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AN NT (Intuitive Thinker) Using Temperament to Influence and SP (Sensory Seeker)

Jessica is the kind of youth minister you want your son or daughter to have! She has a heart to know each person in her group on a very deep level so that she can impact them in life-changing ways. Surprisingly, Jessica is a calm, cool and collected, INTJ or Intuitive thinker. NT’s typically are more aloof when it comes to their relationships and tend to be more engaged with facts and ideas then they are with people. I first met Jessica in one of my Master Your Mischief Maker seminars.

Jessica has an SP teenage girl in her youth group that she was having a difficult time reaching. SP stands for Sensing and Perceiving, or in easier terms to grasp: Sensory Seeking and Practical. An SP has a hard time sitting still and paying attention because they are looking to stimulate their senses and their tendency is to do their own thing rather than conform to the expectations of someone. They would rather please themselves and have fun at all costs!

When Jessica began strategically planning what she could do to reach this young girl (that is what NT’s do; strategize), she remembered the binder full of tips on how to work with each temperament from the seminar. Jessica shares,

“I actually just pulled out my binder again because we’ve been at a loss at how to help her and her mom- we came up with a bunch of ideas this afternoon and we feel good about having a plan now! We figured out that she isn’t likely to follow the rules unless she helps to set them. So we’re going to have a Jr. High Community Contract night to create our Jr. High youth rules as a whole.”

Since SP’s long for the freedom to do things their way and in their time, it is important to give your SP child choices as often as possible! Letting them help set the rules is a brilliant idea! My little niece is an NT with a similar need for independence. NT’s and SP’s have this in common. Recently when I asked if she had a favorite teacher (a tall order for an NT since many times they are bored in school) she shared that she loved her math teacher because he gives them 50 problems and lets them choose which ten they want to work on.

Employers are starting to understand that they may need a different set of standards for their “out of the box” (SP/NT) programmers. They will give these freedom seeking employees a list of tasks and let the employees decide the order in which they are completed or they may allow a more flex schedule. SP’s hate rigidity and will fight against it!

Jessica continues, “We also realized that we were having a hard time getting her to listen to us and not tune out during service. We’re going to ask her to run the media so she has to actively listen in order to know when to change the slides. We’re also considering adding some exercise balls for her and some of the others to sit on and getting her a sketch pad so she can doodle or draw during service.”

It is always a good idea to keep your SP’s busy and moving! They are very tactile and love to use their hands. Many times SP’s skip college and go to a trade school or they start their own business where they can be their own boss.

Jessica shares another idea. “We’ve thought about having a walking service where we walk to one location and have a word, then move to another location for more. Also, for one on one we’re going to try asking her to help us cook a special dinner for our families and when the weather is nice go for short hikes to talk. During camp she has a hard time because things are so scheduled.  We may let her do some of the activities differently like prayer walking, or listening to worship music and dancing as a way of spending time with God, rather than just sitting quietly and reading her Bible”

Walking and talking is always a great way to engage with your SP and having them make dinner teaches them to follow directions since many times and SP will quickly skim over details. SP’s LOVE to eat because they love the sensory experience of tasting delicious flavors. If they don’t follow directions in cooking, the flavors may not be as delicious!

Jessica concludes, “I’ve been amazed by how much more of an impact I’ve been able to have with the kids by just understanding their temperament and how to most effectively reach out to them”.

Temperament study is a WIN WIN for an NT like Jessica. Because NT’s can struggle with interpersonal relationships since they are more fact-oriented than people oriented. Temperament gives them a scientifically proven way of understanding and working with people. Teach your NT temperament and you may wind up with a Jessica down the road; someone who cares deeply for others. And of course, the other win is the impact she will have on those in her youth group and her own family members.

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