Branding is kind of a big deal these days. You know—creating the physical/sensory expressions that accurately communicate the essence of a thing. Sometimes it can drift into silliness. But the branding process provides some useful tools, when you’re thinking about how to reach a lost soul, how to minister to a new believer, or how to create a program for a Bible conference.
…there are four main personality/decision styles.
Basically, there are four main personality/decision styles. Each has certain preferences. And each is motivated by certain types of things. They are (we are short-handing here)—
Of course, almost everyone’s individual personality crosses the lines and includes some of each of these. But most people are predominantly one or another. And now a word about each.
These are people who see the big picture and make decisions about it. They love having a lot of data at their disposal (although they don’t always spend a lot of time looking at all the data). When you need a quick, confident decisions, or when you need someone to make a hundred decisions a day, these are your guys. They tend to say things like, “We need to do this,” or “Just give me the bottom line.”
At a Bible conference, these folks want a well-planned schedule, jam packed with information input. They aren’t terribly interested in a lot of “chit-chat,” especially the “fluffy” kind (which is the kind that does not directly input what they consider useful information into their brains).
Parenthesis, this year, includes five main sessions (the same amount as last year), four sessions for Millennial brothers (one fewer than last year), and two long Breakdown sessions (fewer but longer than last year). Since a pure “executive” can never get enough input, and does not particularly value a lot of the other stuff, we wanted to make the conference valuable for these folks, even as we understand that they can never get enough.
These are folks who like having everything in order, and who want to participate in putting everything in order. They are the kinds of folks whose apartments have current magazines, neatly fanned out on the coffee table. They are also the folks who work well with Executives, by keeping their information in order and readily accessible.
At a Bible conference, Organizers are the people who have a handle on the registration process. Who is going where. What is in the packet. They’re the folks who have their schedule tucked neatly into the front of their Bible case, and who refer to it often, in order to help keep us all on schedule.
Organizers get satisfaction from a conference that runs like a well-oiled machine. And they become frustrated by schedule delays, disorderly mealtimes, or uncertainty in the registration and assignment of accommodations.
Empathizing with the Organizers among us, Parenthesis is making some adjustments from last year. For planning purposes, we are working with a “50-minute hour,” which allows ten minutes per hour for transitions. This should make it easier to stay on schedule, so we don’t feel rushed or backed-in. Also, we plan to publish the schedule and put it into packets, so everyone will be able to keep track of where we are at all times. Also, we are being transparent about the planning process, so that we give you the information we have, even as we inform you that more information will be coming. For example, we have a main speaker (Keith Trevolt), a moderator (Michael Donahue), a music leader (Bobby Glendinning), a venue (Camp Hope), and a curriculum designer for breakdown sessions (David Nicholson). We want you to know these things, even though we are still working on secondary sessions, free-time activities, at other details. We will update you as we know more.
These are people who get satisfaction and comfort from interpersonal relationships and music (not sure why those things are connected, but they are). They tend to be the people who notice how you are feeling and ask you about it. They are the ones who introduce people to each other. They are the ones who organize outings and create activities for their friends. They’re also the people who get everyone singing along with the radio, when you’re on a road trip. They tend to take other people’s feelings and what “everyone is doing” into account when they make decisions. They are great sales people, counselors, and care takers.
At a Bible conference, Interactors want to arrive with a carload of friends, catch up with old friends, meet new friends, spend time early in the morning and late at night having deep conversations with groups of people about feelings and experiences. They are all about relationships. In the local assembly, they are the glue that makes fellowship work.
This year, Parenthesis is designed to accommodate Interactors in several ways. First, the 50-minute hour allows for some leisurely transitions from one session to another. So, Interactors can talk with others about what we just heard, how the conferences is going, and what happens next…ten-minute opportunities to develop and deepen relationships. Also, the schedule includes a more open-ended evening session on both Friday and Saturday evening, during which there will be plenty of singing, as well as lots of time to get to know each other.
Finally, the visionary is the one who is always asking “what if?” These folks are writers, poets, R&D engineers, architects, app developers…. They tend to have rich internal dialogs going inside their heads. So, when they read a book or watch a movie, there’s a whole other commentary going on…“what’s that guy doing there…why should I care about these people…that was a dumb thing to say…they want me to think this is the bad guy, but I kinda like him….”
At a Bible conference, Visionaries want to learn BIG IDEAS about how the Bible works. They want to shake things up. They want to challenge convention, even as they want to be convinced of the rightness of convention. When confronted with things like, “we don’t use a piano,” “we don’t teach at the Lord’s Supper,” “sisters should cover their heads at the meetings,” “Biblical oversight is important and we must avoid cultivating a clergy class,” “scripture comments on scripture,” “Biblical history and geography are literal,” “you MUST be born again…,” they may say, “says who?” Or, “show me.” Or, “you can’t prove that from scripture.” Or “how do you know that?”
To others, this may seem like a rejection of authority. But to the Visionary, this is simply how you learn…how iron sharpens iron.
Parenthesis was designed to accommodate Visionaries in a lot of ways. The Inquiry Bible Study Method, used for the Breakdown Sessions, is based on a pedagogical approach in which participants “inquire” of the text, via “authentic activities.” Although this is a great way for any personal style to learn, it is especially good for Visionaries, because it invites them to ask questions and engage their imaginations.
The authentic activities designed by David Nicholson simulate the study methods of top Bible scholars and teachers, so you can use methods David Gooding or William MacDonald may have used…and arrive at your own conclusions (the same way they did). This is perfect for a Visionary sort of person.
One thing that makes a community strong is the recognition, by each individual, of the value of both their own style (and it’s inherent strengths and weaknesses) and the styles of others (with their strengths and weaknesses).
…think about you own style, and observe what‘s great about the styles of the others in the community
As we approach the second iteration of Parenthesis, “What Think Ye of Christ?” one thing each person can do is think about you own style, and observe what‘s great about the styles of the others in the community.
God created all sorts of personal styles. It would not do for Barnabas to be just like Paul, or for Timothy to be just like Titus, or for David to be just like Samuel, or for Elijah to be just like Jeremiah. We are all functioning members of one body. And each is equipped to serve the function we’ve been given. So, register. Come. Enjoy. And grow together with everyone else who will be there.