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How the Enneagram Shows Up in Ministry: Perspectives from Nine Young Clergy Women

How the Enneagram Shows Up in Ministry:
Perspectives from Nine Young Clergy Women

Compiled and edited by Alison VanBuskirk Philip

If you spend much time in clergy circles, you’ve probably heard of the Enneagram, a model for understanding the variety of motivations and fears of the human psyche. Its popularity in Christian subculture is due in part to the work of Richard Rohr, Ian Cron, and Suzanne Stabile. Unlike other personality-typing systems, the Enneagram’s focus is less on behavior and more on the desires and motivations that compel behavior. It suggests that there are nine basic structures that the ego takes on to meet its needs. Each type has a core motivation and a core fear that result in particular mental and emotional patterns. As the Enneagram helps name and illuminate these patterns, we are able to make informed choices about how to live authentically. The awareness it brings allows us to access and develop our healthiest selves in order to share the gifts God has given us.

Many young clergy women have found the Enneagram to be a helpful tool in ministry and spiritual growth. One school of Enneagram tradition is called the Narrative Enneagram, pioneered by David Daniels, which bases its teachings on panels of people who share their experience of their type in their own words. In this spirit, we have invited nine young clergy women to share about how their type impacts their ministry and about the wisdom they have gleaned from applying the Enneagram to their experience in professional ministry.

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