Can the Enneagram Help You Respond to Poverty?

The Enneagram personality test is a growing trend among many Christian communities. And we think it can help you learn how you can uniquely respond to poverty!

An up-close of fingers making the peace sign. Text: The Enneagram, the Gospel and Poverty

The Enneagram is a personality typing tool that outlines nine basic personality types that people generally fall under. It’s a tool that describes your personality in terms of who you are and how you relate to God, others and yourself. To learn more about the nine types and discover yours, doing some reading at The Enneagram Institute is a great place to start!

As Carey Nieuwhof puts it,

“It’s hard to know God if you don’t know yourself. And it’s hard to truly know yourself if you don’t know God. You can’t be spiritually mature and be emotionally immature.”

What’s the Enneagram have to do with the gospel and poverty?

We serve a God who cares deeply for the marginalized in society. The Bible is filled with holy calls for justice and compassion. But, sometimes phrases like “seek justice” and “love mercy” seem so colossal, we don’t know where to begin! We often think that we are not the right people to deal with such complexities.

But, that’s where we’re wrong! The Bible says that we’re equipped for every good work through Christ. We already have the tools — we just need to learn how to use them. When you understand how you’re wired, your journey in helping those around you can become much more robust and tangible.

So, how can you best fight poverty in a way that helps you thrive? Let’s take a look!

Enneagram Type 1: The Reformer

A ballerina poses in a grove of trees. Text: Type 1: The Reformer.

You are ralliers — the advocates. The ones with such a strong drive to make things right in the world that you can get anyone on board with the mission. You have a gift of knowing what is wrong in the world, and are driven to do something about it. With your organized nature and fiery vision, you have the capacity to make real change happen. When it comes to a massive issue like poverty, we need people like you to both raise the sails of the boat and keep the boat afloat.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Perfectionism
  • Highly organized and tidy
  • Idealist
  • Motivated to make the world a better place
  • Dependable

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Start a blog or use social media to educate people on the realities of poverty globally and locally.
  • Organize, create or join with the missions team at your church that serves local ministry organizations.
  • Lead a video or book study to help people understand the issues of poverty.
  • Organize an event or get-together, like a Compassion Sunday, to advocate for an issue you are passionate about.

Enneagram Type 2: The Helper

Two women sit on a couch with heads bowed, praying. Text: Type 2: The Helper

You are the feelers. You’re the ones who don’t just watch people sitting in the pit from above, but you get into the pit with them. You are the Kleenex-box holders, the back rubbers, the prayer warriors. The ones who find great joy and meaning in being there for others. You’re the ones who live with open doors in your home and in your heart.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Caring and interpersonal
  • Servants and hosts
  • Intuitive
  • Nurturing
  • Sensitive

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Stop and make conversation with people who are asking for money on the street. Get to know names and stories.
  • Volunteer at a nonprofit that offers counseling and community to those who are facing different types of poverty.
  • Practice radical hospitality by inviting people into your home who you would not usually, like a newcomer family or at-risk youth.
  • Be intentional with your relationship with your sponsored child. Write regularly and visit them to deepen your relationship.
  • Volunteer your evenings at game nights or other events in your city that help people find community.

Enneagram Type 3: The Achiever

A man stands facing away from the camera, holding a trophy behind his back.Text: Type 3: The Achiever

You are the go-getters. The ones who are energized by not only getting the ball rolling, but pushing it past the finish line. You are the book-your-calendar-full, go-for-a-run-on-a-Saturday-morning type. Your “can-do” spirit is needed to help get ideas off the ground into realities. Your deep love for Christ motivates you to do everything you do excellently and fully for His glory.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Goal oriented
  • Driven
  • Highly focused and productive
  • Efficient
  • Practical

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Join a board or committee for your favorite local or global poverty alleviation organization.
  • Start a fundraiser for a local or global poverty alleviation organization — this will help you use your energy to see a goal achieved.
  • Connect people in your networks who you know could join forces in accomplishing big things in the fight against poverty and injustice.
  • Volunteer to present or write grants on behalf of nonprofit organizations.
  • Seek to lead a missions outreach group at your church — to help get theories off the ground into reality.

Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist

Someone sits at a table, holding paint brushes in each hand, covered in paint. Text: Type 4: The Individualist

You are the creatives. The ones who are deeply moved by just the right song or are happiest with a day spent painting on a canvas while listening to the pitter-patter of rain on your window sill. You are not only in tune with your own emotions, but deeply intuitive with those around you. You see the profound beauty of the Creator and reflect the same beauty in all you do.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Creative
  • Compassionate
  • Introspective
  • Artistic
  • Expressive

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Use your artistic gift — whether you are a crafter, a musician, a writer — to create an art piece, song or book of poetry that shares about the realities of poverty.
  • Pursue a career at an organization where you can use your creative gifts to seek justice.
  • Create an Etsy or Instagram business that gives part of the proceeds to an organization of your choice that fights against poverty.
  • When you purchase art pieces or clothing (because we know you will), support companies that empower people in poverty, like Ten Thousand Villages or Compassion.

Enneagram Type 5: The Observer

A woman in a white shirt and jeans sits on the ground outside, looking off to the side. Text: Type 5: The Observer

You are the insightful ones. The ones of quiet confidence and a love for knowledge. You see the world in terms of learning, knowledge and reason. You are the observers, fascinated with the intricacies of the world, longing to figure out why things are the way they are. You are the visionaries who take the time to not only question the status quo, but to understand it. In the work of alleviating poverty, your deep longing to learn more and solve problems is profoundly needed.

Your unique qualities:

  • Innovative
  • Analytical
  • Observant
  • Independent
  • Contemplative

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Offer to help with behind-the-scenes work such as providing technical expertise at poverty awareness events.
  • Volunteer as a researcher for anti-poverty organizations (Yes, this role exists!).
  • Join a Christian think tank or a research foundation whose goal is to translate the richness of the Christian faith into the public sphere for the common good.
  • Help people intellectually understand the problem of poverty and injustice through writing or speaking.

Enneagram Type 6: The Loyalist

Two girls walk away from the camera, with their arms around each other. Text: Type 6: The Loyalist

You are the devoted ones. The soundtrack to your life is likely, “I’ll stand by you” or “Lean on me.” Loyalty is no small thing in a culture that leans away from commitment. With your love for safety and security, you like to be sure of what you’re getting yourself into before you’re fully on board. You love things that are trustworthy and true, and you stick with them. Loyalty and commitment are hugely needed in the movement to end poverty as it is not an easy or fast fight. In this movement, we need people who will be in it for the long haul.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Highly devoted
  • Love for safety and security
  • Tend to play it safe
  • Will give everything for the people they love
  • Self-sacrificial

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Serve on the board of one organization you really trust that is working to end poverty.
  • Consider sponsoring a child — commitment and loyalty are key in this role!
  • Join the prayer team at your church or become a prayer warrior for your favorite organization.
  • Help people choose organizations to support based on financial accountability and integrity.

Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast

A man jumps off of a cliff into the water above a sunset. Text: Type 7: The Enthusiast

You’re the ones who light up the room when you walk in. You’re not ones for routine or staying still. You’re the ones who just go for it while others may take their time in caution. You like to march to the beat of your own drum, making sure you keep things new, fresh and thrilling for everyone else! Your enthusiasm is just what we need in the fight against poverty. Fighting poverty can sometimes be uncomfortable, so having those on board who like to try new things is just what we need!

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Spontaneous
  • Positive
  • Enthusiastic
  • Loves bringing joy to others

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Invest in an intercultural experience like taking a summer trip with an organization you support to build relationships with those who live differently than you.
  • Live in a new community, domestically or internationally, being open to how God can teach you and use you.
  • Be a summer camp counselor in your city for a day camp that brings joy and opportunity to underprivileged children and youths.
  • Volunteer at special events like concerts or conferences with your favorite nonprofit.
  • Use all that pent-up energy to get active for a cause!

Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

A woman speaks into a megaphone. Text: Type 8: The Challenger

You are the natural-born leaders — the bold and assertive ones. You have a strong conviction of what is right and what is wrong. Your bold and commanding voice challenges others, particularly those in power, to step up for what is right. You see what the world needs, and you’ll stop at nothing to get it done.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Decisive
  • Willful
  • Straightforward
  • Committed
  • Known to stand up for the weak

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Write to or set up a meeting with your local representatives to have productive conversations on what the government is doing about local and global poverty.
  • Participate in events or rallies that focus on drawing attention to the issues of local and global poverty in a respectful and loving way.
  • Challenge your friends to join the conversation on working to end poverty — your passion is contagious!
  • Participate in a marathon or athletic event, like a CauseTrek, that raises money for those entrenched in poverty!

Enneagram Type 9: The Peacemaker

A close-up of fingers making the peace sign. Text: Type 9: The Peacemaker

You are the ones who keep everyone else at ease. Your heart beats for harmony, unity and wholeness in all things. Your empathy and longing for peace and justice is what motivates you. Your easygoing presence not only makes others want to be around you, but it makes you someone others can trust. Your sense of calm is much needed for an issue like poverty that is anything but. Your heart for others makes you a passionate advocate for those in need.

Your Unique Qualities:

  • Easygoing
  • Reassuring
  • Adaptable
  • Patient
  • Empathetic

Ways to Use Your Gifts to Fight Poverty:

  • Volunteer to work with kids and youths in communities with high rates of conflict and violence, being a peaceful and steady presence in their lives.
  • Listen to and tell the stories of people who have suffered from injustice.
  • Help others process and envision their justice-seeking ideas and initiatives out loud to you.
  • Pray that the peace you long for inside of you would also flow into the communities around the world where people experience the deep uprooting of poverty — keep a prayer journal with you for when you hear stories of those suffering.

However you’re wired, we believe you are called and equipped to join in the fight against poverty!


3 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Kelly August 17, 2019

    Beautiful topic and post! Beautiful pics/font/design too! Props to the author. I had not heard of the Enneagram test, but this prompted me to take it and the results confirmed what God has already been speaking to me about lately. So thankful!

  2. Jill August 15, 2019

    I love this! I am an Enneagram type 1 and this description rings so true. I think this is my new favorite blog post.

  3. SUSAN MCCONNELL August 15, 2019

    This is a nice article. I cannot decide which type I am though. Maybe a mixture of a few!

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