Introverts in the Church

21 12 2009

I picked up this new book, by Adam S. McHugh, at the SBL conference in New Orleans. When I bought it at the IVP stand, the woman serving me said, ‘So, you’re an introvert, huh?’ To which I replied, ‘Isn’t everybody at SBL?’.

At a conference for Bible geeks, there is no doubt a high proportion of introverts. But introverts are certainly not on home turf in many of our churches.

I recently read the book and recommend it for any introverted Christian, AND all extroverted pastors.

It’s helpful for introverts to alleviate the guilt that our extroverted evangelical culture sometimes causes. The book offers understanding that some introverts may not yet have about themselves, and provides lots of helpful hints and tips for being an introvert in ministry. It lets introverts off the hook at times, and challenges us at other times.

It’s helpful for extroverted pastors to help them to understand 50% of their congregations, and to be able to have effective team ministry with introverts. The book describes some ways in which extroverts and introverts can work together powerfully for good.

Probably the chapter I found most helpful was on introverts in leadership. There is a lot of helpful advice here for introverts who find themselves leading ministry teams, and how to lead as introverts, rather than pretending to be extroverts.

There are a few things in the book that I found a bit odd, arising out of the author’s apparently slightly-mystical version of evangelicalism. Extolling the virtues of some monastic practices was one of those things, but there’s still food for thought there.

If you’re an introvert, read it. If you’re an extroverted pastor, read it.

Posted by Con Campbell

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