Introverts are all around! Ministry tips from an introvert insider.
If you ever met me, you would think I was an extrovert—I preach, I lead praise, I talk to everyone, I talk too much and you can hear me laughing from across the street—but I am a full-blooded introvert.
If it were up to me, I’d rather be in my boxers all day eating Godiva while browsing food photo blogs and bothering my dog and cracking up at YouTube videos of Whose Line Is It Anyway and leaving dry ironic comments all over Facebook while reading the latest theory on how Sherlock survived the second season finale.
I intensely guard my personal space and my private life. It takes a herculean effort to step outside my comfort zone and interact with messy, fleshy, real-live human beings.
Here’s how you handle us.
1. In a small group or Bible study or cell meeting, do NOT make us talk.
Introverts are much more methodical and tend to process things In a group discussion, our silence doesn’t mean we’re not listening.
We’re just trying to fit the pieces together in our own head. We aim to be thoughtful and deliberate.
Please be sensitive to our secret mind palace. We’ll talk when we dang well feel like it.
2. We just don’t sing like the front row.
It’s great that extroverts can freely express themselves during worship time.
But introverts sometimes just read the lyrics, connect inwardly and keep their hands inside the vehicle. If you see us raising even one hand and singing a few words, we are seriously pushing the gas pedal all the way to the floor.
3. Do not ever rebuke us in public.
Or you and I are done. Forever. You should never do this anyway.
4. Extroverts: be patient in conversation and don’t treat my every word like your personal victory.
Extroverts, it’s OK if you monopolize the conversation. We do like to listen.
But please don’t treat us like your personal project with a precious pearl inside. And don’t try to squeeze out my life story as if you’re trying to save us. Earn trust by being a friend first.
Unlike extroverts, we’re not good at being best friends on the first day.
5. Fellow introverts: Find us quickly.
See me standing awkwardly on the side of the sanctuary watching everyone else have fun? Hurry up and find me so we can make amusing sarcastic comments about life and possibly grow a lifelong spiritual bond these extroverts can’t understand.