Mar 25, 2010

Being an Introvert in the Church

Some of you know that I am an Introvert.  For people who knew me a long time ago, this may be a surprise because I talked way too much.  But, as my mom will tell you, sometime in Junior High I started talking less and answering questions with no more than 5 words.  This wasn't something I really understood until I was on my internship.  When I was faced with full time ministry, I realized how I function and somethings that might stand in my way.  My energy level is drained after spending time with people and it is replenished after quiet times spent reading and reflecting.  I'm still learning how to balance that so that I can be in ministry.  I learned very quickly on my internship that ministry involves relationships, but I didn't know how I was supposed to live in the balance of personal time and people time.

I also took an online test that I was directed to by my internship mentor and it told me that I was an INTJ.  It's not the real myers-briggs test, but it's pretty good.  Last semester, I took the Myers-briggs test and it confirmed the online test results.  After all this, I was still left with the question of what does that mean for me in ministry.  How does an introvert function in the highly relational world of ministry?  And that's when Lindsay and I saw an add in an IVP magazine for a book.  And I like books.

The book is called Introverts in the Church and it was written by Adam S. McHugh.  And as soon as I could get it from the library I did and I read it. It's a fantastic book.  It raises a lot of good questions for the church and gives hope to all of us who want to be involved in Church and don't know how to do it.  He legitimizes the introverted concerns I have, but also pushes introverts to step out of their comfort zones enough to grow and be stretched.

The fact of the matter is that churches and ministries are often led by and made for extroverts.  Often ministry positions are built for extroverts.  They are made for people who love people and spend all of their time working crowds, talking to strangers, and evangelizing on street corners (ok, so maybe not that last one).  Adam covers all of these topics and works through how introverts can be involved, lead, and even evangelize.  I was highly encouraged by this book and now feel like I do have a place in a society that praises extroverted qualities and thinks introverts to be very strange. I would certainly recommend this for any Christian who finds it hard to be an introvert in an extroverted culture.  Also, extroverted leaders may want to read this to figure out why some people seem so weird.

So, are you an introvert? What have you found to be hard about being an introvert in the church?
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