To many people, saying that their church is like a zoo would be an insult. In all actuality, general traits that are found in the animal kingdom can be related to personalities found in every church. In order for our churches to run smoothly we must be willing to realize the personality differences among the Family of God for the purposes of plugging people into the right areas of ministry. This would be comparable to Spiritual gift assessments.
In my observation, I have noticed 7 personality traits that are found in every church.
1. Penguin- Many people know the penguin as the animal that always wears a tuxedo. It could be helpful, however to look at one particular trait of this animal to illustrate a common situation that rises in the church setting. After a penguin egg is hatched, the male penguin sits on the egg for months during the gestation period. He does this so the egg will be safe and have the full opportunity to grow in a controlled environment. If any other penguins attempt to move in on the egg….violence ensues. One could easily see this in the daily happenings 0f ministry. Every church has that one person who has possession of a particular ministry. He/she may refer to the ministry as “my ministry” (i.e. my kitchen ministry, my mentoring ministry, etc) If anyone attempts to approach that function…violence ensues. In some ways, this can be helpful. One could take on a ministry that no one else is willing to lead, and grow it in a healthy way.
2. Lions- This correlation is self explanatory. Lions are loud members of the animal kingdom, and often rely on their roar to scare away potential predators. Ultimately, they are wanting full control of the food source. In the church we see this as well. Lions are people who try to be the loudest voice to get what they want. Often they want to be the center of church business, and perhaps even try to scare others away from things that they are not comfortable with. Powers used for good…lions can be healthy advocates for the pastoral ministry staff. We need more of those
3. Beavers- Beavers are industrial and willing to rebuild whatever has been damaged by calamity. They are the first ones to get to work when their structure is in trouble. Beavers in the church are the same way…they are peacemakers, and are just wanting the best for the church. Also, beavers can be great craftsman/ artists, and often these two go hand and hand. They want to help in both the physical structure of the church building and the relationships found within.
4. Giraffes– These animals were built to reach high places and consume the fruit that is found seemingly out of reach. In the church, we can consider giraffes “dreamers” but perhaps they are also people that are willing to reach higher than most. Sometimes, however, this can be the problem if the real food is down at a place where everyone can reach, and the giraffe is too busy with their “head in the clouds”.
5. Koala- Koala’s are the shy creatures of the animal kingdom. They are known for taking their time, and sensibly consuming the fruit and leaves of a tree that they have found to be to their liking. We see people like this everyday. They don’t want to get in anyone’s way, and they are faithful to where they get fed regularly.
6. Lemurs- Lemurs are energetic animals and are known for hopping from tree to tree to sample small amounts of fruit. We could consider these church hoppers. Sampling the nutrients from a variety of sources, but never committing loyalty to one place.
7. Sea Turtles– As many people know; sea turtles lay eggs on the beachfront, and spend most of their life in the water. Most only return twice a year. I think you know there this is going….Christmas and Easter.
So, where are you in this zoo? Perhaps you have a few animals in you. God wants us to use our talents, gifts, and personalities for the glory of His kingdom. Ultimately, if everyone in the church is in the area of ministry that they are designed to be in, this “zoo” is a pleasant place to visit. We wouldn’t want lions in the penguin den. Would we?
Granted, the church isn’t really a place in which we are all caged up in captivity. Quite the opposite in fact. Hopefully we can find it to be a place of retreat, safety, and freedom.
Pray about where God wants you today…