow their personal feelings and values influence the decisions that they make. Finally, for me, I am an ISTP. In the dynamics of the group, my skills are seen when I sit back and observe and listen to the group. I can sometimes be known to cross over into judging, but my ability to perceive is good for the group and bringing all things out in the open before decisions are made.