Introverts/Extroverts

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by drfuss, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. drfuss

    drfuss
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    I was wondering how you ministers work with introverts and extroverts in your church. My experience is that most ministers are extroverts and sometimes have little understanding of introverts. I am an introvert and every church I have been in, the minister has tried to make introverts into extroverts.

    Years ago, a new pastor said the following type thing from the pulpit: "If you can't greet a visitor in the foyer and strike up a converstaion with him using small talk, then you are not much of a Christian." Introverts are not good at small talk with strangers, do a poor job at it, and usually mess it up. Since about 1/2 the people are introverts, this turned off many people in the church from actively participating in the programs he was promoting.

    Are there programs of training for extrovert pastors on how to minister to/lead introverts?

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Scarlett O.

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    I am an extreme introvert. Informal social settings make me very anxious. I can't STAND the meet/greet shaking hands during the church service. I guess it's a good thing that I'm at the piano.

    I also can't stand it during the sermon when we have to "turn to your neighbor and say God's got a blessing just for YOU".

    Now, hand me a microphone and I can speak to a crowd of thousands and never break a sweat. But take to me a social function and expect me to make idle chit and chat and I'm a nervous wreck.

    I found out that a male colleague of mine who I would have NEVER guessed was introverted shared my same anxiety. The Thursday before Thanksgiving break we have our students (about 100 of them) invite their parents to eat lunch with us. It's not my job to sit at the lunch table and scan hands, but I made a bee-line there. It kept me busy and calmed my nerves being around that many people with nothing to do or say. My male colleague found me and said, "Could I please help you do this - I have severe anxiety in informal settings like this. I don't know what to say to people and am fearful that they really don't want to talk to me"

    My jaw dropped. Literally. I would have never guessed.

    I said, "Have a seat, my brother from another mother." :flower:

    I don't have an answer for you drfuss. But know that there are lots of us out there. I guess the best thing to do would be to tell the pastor - as he probably would like to know - that you are introverted.
     
    #2 Scarlett O., Nov 26, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  3. RG2

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    There's a good book I read not too long ago called "Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture" by Adam McHugh, it shines some good light on the place of introverts in the church.

    Personally I consider myself a pretty social introvert. I don't mind going around talking to people, and doing all of that. However, it does drain the energy out of me. However, being married to another introvert, I also understand that some people aren't wired that way.

    What is most important for everyone to understand is that Introvert/Extrovert has nothing to do with social interaction or being around people. What it has to do is how people are charged up. I've known plenty of non-social extroverts. I've also known others like me that are pretty social introverts that can be around people and like to be around people. Most extroverts get energized by social interaction, where most introverts are drained by it. The opposite is also true, introverts are energized by quiet contemplation, where extroverts can become stir crazy.

    In the United States in general extroverted attributes are usually praised, where introverted attributes are usually looked down upon. This is actually not the case in all cultures. What I think is important to realize is that there are many different functions in the church, and while many fit the gifts of the extrovert there are many functions that fit introverts better.

    Edit: An interesting statistic I read a couple weeks ago said that more and more of the younger generations of pastors consider themselves to be introverted rather than extroverted. It'll be interesting to see how this change might affect the church.
     
  4. Berean

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    As a general rule I have found most of the introverts that I have encountered to be insecure and having a rather low self esteem and not well informed unless you want to discuss football.
     
  5. RG2

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    Funny you say that, I find that to be quite true about most extroverts as well.
     
  6. TadQueasy

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    God can use anyone with any type of personality, just have to be open and willing. I say this as someone who is an introvert. There have been times in my life where I have used the fact that I am an introvert as an excuse for not participating in evangelism. That is wrong. I can be a part of evangelism. It may not look the same as others, but we must be careful to not justify our disobedience because of a personality trait. God will and can use all of us no matter what type of personality we have.
     
  7. saturneptune

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    I am an extrovert. I can strike up a conversation with anyone who will discuss a subject of mutual interest. Even as an extrovert, when cold calling house to house for church visitation, there is always a few seconds of uneasiness after knocking on a door, as you never know what to expect, especially with the message we have.

    I told this story last year, but on a mission trip to east KY last summer, we walked up to a house and knocked on the door. The guy answered and told us to wait a minute. He brough back a wooden box with a rattlesnake in it. (for real) He asked us to stick our hand in it to test our faith. I wished him a good day, and moved on to the next door.
     
  8. TadQueasy

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    :eek: That would have made this introvert pee his pants.
     
  9. jonathan.borland

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    That story's too stinkin funny! Good one! But anyway, cold calling in KY (still generally a Southern state with some semblance of Southern hospitality of old, especially in rural parts) is much different than doing same in the North or inner cities anywhere.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    Personally, I think I am probably more extroverted than introverted. But I still don't care for the meet and greet time at church.
     
  11. drfuss

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    I have heard that from other extroverts. My reaction to extroverts has been, in the past, was that extroverts were insecure and have low self esteem; which was the reason they talk so much because they are uncomfortable within themselves and have to let some of it out.

    I believe that God made us different because there are different types of ministry needed within the church as well as other situations. One problem that I have observed is that extroverts want introverts to act like extroverts; and if they don't, they are considered inferior Christians.

    So should pastors treat extroverts and introverts differently?
     
  12. drfuss

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    I think I have read that book a while back and loaned it out, a very good book. It is a book that extroverted pastors should read in order to better understand the other half of their congregation.
     
  13. 12strings

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    As an introvert (& Music/Youth pastor...go figure), I think there is definitely truth to the fact that Extroverts & Introverts need to learn more about each other and treat each other with more understanding, that an introvert is unlikely to start up a street-witnessing program, or go evangelizing by mingling at a nightclub...

    And I would say that this pastor's comments were unhelpfully worded...

    ...HOWEVER, I also think that there is an element of truth to them, in that even those of us who are introverts need to cultivate the ability to approach a visitor, greet them kindly, introduce ourselves, and tell them we are glad to have them...In fact I would say it is ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT for us to do so, since many (at least half, if that's the statistic we are going with) of the visitors are going to be introverts, and may not begin introducing themselves to the church members, but everyone likes to be noticed, greeted, and feel welcome. We introverts should understand this better than anyone, and therefore be able to know how a fellow introvert might like to be greeted.

    As a Pastor, there are times when I need to go visit someone in the hospital, or hang out at a Youth event...I cannot use my introvertedness to as an excuse to stand in the corner and not talk to any of the teenagers (at least half of which are also introverts, by the way).

    At a recent Youth retreat, a student from another church made the comment that they believed being introverted or shy is a sin. And while I initially was offended by the statement, as we talked, and as I though about it, I realized there is definitely truth in that...not that an introvert is inherently more sinful than an extrovert, as I do believe we are created with differences...BUT, that if I allow my shyness to ever keep me from doing what God would want me to do, I am fearing man's opinions or rejection, or comfortableness more than I am fearing God.

    I have found that, even though I may sometimes have initial anxiety when approaching a person to begin a conversation, I can't think of any occasion when after the fact I would say, "I wish I hadn't talked to them."
     
  14. 12strings

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    Seriously? "Not well informed."? What is it that makes an introvert less informed than an extrovert.
     
  15. 12strings

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    I would add that both personality types have natural tendencies toward sins that the other is less drawn to...For pastors, here is an example:

    1. An introverted pastor may have no trouble sitting in his office for hours studying and preparing a sermon, but needs to make himself get out of the office to actually do the shepherding work with people.

    2. An Extroverted pastor may love hanging out with people, perhaps so much that he does not put in the private study and preparation that he should to be an effective preacher, in which case he needs to at times pull himself away from social settings to devote time to studying scripture.
     
  16. drfuss

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    "BUT, that if I allow my shyness to ever keep me from doing what God would want me to do, I am fearing man's opinions or rejection, or comfortableness more than I am fearing God."

    "What God would want me to do"??? Does God expect introverts to act like extroverts? I think not or he would have made us that way. Yet in all the churches I have been in, introverts are encouraged to act like extroverts and looked down on if they do not.

    Does God expect extroverts to act like introverts, like some extroverts expect introverts to change from the way they were made?

    I believe God has provided us with different gifts for the edification of the church and we should serve Him in those gifts. Romans 12:6, I Peter 4:10.
     
    #16 drfuss, Nov 27, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2012
  17. 12strings

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    I'm not saying we have to act like extroverts, but simply that if you are standing in the hall-way of your church, and a person you don't know walks in the door looking lost, or unsure, or generally uncomfortable, even an introvert SHOULD greet them and ask if they need help finding the sanctuary.

    Are you saying that if God has created me as an introvert, than I am perfectly excused in the above situation if I turn my head and pretend not to see them and walk away?
     
  18. drfuss

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    I am not saying that at all. You have taken my comments to the extreme. I have to leave now; but I plan to respond later tonight.
     
  19. ktn4eg

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    I too have faced this issue myself over the 46+ yrs since I received Christ as Savior. It would seem that God created me basically as an introvert, yet oftentimes due to various vocational positions I've held in full- or part- time church and/or educational positions people expected me to act as an extrovert.

    Over the years, with MUCH help from the Holy Spirit, I've been able to overcome SOME of my introvertedness, but not all of it.

    I'm not making excuses for my percieved shyness/lack of concern/etc., because I firmly trust that God isn't through with me yet.

    Sometimes I've had to learn this lesson the hard way, but I'm grateful that He allowed me to "fail" so that I could also experience His forgiveness and restoration; and, as a consequnce, not to be as harsh and judgmental towards people as I once was.

    I, too, also am very thankful for God allowing me to learn from (Dr) Wallace York (father of Hershael York of SBTS in Louisville), one-time Dean of Clarksville (TN) Baptist College, that one of the most important & difficult (if not THE most important & difficult) thing any child of God must face in this life is to seek & maintain a balance in his/her worldview and dealings with people, just as the Holy Spirit moved Jude (in his epistle) to pen in verses 20-25.
     
  20. Scarlett O.

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    I think - evidenced by the responses - that some here don't understand what being introverted means.

    If I were to see a couple or an individual standing in the foyer of the church looking lost or needing assistance, I would approach them post haste and welcome them and ask if I could direct them somewhere.

    However, if the pastor came by and ask me to sit with them in the Sunday School class until others arrived and "visit" with them - I would do it, but it would be very difficult.

    And during the "meet and greet" time - if I were to spy some visitors, I would shake their hand and welcome them, but I would NOT hug all over them and ask them a million questions. I don't hug all over the membership. Some seem so overjoyed to greet each other during that time like they haven't just seen each other 15 minutes ago in Sunday School.

    And idle chit-chat - I'm just not good at it and therefore it makes me nervous. But an introvert is not someone who is a hermit nor would like to be.

    We aren't insecure, ignorant, nor suffer from low self-worth. THAT could be anybody.
     

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