True Colors: In the Eyes
of Our Beholder
Glen Dawursk, Jr., 8/28/03 -- www.yuthguy.com
church desires the “perfect youth guy” or “girl.” The generation of boomers with their mindset
for “buying” solutions often figures that they can do the same with “youth
ministry” in a congregation. They hire a
single professional as the “Yuthguy” and then abandon them to do the work on
their own. I have always been taught
that professional church workers can only mentor closely 20-25 people at a time
and 100-150 people from a distance. If
this is true, then a mega church like mine with about 2800 members can not
expect ONE person to be the superman of youth ministry. I believe that the perfect youth ministry in
any congregation is not one, but a team of leaders who compliment each other’s
weaknesses. Centuries ago Hippocrates
identified four different personalities among humans. When we consider that everyone is different,
it is no wonder that there really is no “perfect youth person” but when we have
a compliment of these personalities working together, then the team becomes the
perfect youth worker. True Colors is a
personality/temperament test that I have found to be very effective in
developing this “compliment” among youth workers, Sunday school staff and
church leadership. I first learned about
this assessment tool at a teacher’s conference about 10 years ago and I have
been intrigued with it ever since.
True Colors testing was initially developed by Don Lowry. His purpose was to simplify the
personality/temperament theory work of Dr. David Keirsey,
author of Please Understand Me and
the family team of Katherine and Isabel Briggs-Myers, originators of the MBTI - Myers-Briggs Type Indicator testing. Historically we find that the Briggs-Myers
test was based upon the 1921 work of Carl Jung in his book Psychological Type. Jung was
one of the first modern psychologist to explain the
personalities Hippocrates had identified.
In his book, Jung explained and compared the significant characteristics
of these individual personalities.
Because of this connection, True Colors and Briggs-Myers are often
referred to as Jungian Type Theory.
Colors has been modified and tweaked for many different professions. I have created my own variation of the
testing based upon subsequent workshops I attended. Unfortunately, I do not have the names of
workshop leaders or presenters with whom I can credit my adaptations. I have presented this assessment variation at
a number of youth conferences and workshops.
basic concept of True Colors is the identification of common personality traits
and behaviors and the application of how to use them in a particular setting. Generally I give a copy of four different personality
descriptions first. These descriptions
are a simplified description for the ones Hippocrates may have described
centuries earlier. Lowry divided the
personalities into four colors: Gold, Orange, Green and Blue.
For my use, I have adapted the following phrases to describe each
conventional. I am the pillar of
strength and have high respect for authority.
I like to
establish and maintain policies, procedures, and schedules. I have a strong sense of right and wrong.
I am naturally parental and dutiful.
I do things
that require organization, dependability, management, and detail.
I need to be
useful and to belong. I am the sensible, stable backbone of any group.
that work comes before play. I value home, family, status, security, and
tradition. I seek relationships that
help me ensure a predictable life. I am
caring, concerned, and loyal. I show
concern through the practical things I do.
courageous. I act on a moment's notice.
I see life as a roll of the dice, a game of chance. I need stimulation, freedom, and excitement. I am a natural leader, troubleshooter, and
performer. I like to do things that require variety, results, and
participation. I often enjoy using
tools. I am competitive and bounce back
quickly from defeat. I value action, resourcefulness, and courage. I am generous, charming, and impulsive. I show affection through physical contact.
compassionate. I am always encouraging
and supporting. I am a peacemaker,
sensitive to the needs of others. I am a natural romantic. I like to do things
that require caring, counseling, nurturing, and harmonizing. I have a strong desire to contribute and to
help others lead more significant lives. I am poetic and often enjoy the arts. I value
integrity and unity in relationships. I
am enthusiastic, idealistic, communicative, and sympathetic. I express my feelings easily.
conceptual. I have an investigative
mind, intrigued by questions like, "Which came first, the chicken or the
egg?" I am an independent thinker,
a natural nonconformist, and live life by my own standards. I like to do things
that require vision, problem solving, strategy, ingenuity, design, and change. Once
I have perfected an idea, I refer to move on to a new challenge. I value
knowledge, intelligence, insight, and justice. I enjoy relationships with
shared interests. I prefer to let my
head rule my heart. I am cool, calm, and
collected. I do not express my emotions
a person has chosen whose personality they feel they most represent, then I test them with a simple word category test. They simply evaluate the list of words in
each row, and then put them in the order of “Most like me to Least”
using numbers 4 for most, 3 for next closest, 2 for next and 1 for the list
least. They continue through each row
numbering them accordingly. When they
have finished all the rows, they simply add the columns at the bottom. I then tell them what category goes with
which color or personality. I have
included a copy of the actual worksheet I adapted for my use. I also have attached a copy of my power point
the results have been made known, I separate the groups into their primary
color. I give each group a large piece
of cardboard, pencils, a box of markers and some pieces of masking tape. Their assignment is: “As a group, design an
amusement park in 15-20 minutes, tape on the wall and be ready to explain it to
the group.” It becomes apparent how
differently the groups think, process information, and design it on paper. Generally the Gold’s are very detail
orientated including parking lots. The
Greens usually only use a pencil and use mostly text. The Oranges like to draw and use lots of color and are the most
unrealistic of the groups. The Blues
always remember comfort details like bathrooms, first aid, handicap parking and
diaper changing areas.
a number of workshops I attended during the past 5 years, I have taken the
following notes about each of the personalities:
This personality accounts for 12-14% of the population; 70% are woman.
This personality is often referred to as the “Hallmarks” as these people are
most likely to send a card to someone.
They write cards and also appreciate getting cards. They are flexible,
love people, focus well and like to serve.
They give the most “strokes” and also need to receive the most
strokes. Their goal is to be with people. They are very introspective and ask questions
like “Who am I – Who am I really.” This group buys into the True Colors testing
results the most. Blues are the “catapults”
– they see potential and motivate others. They can often be misunderstood for
being nosey because they always want to know how a person is doing. They ask about a person’s family and they
really want to know – it is not just chit-chat to them. They learn best by pleasing others. This personality lends itself to never having
a lot of money because blues are always spending it on others. Blues usually need to go shopping with other
blues. They want to connect.
This personality accounts for12-14% of the population. They love knowledge, research, solving
problems, data, philosophy, solutions and blue prints. To this personality, there never is enough
time or data; they always want more information. Members of this personality usually include:
scientists, mid level to top management execs, and CEO’s; 80% of all professors
are greens. A green professor loves when
students argue or disagree with him.
They love debate. They are,
however, bored easily. Greens are good
planners but not the best implementers; instead, greens like to develop the
solutions or blue prints and allow others to complete the work; they set the
vision. Greens often question everything;
always asking: “why?” They desire the
best answers and are not easily satisfied with a solution. They find it hard to put closure on
things. They will continue to prove it
is the best one. This personality can
multi-task well, but a green will be the personality most likely to lose the
car keys or where they parked the car at the mall. Greens are highly introverted and only take calculated
risks. They do not share their feelings
or emotions easily with others.
This personality accounts for 38% of the population. This group turns the lights on at work, makes
the coffee, makes sure budget is intact – basically they
get things done. Golds
are the worker bees. Without golds, everything stops! They learn best by instruction and are the
ones most likely to raise their hand even in college. Most church workers and community workers are
golds. 80% of
all elementary school teachers are also gold.
However, this personality is a rotten risk taker; they like
often make lists and enjoy highlighters.
They entrust schools, prefer laws (most police & judges are gold)
and like structure within a family. They
are the most family orientated of the four groups. Golds also make
more money “totally” than any other group.
Golds are the group most likely to organize
their sock drawer. They like things to
be neat and in order.
This personality accounts for 36% of the population. Oranges do things quickly, but
they usually turn out pretty well. The
difference from a gold is that oranges always do it
their own way. They are not known for
following rules or established systems. Oranges are also very celebrative
– they are the “party” group. When they
set their minds to accomplish something, they really like doing it. This personality is also very hands-on physical. They like activity. They are experiential and generally prefer no
restraints. Oranges are mostly in creative
arts and due to the activity attribute, most physical education teachers are
orange. Oranges are very competitive,
spontaneous, risk takers, adventurous, happy and have a great sense of humor;
they sincerely like to make people laugh.
This group, like blues, are very giving, but are not looking for
something in return or desiring a lasting relationship as a result of
“giving” -- however, in life, they do
want to see results. Oranges are especially considered
an organized mess. Their desks are piles
and seem senseless, yet they know where everything is.
approach to personality testing is clearly entertaining, but it really shows
how God has made us intentionally different and how He has intentionally
brought our individuality and uniqueness together in a church for His
purpose. Our “true color diversity”
becomes our strength in ministry. What
if a church were made up of all Greens? We
would have too many people setting the vision and no workers. Or Golds? The work would get done and the place would
be spotless, but without vision, the work will seem fruitless and there would
be no joy in ministry. Or Oranges? It would be a
fun place to be, but ministry would become hap-hazard and shoddy. Or Blues? The church would take on too much
social ministry and eventually become financially and emotionally drained. All of the “colors” are in ministry for a
reason. They are all brought into a
congregation to compliment each other just as Paul described the metaphor of
the body parts working together.
have found that when I use this testing, I am able to better place people into
my ministry. I also find that certain
personalities work better or worse with each other and it has allowed me to
better pair-up volunteers. I have also
found that when I evaluate my weaknesses as a DCE or especially as a youth worker,
I can see how I have surrounded myself with people whose strengths compliment
my ministry. Their color makes my ministry complete. Then “we” become the perfect youth
worker. The True Colors personality
testing has been a valuable tool toward that end.