The FOUR in me…

Exploring the Ennegram at AC3…personally


Among the many nuances of the Enneagram is the shape of the graphic itself: the lines that run between each of the types. Without these lines, the Enneagram is just a list of human personalities traits. The lines describe subtle interactions which offer some of the most helpful insights.

For example, in my case as a TWO type, there is line connecting me to the EIGHT and to the FOUR types. Roughly, this means that under certain circumstances, a TWO will “go to EIGHT or go to FOUR”, meaning they will express some of the characteristics of that type. Notice a ONE type can also “go to FOUR” but they also “go to SEVEN”, and onward the pattern continues.

TWO “goes to” FOUR?

Some Ennegram experts see a pattern to these moves. It’s thought that each type moves in one direction when they are under stress, and in the other direction when they are growing or healthy. There’s some debate about how specific these “moves” are. But there is little debate about the idea that we move. If the “stress” and “growth” theory is to be trusted (and I think it largely should be) then as a TWO, I don’t just “go to FOUR” – I “grow to FOUR”. Further, it means that the best qualities of the FOUR type can show up in me, a TWO type.

TWO moves toward FOUR when growing, toward EIGHT when stressed.

Personally, the best of the FOUR arrives in the form of confidence. I don’t stop caring about people, I don’t become less attuned to feelings and relationships, but I do become less dependent on them and I learn to trust my own unique (Individual!) voice and impulses. I’m willing to take some risks, express myself in ways that run the risk of alienating people, but serve as honest and creative ways of letting God shine through me.

I’m wondering: What are the best parts of the FOUR that show up around AC3? The arts is the most obvious and easiest to see. Letting God’s creativity shine not just through drama, music and other performance, but creativity in how we do church, the way we organize ourselves and lead. Innovation and risk taking are all FOUR aspects of AC3.

AC3 let’s her FOUR flag Fly!

In addition, FOURS feel deeply. In fact they can sometimes get “lost” in their feelings. Sometimes I wonder if AC3 has wandered off course here and there because we collectively feel like the outsider church. It’s a an embarrassing blend of pride (for being different than other churches) and resentment (even anger) at not “succeeding” like the other churches. It’s worth considering if this is something to be be repented of.

FOURS are little complicated. Yet, it’s part of what makes them great. It’s from this complex turmoil that wonder and passion and amazing art spring….for the glory of God.

Check out the AC3`s sermon series about the Enneagram every weekend until Easter.


57 year old husband of 31 years, father of two, drumming Gardner.