The Spirituality of the ESTJ

You know that man who doesn’t really like to come to worship or Sunday School (and, when he does, rarely talks), but is always the first to volunteer for the mission project?  He’s probably an ESTJ.

What are they like?

ESTJs are the “get ‘er done” people of this world.  Tell them what needs accomplishing and they will accomplish it.  They do not want to spend time talking about the theory behind a project, they just want to do it.  They are tenacious, and have an uncanny ability to get people on board with a project.

Ambiguity is not in the ESTJ’s vocabulary, and they have little tolerance for what they see as waffling in others.  If you are perceived as incompetent or half-hearted, then the ESTJ will pass you by.

Where do they find value in their religious life?

No matter the area of religious life, the ESTJ is the one leading the charge.  If they have an understanding of service, they will be the ones in charge of the Habitat for Humanity build, or another big missions project.

They will often say that they are the ones with the simple faith.  They’ll “leave the complex theology to others” and focus on what they believe God has called them to do.  If they can’t see their results then they do not feel like they have done anything worthwhile.

What practices help them stay balanced and centered in God?

Accomplishing anything concrete is a great practice for an ESTJ.  Putting this person in charge of a mission project will fill them with more joy than sitting through a sermon.

What practices push them to go beyond themselves and sacrifice for others?

The place of growth for the ESTJ is reflective biblical and theological study.  Although not predisposed towards complex theory, the more their inner compass of “right and wrong” is grown the better for us all.

* * * * * * * * * *

I really like the ESTJ.  I know several in the congregation I serve and they are awesome people.  Many times, they think I’m a freak and question why I would push the boundaries of faith like I do.  What I have found to be important is that I help them to understand how the things I am talking about translate to concrete benefit for others.  Once they see that connection, they are all over it.

Change Agents should spend time with ESTJs to get them on board with the goals of the change project.  If the ESTJ can clearly see how a course of action will benefit others, then they will begin marshaling others and their resources to accomplish it.

4 thoughts on “The Spirituality of the ESTJ

  1. Statistically, SJs (whether ISFJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, or ESTJ) make up 40 percent or more of the general population, though they often make up a majority of members in the institutional church. This is because SJs tend to be characterized by a sense of duty, loyalty, and tradition — the very qualities that promote and maintain established institutions. We should not be surprised, therefore, that SPs, NTs, and NFs can find themselves hitting up against a brick wall when suggesting change, let alone affecting change.

    Like SJs, SPs make up 40 or more percent of the general population. NTs and NFs each make up less than ten percent of the general population, though NFs make up as much as 50 percent of clergy. I’ll be interested to see how you address the interplay between these different temperaments as you continue your discussion of spirituality and metanoia.

    • Those percentages are really the reasons I started where I did with the types. I wanted to focus on the more dominant ones first since they make up the majority of our churches. If we do not understand who they are, we have no hope of affecting change.

      Thanks for the comment. I do hope you’ll add more wisdom as we go along.

  2. Spot on. Although I don’t like most traditions or old time church. I do agree with the action orientation rather than theory.
    The church tends to see and treat us like work dogs with no opinion. That’s why I stay away from most churches. I don’t like being used.

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