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youth volunteer enneagram

Youth Volunteer Enneagram

By Doug Franklin November 19, 2019

Adult volunteers are the backbone of youth ministry. We need them for support, leading small groups, logistics, safety, and relationship building. Without them we can quickly become overwhelmed. 

Although no two adult volunteers are the same, most youth workers tend to put every adult volunteer into the same category. We give them all the same role, the same training, and we equip them as if they all shared the same gifting and motivation. We forget that some want to support with their administration gifts. Others want to care for hurting students, and some want to service the ministry with creative worship gifts. 

ennegram type youth volunteer

Because adult volunteers have different sets of gifts and experiences, they come into ministry with different motivations and they oftentimes want different results.  These motivations are the key to understanding your adult volunteers. If we can learn their motivations, we can support them in supernatural ways.

As we put together the list of the most common motivations for adult volunteers, we found that there were some consistent correlations with Enneagram types. So we decided to compile what we call the Youth Volunteer Enneagram. Take a look! 

Enneagram Type 1 – The Reformer

Keeping students from making the same mistakes they made motivates the Type 1 volunteer.

Love and pain come together for Type Ones. They so badly want students to love of God and avoid the pain of the mistakes they made when they were in school. These volunteers desire to rescue students.  

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 2 – The Helper

Serving the youth pastor primarily motivates the Type 2 volunteer.

Type Twos are willing to do anything you ask, but they may or may not be excited to build relationships with students. Many times these volunteers think that it’s the youth pastor’s job to love and help kids. And they see their role as providing behind-the-scenes help to make the youth ministry run.

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 3 – The Achiever

Seeing students come to know Christ motivates the Type 3 volunteer.

Type Three individuals are your evangelists. They ask every student if they have a personal relationship with Jesus, and they want to make sure all have heard. They desperately want students to be saved. 

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 4 – The Individualist

Caring for students on a deeper level motivates the Type 4 volunteer.

Oftentimes the Type Fours have a passion for mentoring and discipleship. These volunteers want students to fall in love with God. They want them to follow him and his commands. They are often the ones who start youth ministries when churches don’t anything for students. 

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 5 – The Investigator

Seeing what’s going on in the ministry motivates the Type 5 volunteer.

Type Five individuals are typically parents who volunteer to keep an eye on their students. (My personal favorite is the father whose wife has pushed him to volunteer so they will know who their student is friends with.) This volunteer is likely seeking information about his or her own child. 

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 6 – The Loyalist

Keeping students safe motivates the Type 6 volunteer.

Type 6 volunteers come into the ministry with a chaperone-mentality and they’re prepared to make sure that students are kept far away from anything dangerous. These volunteers ask specific questions about retreats and trips, and they typically tend to observe the ministry from the sidelines rather than jump into relationships with students. 

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 7 – The Enthusiast 

Bringing energy to the youth group and possibly re-living their own days in youth group motivates the Type 7 volunteer.

These individuals want to be liked by students and will often act more like friends than mentors. They had such a great youth group experience, and they want this for the next generation. They want to belong again.

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 8 – The Challenger

Making sure that the youth ministry is not overlooked or forgotten motivates the Type 8 volunteer.

Type Eight see themselves as an advocate for the next generation. They may present strong opinions or voice concern if they see the youth group taking a turn in a negative direction. 

ENNEAGRAM TYPE 9 – The Peacemaker

Serving alongside their friends or feeling an intense pressure to serve motivates the Type 9 volunteer.

Oftentimes, Type Nines are the people who are pushed into youth ministry because they are young or like to have fun. Churches pressure these folks by saying things like, “You’re a young couple; you should be in youth ministry.” or “You like to have fun. You should volunteer for youth group.” These volunteers may have little connection to or interest in the youth ministry, but they were told they would love it. 


This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, and we won’t claim that everyone’s motivation will match their chosen Enneagram type. But we hope that this becomes a great conversation starter between you and your adult volunteers. 

If you can understand the various motivations of each of your adult volunteers, you can place them in the ministry roles they’re best suited to. It may also help you understand why a particular volunteer is struggling in their current role. They may have come into the ministry with a different expectation or motivation than you realized. The important thing is to get with your adult volunteers, talk motivations, and go from there.  

which enneagram type are you?

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More