INTJs theoretical model for preparing to give a sermon.

As an INTJ, I am always thinking. One of the things that I have thought about is how I want to prepare a sermon. I have turned the answer to the “How I want to prepare for a sermon?” question in theory and model form.

As a Christian INTJ, I live a more contemplative form of Christianity where I maintain myself open to God’s interruptions. It’s easier for us that way. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to put into sermon form whatever I learn from those interruptions. So the pre-first phase to prepare a sermon is getting the main idea.

Once the topic is in place, I am left with the task of preparing the sermon itself. I do the body of a sermon in an outline form. When I write the outline, I only put the minimum necessary to help me recall what I want to say about the topic. It is my preferred style because I can focus inwardly to get the rest of the rest of the content instead of having to get that from a paper.

Because the way I activate my intuitive processes is by asking myself questions and them waiting on my brain to subconsciously get the answer, I tend to structure my sermons in a question and answer form. I usually tend to follow the “The newspaper model”: “What? Who? How? When? Where? And why?” I call it the newspaper model because it’s what I was taught about how journalists wrote the beginning of newspapers articles.

Once I have the sermon prepared, assuming that I have already been assigned a date to preach, I make time to practice the sermon. When I practice, I try to keep in mind several things:

  1. I want the sermon to last between 30-45 minutes long, which is 3-4 pages of outline in Courier New 14 font. This is because I need to make my sermons fit into Thursday time slots for preaching. I also always practice with a chronometer.
  2. Reading of the Bible and the introduction shouldn’t last more than 5 minutes. My mentality is that I want to have as much time as I can to dedicate to the topic at hand. The way that I do this is making sure that I have my introduction is written in the outline as I would say it. I know from experimentation that if left to my own devices I would extend the introduction more than it should be.
  3. If I do it for the home crowd of my church, which is what I plan for, I try to make it so that the flow of the sermon goes from the base of what is known to whatever new idea I want to present, as if I am constructing an image in people’s minds.
  4. I also want people to walk away from the sermon with an idea of how to apply it in their daily life.

When I practice my sermon, I use 4 things:

  1. My phone’s chronometer. This way I know exactly how long my sermon will be.
  2. The final version of the outline on my tablet to get familiar with what I need to say with each bullet point.
  3. A surface to function as the podium.
  4. The Bible. I practice everything, including reading the Bible and praying for the moment.

What I look to determine during the practice is:

  1. What will I say?
  2. How will I say it?
  3. How will I move physically to enhance the sermon/calm my nerves?
  4. How long will I talk about each topic?
  5. How can I give this to make it relateable and applicable in their lives?

To be able to prepare good sermons, you have to be confident in who you are, what you stand for, and what you have to offer to your audience. You also have to allow that to be seen in a way that hasn’t really been seen before. I as an INTJ have to prepare myself for that, because I have many walls up at all times.

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INTJs theoretical model for preaching.

I as an INTJ love to preach. It is an opportunity to share what I have learned from God in recent times. I love it because I don’t get any response from other people until after I am finished. So I have an already thought out model for how I go about doing this.

When I start to preach I use the local church protocol when delivering a sermon because it allows for the physical nervousness to subside before I give any meaningful content.

The way I preach is based on three aspects:

  1. A sermon. Duh!
  2. Health Education intervention. I am a Health Educator, so I don’t believe in not using my education in whatever I do. I tend to be intentional in making sure that the content I bring is understandable and applicable in people’s lives. I make sure to market whatever I bring up can better the audience’s health.
  3. TED Talk. I love the laid back feeling of a TED Talk. I love the fact that they are such experts in their field/life experience that they don’t need to shout to get their point across.

 Because of how I practice my sermon, I tend to preach in chunks. How that looks like is:

  1. Read the bullet point behind the podium.
  2. Discuss whatever I need to discuss about the topic while moving around the altar.
  3. Get back to the podium from wherever I am when I am finished discussing a part of the outline… in silence.

I try to do as much of the sermon outside of the podium as I can. I do this because I plan it this way. I think that stepping out of the podium brings a bit of closeness to the audience because I am speaking to them in a more horizontal way. I also do it because being behind the podium makes me nervous. I know that being behind the podium has its function, but I prefer to not be behind it all the time.

When I preach I never do any praise to God during the sermon. Why? Because I believe that most people do it as a crutch to avoid any silences or indicators of nervousness. I already have enough to say to be wasting time by doing crutch praise.

Does INTJs ever say I love you.

I have noticed from looking at what posts gets viewed in a day that the post “When an INTJ is considering saying ‘I love you’ to someone” gets daily or almost daily views. When I saw this pattern, I got to thinking: Do I as an INTJ ever get to say “I love you” to whoever “deserves”it?

The quick answer is that 99.9% of the time I never get to say it.

Why is that? Saying “I love you” is expensive. It takes a lot of energy out of me because it is the phrase that I have the least amount of experience stating. It is a phrase that has so much weight that I am really hesitant to state it to the person, even if it were true. The other reason why I rarely say “I love you” is because the topic has never come about, and I don’t want to force it.

 

INTJs Theoretical model when giving a testimony

As my last few posts have shown, I like creating theoretical models to guide how I tackle different activities. It allows me to not have to improvise all the time, because I have “planned” for them prior to the moment of truth. Giving testimony is no exception. So here is an INTJs theoretical model when giving a testimony.

  1. Whatever the testimony is should be told in a short story format.
  2. Make the testimony funny. Don’t be afraid of making jokes… unless they are PG-13.
  3. Stay on topic.
  4. Only say what is required for people to understand what you want to testify about.
  5. Make sure God receives the glory.
  6. Come prepared with an outline of what you want to say… even if you end up not using it.
  7. Less is more. A good 5 minute testimony is better than a crappy 15 minute one.

INTJ theoretical framework when praying.

Lets’ be honest: the way we pray during a service is almost never the same way we pray outside of it. We have to pray out loud, remember what we are expected to pray for, and limit it to a certain time frame. I don’t pray during a service often. When I do, I want to have some guidelines in place to aid in improvising a prayer on the spot.

  1. Understand what you are praying for. Not all prayer is the same or done in the same way. There are intercession prayer, prayer for “God’s Word”, prayer to give thanks, prayer to start/end a service, prayer before/after giving a sermon, among others. Before you start deciding how to pray, understand what you are praying for.
  2. Have a go to introduction to prayer. An introduction to prayer doesn’t just give you something to say while your subconscious thinks of how to go about the prayer, but it also gives you something to say at the time to start being in the presence of God. My way to start a prayer tends to be: “God. We come to you with praise and adoration. We thank you for the opportunity to be here today to praise your name and learn about your ways without persecution.” Simple, right? It’s also a bit different than what other people do where I am at, because after about 20 years of practice I have found a way to make this part of my public prayers my own. Don’t be afraid to experiment and steal parts of other people’s introduction to prayer. But also be aware of what you are saying during those first sentences, because it shouldn’t just make sense. It should have meaning and sincerity and not just be a performance prayer.
  3. Stay on topic. Don’t pray for Israel when asked to pray for the Word of God. Staying on topic eliminates the probability that you will cause people to lose focus on the prayer. It will also model proper prayer to newer Christians.
  4. Be realistic. Prayers shouldn’t go against doctrine. Prayers shouldn’t place expectations that God wouldn’t fulfill. It should also encompass all possible scenarios to cover all of the bases.
  5. Less is more. Expectations of prayer is, at times, based on emotional things. It is not always necessary. What is necessary is that the Holy Spirit is involved in the prayer and backs it up. Good oratory is important in prayer, so as to keep people engaged. But if the Holy Spirit is not there oratory doesn’t matter.

INTJ theoretical framework when reading the Word of God.

After the blog post of How INTJs handle performance ministries in a church, I figured that I would share the theoretical frameworks that I use to do the performance tasks that I do at the church that I am a member of. I think that there could be someone out there in the Internet universe that can benefit from someone putting practical parameters to do the simple and not so simple tasks in a church.

When I created the theoretical framework that I use to read the Word of God, I used certain principles:

  1. God’s Word has Power.
  2. God’s Word has authority.
  3. God’s word has High points and low points because God is a God of emotion.
  4. God’s Word needs to be presented in its most lively form.
  5. God’s Word needs to provoke awe and amazement in the people hearing it.
  6. The reading of God’s Word need to give glory to God.

Having these principles in mind, I created a theory of how I should read the Word of God.

  1. Make sure that the font in the Bible that you are reading is big enough for you to read. If you are too nervous to read a small letter, ask someone to lend you a Bible with bigger font. It’s okay.
  2. Read at an appropriate speed. This will ensure that the reading in not so slow that people get bored from listening to you read and have their minds drift off, yet it isn’t so fast that people can’t understand what you are saying and/or can tell that you are nervous.
  3. Follow punctuation rules. Make sure that you have a good idea of what pauses are required in the text that you are reading and how long should they last. Also, if there is a question or exclamation mark, make sure to change the tone in which you are reading so that those punctuation marks are respected.
  4. Find the context of what you are about to read. This is important because you shouldn’t read a story the same way that you are reading something that God is saying, for example. Reading about good news shouldn’t be read the same way as reading verses about judgement. You shouldn’t just read the verses that are chosen to read just to minimize the amount of mistakes you do. You should read it to make sure that you have an understanding of how the reading of a text should sound based on the events that are occurring.
  5. Understand what your role is. You shouldn’t go to the altar to read the Bible to show how good you can be at reading the Bible or that your way of reading the Bible is better than everyone else. Reading the Bible should be more than a protocol thing that is a part of the program. It is a part of the service where there is an opportunity to find something more about who God is. Your role is to ensure that you do your part and read the Bible to the best of your abilities to facilitate that the seed can reach farther into people’s heart.
  6. Read with confidence, because God’s word has power and authority.
  7. Understand the limits of your voice.
  8. Understand how you use your voice in normal situations.
  9. Pray about what you are about to read and be sensitive to how God wants it to be read. More than making people happy about how you read the Bible, God has to be satisfied with how you are representing the presentation of God’s Word.

How INTJs handle performance ministries in a church.

I am one of the most active youth people in my church. I am a musician that plays both percussion and melodic instruments, mainly without being able to rehearse before I do (because it’s not a big part of church culture). I also work with turning the altar projector and the screen on and off. I also am the person that administer the wireless microphone in the church. I am also the person that deals with turning the lights on and off during service, both for function reasons and for dramatic effects (regardless of whether I am asked to or not). I am also the person that deals with the sound system in the church.

I am also the person who the Youth Group leader chooses to do performance things when its last minute and she doesn’t have anyone else to count on. I also do it in regular church services, but I am someone in the youth group who has been counted on to do things in the church last minute and do it well… and without getting “nervous”. What does this all mean for an INTJ who sucks at improvisation? I have to plan how to do everything ahead of time.

For an INTJ, having parameters as to how to do things is very important. It’s what allows me to do something with “little preparation”. I have a theoretical model for everything from reading the Bible to giving a sermon and everything in between. I take time to think about how something should be done and always have the perspective that the theory has to take into account my church culture and who I am as a person. I always think about the impact that I want to have in the church pew whenever I cast out a vision for a particular task. It is based on that vision that I set out to create what I need to create. It’s part of what my strengths as an INTJ are, so I need to use it.

Part of my preparation is rehearsing in my mind what I am going to say… or at least what am I going to start with. I don’t always have time to rehearse every single thing, but I can rehearse the main elements so as to not be as lost in the performance.

I can write of how I tackle different performance ministries, but it all follows the same principles:

  1. Always be prepared.
  2. Have a theoretical framework to fall back on.
  3. Be sensitive to God’s expectations.
  4. Understand that the nervousness you might feel is normal because you are taking a risk. It will not last forever. Don’t let yourself be dominated by your fight or flight response.
  5. When asked to do something last minute, I always say yes so as to not look like a coward. Nothing to do with serving God, I know. But I have to be honest with my motivations. Do I want to serve God to the best of my abilities? Yes. Is this what I think when I am asked to do something? Nope.
  6. Always ask/seek feedback. If the feedback is good, which almost always is, it will increase your dopamine levels. If not, you can learn and be better next time. So there is no way to loose here.
  7. Find ways to do it better next time and ways to better your theoretical frameworks with the practice that you got.

5 things to know when being a friend to both the husband and the wife when you are single.

In the last few years I found myself being friends with two married couples. As I thought about the particularities of being friends with both the husband and the wife, I realized that it would be good to blog about 5 things to know about being a friend to a married couple when you are single.

  1. You will always be the third wheel… unless you have a date or a friend with you.
  2. You will have to learn learned how to be neutral when the couple has conflict with each other.
  3. Both the husband and the wife will most likely share their thoughts regarding the same event with you. Don’t try to shut who shares their thoughts second. Just listen to them and learn about their perspective. It’s better for all parties if you make the sacrifice.
  4. Both the husband and the wife can be very different… and both have things that tick the other off. If you are good enough friends with them they will tell you what those differences are and why that ticks them off. Don’t let that affect the way that you think about the other… even though you might think the same thing.
  5. You can have a preference to be with one over the other, and that’s okay. Just know that it is in part your job to ensure that the friendship is at the same level with both parties involved… or at least keep that illusion afloat.

Getting asked for help by strangers.

This morning I was asked by an stranger that seemed to only speak English for help with his phone because the message app on his iPhone wouldn’t rotate the screen. He asked if I had an iPhone in my hand prior to him stating his problem. I helped him out with his problem by telling him how to close the app and open it again to reset the app and solve the problem. We both realized that he had not closed any apps from his phone and proceeded to close all of his apps. I shared info about what happens when we close apps in that manner. He stopped right away. He thanked me and went on with his life.

At this point in my life I am not surprised that strangers ask for help with things because of how often it happens. But I wonder how I as an INTJ get asked questions by strangers when I always give the non verbal message of wanting to have as little social contact as possible.

I guess that part of the rationale of those people is that I am viewed as someone who can help them fix their problem. Whether is in IT, English-Spanish/Spanish-English translation, fashion advice, or how to get from where we are at to where they want to go, I get approached by strangers who want my input in solving there problems.

When I was in college, I was asked by a freshman in the first week of my third or fourth year in college how to get to a particular class. He let me know that I looked like someone nice that wouldn’t rat him out and get him the freshman treatment at the university.

If I think of the feedback that I get when these moments happen, I would have to conclude that I get asked for things because I am approachable and seem to know enough to help them out or point them in the right direction.

I am not sure if this is something that happens to INTJs or it’s just something that happens to me. I don’t know if this is something that is part of the impression that the INTJ personality exudes or if this has more to do with what being the light of Jesus means.