Introverts in church

Contemporary American churches, for all of their church-growth methodology, are leaving out–indeed, alienating–a whole class of people.  Namely, introverts.  Joe Carter cites and discusses some recent writing on this topic.  Such as this from Christian experimental psychologist Richard Beck:

Do introverts fit in at church?

The answer, obviously, is that it depends upon what kind of church we are talking about. In liturgical churches I expect introverts and extroverts fare about the same. But in non-liturgical churches they may fare differently.

Specifically, non-liturgical churches tend to be more sociable churches. So, let’s call them that. That is, there are liturgical churches and there are sociable churches. Sociable churches tend to emphasize relationality among its members. For example, a large part of the sociable church experience involves lengthy greetings (being greeted and greeting others), adult bible classes that are conversational and oriented around fellowship (e.g., in my church we sit at tables drinking coffee, eating donuts, and chatting), and the in-depth sharing of personal prayer requests.

This is not to say that liturgical churches aren’t sociable or don’t have sociable facets to them. It’s just the simple recognition that going to a Catholic mass (the prototypical liturgical experience) differs greatly from my day at church at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, TX. My experience is heavy on the “visiting,” as they say here in Texas.

In these highly sociable churches there is an implicit theological theme that marries sociability with spirituality. That is, being sociable—visiting intensively, and being willing to “get into each other's lives”—is highly prized. To a point, this is understandable. A sociable church is going to rely on extraverts to make the whole vibe work.

But introverts fare poorly in these sociable churches. The demand to visit, mix, and share with strangers taxes them. Worse, given that these social activities are declared to be “spiritual,” the introvert feels morally judged and spiritually marginalized. As if their very personality was spiritually diseased.

Consequently, the “issue of the introvert” is one of the big overlooked problems in these sociable churches. For example, church leaders often want to make church more “meaningful.” What they mean by this is that they want to create an atmosphere were deep human contact can be made. This is a fine goal, a worthy goal. However, to pull this off in an ordinary church setting demands a degree of sociability that introverts just don't have. Take a typical church service, communion service, small group service, or bible class. Let's say, to make it more “meaningful,” you ask the participants to find someone sitting close to them to have a spiritually-oriented exchange/conversation with. A time of sharing. Well, the introverts are just going to HATE this activity. They may hate it so much that they just might stop coming to your services. In fact, I know introverts at my church who purposely come in late to avoid the perfunctory meet-and-greet that occurs right at the start of our services (“Find someone close to you and say hello!”).

I bet most of you readers of this blog, whatever your political or theological persuasion, are introverts. Don’t you just HATE it when you visit a church and in the name of being friendly to visitors they make you stand up and introduce yourself? And wear a special name tag? And can you stand it when a group of strangers in a Bible study asks you to “share”? And liturgical churches–while perhaps following a way of worship that is a haven to our sensibilities– can be just as bad, as when they make you “pass the peace.”

Seriously, introverts are a major demographic. I would argue that they–we–are especially serious about religion, tending to focus on the inner life, though they are also the group most alienated from the church and thus in particular need of the gospel. Churches drive them away. And yet, churches are always urged to be “more friendly.” Which drives introverts away even more.

Is this right? (Don’t worry. At this blog you don’t have to “share.”)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    This article hits the nail on the head for explaining a lot of my struggles with going to church for the last, well, 35 years. By extension it explains well the similar struggles I’ve had with organizations related to church, such as the Christian liberal arts college where I had my first job. I’m an introvert. I don’t dislike social activities, but they drain me of energy, as opposed to the extrovert tendency to gain energy from such things. The implicit proportionality between your spiritual health and your extroversion in such places says to introverts: Your introversion is tantamount to sin. Maybe that’s over the top and unfair, but introverts definitely get that message.

    I started attending a liturgical LCMS church last year, and oddly enough it’s both the most liturgical church I’ve ever attended and the one where I feel the most socially comfortable. I’m more sociable now with my fellow church-goers than I have ever been.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    This article hits the nail on the head for explaining a lot of my struggles with going to church for the last, well, 35 years. By extension it explains well the similar struggles I’ve had with organizations related to church, such as the Christian liberal arts college where I had my first job. I’m an introvert. I don’t dislike social activities, but they drain me of energy, as opposed to the extrovert tendency to gain energy from such things. The implicit proportionality between your spiritual health and your extroversion in such places says to introverts: Your introversion is tantamount to sin. Maybe that’s over the top and unfair, but introverts definitely get that message.

    I started attending a liturgical LCMS church last year, and oddly enough it’s both the most liturgical church I’ve ever attended and the one where I feel the most socially comfortable. I’m more sociable now with my fellow church-goers than I have ever been.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    I attend a “social” church that I love and appreciate in many ways. About ten years ago the church experimented with its Sunday morning schedule, implementing a 45-minute break between Sunday school and the worship service. Being that this was the only time many of us would see each other during the week, the extroverts who plan such things wanted as much “fellowship” time as possible. For me, an introvert, this was all rather painful. If I didn’t find someone to connect with in the first five minutes–and typically I did not–then I was consigned to 45 minutes of wandering the halls or sitting by myself waiting for the worship service to begin.

    For the most part, the fellowship that occurs in such times, though valuable for some, does not look anything like the fellowship described in Acts 2:42 — “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (ESV). I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I will seek to connect with them in other ways.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    I attend a “social” church that I love and appreciate in many ways. About ten years ago the church experimented with its Sunday morning schedule, implementing a 45-minute break between Sunday school and the worship service. Being that this was the only time many of us would see each other during the week, the extroverts who plan such things wanted as much “fellowship” time as possible. For me, an introvert, this was all rather painful. If I didn’t find someone to connect with in the first five minutes–and typically I did not–then I was consigned to 45 minutes of wandering the halls or sitting by myself waiting for the worship service to begin.

    For the most part, the fellowship that occurs in such times, though valuable for some, does not look anything like the fellowship described in Acts 2:42 — “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (ESV). I love my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I will seek to connect with them in other ways.

  • Meoip

    As an introvert with a BS in Christian Ministry I can speak uniquely to some things. During my education we were given personality style tests, my results warranted a private meeting with the counseling professor. He was concerned that my results didn’t meet the criteria that is associated with pastors. It was explained introverts and those who aren’t outwardly joyful and emotional usually don’t make good pastors. This engaged us in a lengthy discussion on the roles of introverts in the church and church leadership. We concluded that congregations don’t want introverted pastors, elders, or leaders but the leaders want the introverts because they are the ones who “run” the church behind the scenes. His conclusion was be prepared to struggle to find a job especially preaching and counseling since those are seen as extroverted activities. He did lament that the lack of introvert pastor preachers and pastor counselors was doing harm the church, since extroverts are like steroids and can artificially excite and puff up. On a side note I work as a controller for a small marketing company.

  • Meoip

    As an introvert with a BS in Christian Ministry I can speak uniquely to some things. During my education we were given personality style tests, my results warranted a private meeting with the counseling professor. He was concerned that my results didn’t meet the criteria that is associated with pastors. It was explained introverts and those who aren’t outwardly joyful and emotional usually don’t make good pastors. This engaged us in a lengthy discussion on the roles of introverts in the church and church leadership. We concluded that congregations don’t want introverted pastors, elders, or leaders but the leaders want the introverts because they are the ones who “run” the church behind the scenes. His conclusion was be prepared to struggle to find a job especially preaching and counseling since those are seen as extroverted activities. He did lament that the lack of introvert pastor preachers and pastor counselors was doing harm the church, since extroverts are like steroids and can artificially excite and puff up. On a side note I work as a controller for a small marketing company.

  • http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com Jack Kilcrease

    I have scored off the charts in terms of introversion every time I’ve taken Meyers-Briggs. When living in Milwaukee (I found this in every Church attended there who had the practice), I found that passing the peace consisted of a 10 minute long ritual where every person in the Church shook the hand of everyone else in the Church. This was not to my liking.
    I personally don’t think that this is such a bad ritual if one understands that it is based on St. Paul admonition not to be at odds with anyone in the body before receiving the blessed sacrament of the altar. Nevertheless, what it actually turns into is people being given relief from having to sing liturgy (how terrible!) and listen to Scripture and preaching. To my mind, these insanely long hand shaking sessions show that they really come to church to socialize. That’s probably the reason most them are there and that’s why I was the only person under the age of 35 who went to my Church. Young people have other outlets to socialize. Once you get married, and the kids come, you’re limited in what you can do, so you go back to Church to socialize. So, yes, it totally makes sense that the mega Churches would encourage this sort of ecclesial culture. Most people won’t go to Church otherwise.

  • http://jackkilcrease.blogspot.com Jack Kilcrease

    I have scored off the charts in terms of introversion every time I’ve taken Meyers-Briggs. When living in Milwaukee (I found this in every Church attended there who had the practice), I found that passing the peace consisted of a 10 minute long ritual where every person in the Church shook the hand of everyone else in the Church. This was not to my liking.
    I personally don’t think that this is such a bad ritual if one understands that it is based on St. Paul admonition not to be at odds with anyone in the body before receiving the blessed sacrament of the altar. Nevertheless, what it actually turns into is people being given relief from having to sing liturgy (how terrible!) and listen to Scripture and preaching. To my mind, these insanely long hand shaking sessions show that they really come to church to socialize. That’s probably the reason most them are there and that’s why I was the only person under the age of 35 who went to my Church. Young people have other outlets to socialize. Once you get married, and the kids come, you’re limited in what you can do, so you go back to Church to socialize. So, yes, it totally makes sense that the mega Churches would encourage this sort of ecclesial culture. Most people won’t go to Church otherwise.

  • Winston Smith

    I have been called a socialized introvert; that is to say, I score INTP on the Meyers-Briggs test but I do enjoy the company of people.

    As a member of a large evangelical church I have struggled with the whole introversion issue, since the kind of gabbing in the pews and in the church hall after the service (what I call “cocktail-party chitchat”) is difficult for me. I prefer to enter and leave the service in a quiet mood of reverence and introspection (perhaps because I was raised Episcopalian).

    What I eventually figured out, though, was that excessive introversion is not Christ-like. Our Lord was the perfect balance of introversion and extroversion. He had to withdraw by himself to pray at times, but he also wandered into the crowds and interacted with all of them. Christlikeness — loving the brethren — requires a certain amount of extroversion. He must increase, and I (the reclusive introvert) must decrease. The result is not unpleasant.

  • Winston Smith

    I have been called a socialized introvert; that is to say, I score INTP on the Meyers-Briggs test but I do enjoy the company of people.

    As a member of a large evangelical church I have struggled with the whole introversion issue, since the kind of gabbing in the pews and in the church hall after the service (what I call “cocktail-party chitchat”) is difficult for me. I prefer to enter and leave the service in a quiet mood of reverence and introspection (perhaps because I was raised Episcopalian).

    What I eventually figured out, though, was that excessive introversion is not Christ-like. Our Lord was the perfect balance of introversion and extroversion. He had to withdraw by himself to pray at times, but he also wandered into the crowds and interacted with all of them. Christlikeness — loving the brethren — requires a certain amount of extroversion. He must increase, and I (the reclusive introvert) must decrease. The result is not unpleasant.

  • http://about.metrowest.cc John

    The church needs all types of people. The question to people who have dropped out of church is “what’s your beef with church”. http://about.metrowest.cc

  • http://about.metrowest.cc John

    The church needs all types of people. The question to people who have dropped out of church is “what’s your beef with church”. http://about.metrowest.cc

  • Joe

    I only have my experience to draw on but I don’t buy his dichotomy between liturgical and “social” churches. I have been a Lutheran all my life and every church I belonged to was both liturgical and very social. My wife on the other hand attended a large Assemblies of God church and even went to their high school. I never saw any social interaction outside of the service there. Maybe my experience is an outlier, but it is the exact opposite of the assumption that underlies this guy’s entire point.

  • Joe

    I only have my experience to draw on but I don’t buy his dichotomy between liturgical and “social” churches. I have been a Lutheran all my life and every church I belonged to was both liturgical and very social. My wife on the other hand attended a large Assemblies of God church and even went to their high school. I never saw any social interaction outside of the service there. Maybe my experience is an outlier, but it is the exact opposite of the assumption that underlies this guy’s entire point.

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    I will concede that in some churches the “passing of the peace” is uncomfortable for introverts (of which I am one), but those are churches where the Sharing of the Peace has been changed into what Veith has put into quotes: an extroverted highjacking of a meaningful custom.

    Where it is properly done, one follows the script and shares the Peace with those immediately around you, confessing the unity we are to affirm we have in Christ before receiving His Supper. If one can’t do this comfortably, I think one’s introversion is excessive. This is, after all, a liturgical act that has fairly firm roots in Scripture (Eph. 4:1-3, Matt. 5:22-24).

    But many congregations have allowed this custom to be transformed into something else: a chance for worshippers to exchange personal greetings rather than benedictions. In the process they speak nothing of Christ and His peace which we share, but rather of how much they enjoy seeing each other, how nice the weather is, how much they want the city’s football team to win that afternoon, etc.

    Introverts, being folks rooted in the world of ideas rather than the world of relationships, find this both uncomfortable and irrelevant – if not downright irreverent!

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    I will concede that in some churches the “passing of the peace” is uncomfortable for introverts (of which I am one), but those are churches where the Sharing of the Peace has been changed into what Veith has put into quotes: an extroverted highjacking of a meaningful custom.

    Where it is properly done, one follows the script and shares the Peace with those immediately around you, confessing the unity we are to affirm we have in Christ before receiving His Supper. If one can’t do this comfortably, I think one’s introversion is excessive. This is, after all, a liturgical act that has fairly firm roots in Scripture (Eph. 4:1-3, Matt. 5:22-24).

    But many congregations have allowed this custom to be transformed into something else: a chance for worshippers to exchange personal greetings rather than benedictions. In the process they speak nothing of Christ and His peace which we share, but rather of how much they enjoy seeing each other, how nice the weather is, how much they want the city’s football team to win that afternoon, etc.

    Introverts, being folks rooted in the world of ideas rather than the world of relationships, find this both uncomfortable and irrelevant – if not downright irreverent!

  • Dawn in Denver

    Dear Winston, your comment is very helpful to me. Thank you.

  • Dawn in Denver

    Dear Winston, your comment is very helpful to me. Thank you.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    My introversion extends over the line into diagnosed personality disorder. Just going to church is tough for me; the passing of the peace is an added ordeal.

    I’m sure that my stand-offishness is an offense to many people, and I feel badly about that. But for me, it’s either go and be stand-offish, or stay home. So I do the best I can.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    My introversion extends over the line into diagnosed personality disorder. Just going to church is tough for me; the passing of the peace is an added ordeal.

    I’m sure that my stand-offishness is an offense to many people, and I feel badly about that. But for me, it’s either go and be stand-offish, or stay home. So I do the best I can.

  • Joe

    Keeping going Lars!

  • Joe

    Keeping going Lars!

  • colliebear56

    I think there are good things about both personalities. The challenge lies in determining how much one needs to temper their own leanings to one side or the other. Extrovert is not necessarily always better, as has been noted above. Each personality seems to have it’s own strengths and negatives.

    I used to hear, from church-growth enthusiasts at a former church, that I needed to ‘think outside the box’. This is good, to a degree, but not when it treads on one’s own sense of dignity – a God-given gift, in my opinion, and something that must be respected.

    For example, I might not want to pray with my hands in the air, or circle the nave during ‘Passing of the Peace’, but I have learned to appreciate blessing my immediate neighbors in the pews with a Christian greeting.

  • colliebear56

    I think there are good things about both personalities. The challenge lies in determining how much one needs to temper their own leanings to one side or the other. Extrovert is not necessarily always better, as has been noted above. Each personality seems to have it’s own strengths and negatives.

    I used to hear, from church-growth enthusiasts at a former church, that I needed to ‘think outside the box’. This is good, to a degree, but not when it treads on one’s own sense of dignity – a God-given gift, in my opinion, and something that must be respected.

    For example, I might not want to pray with my hands in the air, or circle the nave during ‘Passing of the Peace’, but I have learned to appreciate blessing my immediate neighbors in the pews with a Christian greeting.

  • Steve

    Thanks. I’ve never seen this issue discussed before, and I assumed that my life-long urge to rush out of church after the service (instead of meeting and greeting) was a sign that christianity wasn’t “taking” with me. By my late forties, I decided it was never going to improve, and I stopped going to church. Lars is obviously braver than I am, but I’m probably more comfortable on Sunday morning :-)

  • Steve

    Thanks. I’ve never seen this issue discussed before, and I assumed that my life-long urge to rush out of church after the service (instead of meeting and greeting) was a sign that christianity wasn’t “taking” with me. By my late forties, I decided it was never going to improve, and I stopped going to church. Lars is obviously braver than I am, but I’m probably more comfortable on Sunday morning :-)

  • Catherine

    I consider myself an introvert, if my inclination to stay home reading on a Saturday night in lieu of going out with friends is any indication. In fact, it’s pretty hard for me to go to a new place with new people by myself, though I’ve gotten a lot better over the years by sheer necessity. I can’t have my mom do everything for me!

    I find it interesting that a lot of times, extroverts have no idea how to take introverts. They just can’t understand why someone would want to be alone all the time. I don’t mind going to my church in that respect, but it helps that I’ve known a lot of the the people there most of my life. I just don’t find myself socializing with them very much!

  • Catherine

    I consider myself an introvert, if my inclination to stay home reading on a Saturday night in lieu of going out with friends is any indication. In fact, it’s pretty hard for me to go to a new place with new people by myself, though I’ve gotten a lot better over the years by sheer necessity. I can’t have my mom do everything for me!

    I find it interesting that a lot of times, extroverts have no idea how to take introverts. They just can’t understand why someone would want to be alone all the time. I don’t mind going to my church in that respect, but it helps that I’ve known a lot of the the people there most of my life. I just don’t find myself socializing with them very much!

  • Jim K.

    Soooo….is it …or is it not a sin to be naturally unsociable?
    I usually have to force myself to engage in a dialog. Then, after mangling the exchange so badly, I play over my words in my head trying to figure out what I should have, could have, or meant to say. I usually realize that I need to keep quite after all.
    Jim K.

  • Jim K.

    Soooo….is it …or is it not a sin to be naturally unsociable?
    I usually have to force myself to engage in a dialog. Then, after mangling the exchange so badly, I play over my words in my head trying to figure out what I should have, could have, or meant to say. I usually realize that I need to keep quite after all.
    Jim K.

  • Scots

    >>I bet most of you readers of this blog, whatever your political or theological persuasion, are introverts.<,

    Not me! I'm a flaming extrovert. And if you visit my church and I see you standing there with your nose in a book like a good introvert I will invite you over to my house for supper!!

  • Scots

    >>I bet most of you readers of this blog, whatever your political or theological persuasion, are introverts.<,

    Not me! I'm a flaming extrovert. And if you visit my church and I see you standing there with your nose in a book like a good introvert I will invite you over to my house for supper!!

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Jim K.: You may have Avoidant Personality Disorder, which is my own affliction. Sometimes counseling and therapy can help, if you have resources for that, especially if you’re young. I don’t know your age, but if you’re young, take it from me. Facing 60 and being still single is kind of tough.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    Jim K.: You may have Avoidant Personality Disorder, which is my own affliction. Sometimes counseling and therapy can help, if you have resources for that, especially if you’re young. I don’t know your age, but if you’re young, take it from me. Facing 60 and being still single is kind of tough.

  • Booklover

    Wow, my son told me I was a social retard but according to this article, I am just an introvert. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Actually, I can be quite outgoing with a circle of friends but am often uncomfortable in the situations described in the article. In my church this sociableness is extending into the music. If it’s not hippy-hoppy fun, it isn’t sung. Sunday we even sang “Create in Me a Clean Heart Oh God” with a drum and brisk rock beat. (!!) Incredible. I have been accused of not wanting to be inclusive in the love of Jesus when I have expressed dismay about certain songs and practices. Again, thank you for the article. I am not alone. (Although sometimes we “introverts” prefer to be.) :-)

  • Booklover

    Wow, my son told me I was a social retard but according to this article, I am just an introvert. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Actually, I can be quite outgoing with a circle of friends but am often uncomfortable in the situations described in the article. In my church this sociableness is extending into the music. If it’s not hippy-hoppy fun, it isn’t sung. Sunday we even sang “Create in Me a Clean Heart Oh God” with a drum and brisk rock beat. (!!) Incredible. I have been accused of not wanting to be inclusive in the love of Jesus when I have expressed dismay about certain songs and practices. Again, thank you for the article. I am not alone. (Although sometimes we “introverts” prefer to be.) :-)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Extroversion and introversion are just matters of personality. Neither can be a “sin.” Yes, there can be dysfunctions on both ends of the scale, and both no doubt have tendencies that can become sinful. Introverts can allow themselves to become isolated away from everyone, which can become an offense against the commandment to love our neighbors. Extroverts can lose their inner lives completely and destroyed by partying, bad company, and peer pressure. These too can be violations of love of neighbor.

    The thing is, though, neither of these personality types has the sole claim of being what is “normal.” Planning church activities and practices to please extroverts sets up a norm that is not true. Look what a chord this is striking! Meoip’s story of being rejected for the pastoral ministry because he is an introvert is unutterably said. (Pastors, aren’t some of you introverts?) If we had more introverted pastors, maybe we wouldn’t have these problems (including turning the solemn ritual of passing the peace into a meet-and-greet gabfest).

    And, Steve, I am touched by what you say about staying away from church and even thinking Christianity is not for you. It is! It is! Lots of us are like you. Do try a liturgical church, which worships in a very inwardly moving way, and you can just skip any socializing you feel uncomfortable with. Try a Lutheran church! We are often accused of being unfriendly, so that can be a plus to people like us! :-)

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Extroversion and introversion are just matters of personality. Neither can be a “sin.” Yes, there can be dysfunctions on both ends of the scale, and both no doubt have tendencies that can become sinful. Introverts can allow themselves to become isolated away from everyone, which can become an offense against the commandment to love our neighbors. Extroverts can lose their inner lives completely and destroyed by partying, bad company, and peer pressure. These too can be violations of love of neighbor.

    The thing is, though, neither of these personality types has the sole claim of being what is “normal.” Planning church activities and practices to please extroverts sets up a norm that is not true. Look what a chord this is striking! Meoip’s story of being rejected for the pastoral ministry because he is an introvert is unutterably said. (Pastors, aren’t some of you introverts?) If we had more introverted pastors, maybe we wouldn’t have these problems (including turning the solemn ritual of passing the peace into a meet-and-greet gabfest).

    And, Steve, I am touched by what you say about staying away from church and even thinking Christianity is not for you. It is! It is! Lots of us are like you. Do try a liturgical church, which worships in a very inwardly moving way, and you can just skip any socializing you feel uncomfortable with. Try a Lutheran church! We are often accused of being unfriendly, so that can be a plus to people like us! :-)

  • Mary

    My husband became a christian ten years after we were married. I was brought up LCMS and attended church during these years. He would go to church when our children were baptized, but that was it. When he became a christian, he dreaded the thought of going to church. The reason? He was afraid people would want to talk to him. Can’t I just sit in the back and leave right away without all of that meet and greet time? Even now he leaves the sanctuary and heads to Bible class to just sit in a chair till class starts. He doesn’t want to chit chat around the coffee area. Our church does not do the sharing of the peace time, but we have visited churches that do. He hates it! He feels it is contrived, and like others have posted, more of a social time. I on the other hand, introduce myself to new people, and want to invite them all over for dinner! Quite a combination. Both of us have to compromise.

  • Mary

    My husband became a christian ten years after we were married. I was brought up LCMS and attended church during these years. He would go to church when our children were baptized, but that was it. When he became a christian, he dreaded the thought of going to church. The reason? He was afraid people would want to talk to him. Can’t I just sit in the back and leave right away without all of that meet and greet time? Even now he leaves the sanctuary and heads to Bible class to just sit in a chair till class starts. He doesn’t want to chit chat around the coffee area. Our church does not do the sharing of the peace time, but we have visited churches that do. He hates it! He feels it is contrived, and like others have posted, more of a social time. I on the other hand, introduce myself to new people, and want to invite them all over for dinner! Quite a combination. Both of us have to compromise.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Yes, Mary! The extroversion bias may be one reason why so many men don’t go to church. I think we are really onto something here.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Yes, Mary! The extroversion bias may be one reason why so many men don’t go to church. I think we are really onto something here.

  • Scots

    I think we also need to be aware that many “introverts” avoid fellowship not so much because they are introverts but because they do not want to be exposed or have their sins exposed to the light. I think it is important that introverts not use their “personality” as an excuse to avoid fellowship. EVERYONE needs to be in Christian fellowship (Rom. 14:112, 1 Corinthians 12, Heb 10:24) it’s a command (1 thess 5:12, Gal 6:1-2) not an option! that doesn’t mean you have to be friends with everyone in your church (like me), but you should have someone to whom you are holding yourself accountable.

  • Scots

    I think we also need to be aware that many “introverts” avoid fellowship not so much because they are introverts but because they do not want to be exposed or have their sins exposed to the light. I think it is important that introverts not use their “personality” as an excuse to avoid fellowship. EVERYONE needs to be in Christian fellowship (Rom. 14:112, 1 Corinthians 12, Heb 10:24) it’s a command (1 thess 5:12, Gal 6:1-2) not an option! that doesn’t mean you have to be friends with everyone in your church (like me), but you should have someone to whom you are holding yourself accountable.

  • Catherine

    I think it should be known that Mary and Jim K are my parents. ;-) I guess you can see where I get my introversion from!

  • Catherine

    I think it should be known that Mary and Jim K are my parents. ;-) I guess you can see where I get my introversion from!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I know, Scots, and I would be glad to go to supper at your place. Thanks for the invitation. As has been said, introverts can also form close friendships and don’t feel uncomfortable around people they know well. It’s possible to love and serve your neighbors and to be part of the body of Christ (described in Scripture as an assemblage of very different people, as different as eyes from ears) without being “sociable.” As Joe Carter’s post that I linked to points out, some people confuse being sociable with being spiritual. They are two different animals. Most of the extroversion people here are objecting to is not confessing of sins, but small talk and chit-chat.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I know, Scots, and I would be glad to go to supper at your place. Thanks for the invitation. As has been said, introverts can also form close friendships and don’t feel uncomfortable around people they know well. It’s possible to love and serve your neighbors and to be part of the body of Christ (described in Scripture as an assemblage of very different people, as different as eyes from ears) without being “sociable.” As Joe Carter’s post that I linked to points out, some people confuse being sociable with being spiritual. They are two different animals. Most of the extroversion people here are objecting to is not confessing of sins, but small talk and chit-chat.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Riffing off of Mary, I have long suspected that churches have adopted social principles that are geared toward women and womanly psyches. Not that we need some sort of macho-man service (I think we have seen that topic here before), but rather that men are naturally a bit more defensive. All these hug and share times are nauseating. I am a certified extrovert, but I can’t stand this stuff. I don’t hug peeps unless we have just won a major sporting event together or something, and I generally don’t share with, you know, strangers. Its called self-preservation, and lurks in my medula oblongata like a wild spider-monkey stalking its prey.

    On the flip side, my own church (which is Baptist, so there is a bit of a difference) is stuctured around a liturgical style (although the confession, scripture reading, etc. is selected by the pastor, rather than being from a book or something), and is designed to do two things – be faithful to the NT demands on corporate worship, and to foster Biblical community. You know, the whole church thing is God’s idea, and protestant liturgy is usually a way to make sure a church is faithful to the Biblical model.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Riffing off of Mary, I have long suspected that churches have adopted social principles that are geared toward women and womanly psyches. Not that we need some sort of macho-man service (I think we have seen that topic here before), but rather that men are naturally a bit more defensive. All these hug and share times are nauseating. I am a certified extrovert, but I can’t stand this stuff. I don’t hug peeps unless we have just won a major sporting event together or something, and I generally don’t share with, you know, strangers. Its called self-preservation, and lurks in my medula oblongata like a wild spider-monkey stalking its prey.

    On the flip side, my own church (which is Baptist, so there is a bit of a difference) is stuctured around a liturgical style (although the confession, scripture reading, etc. is selected by the pastor, rather than being from a book or something), and is designed to do two things – be faithful to the NT demands on corporate worship, and to foster Biblical community. You know, the whole church thing is God’s idea, and protestant liturgy is usually a way to make sure a church is faithful to the Biblical model.

  • Scots

    Anytime, Dr Veith, you are in southeastern Wisconsin, let me know. I would love to have my children hear about PHC from you. You’ll need a nap and some recharge time after “chatting” with me :)

  • Scots

    Anytime, Dr Veith, you are in southeastern Wisconsin, let me know. I would love to have my children hear about PHC from you. You’ll need a nap and some recharge time after “chatting” with me :)

  • Scots

    >>don’t feel uncomfortable around people they know well<<

    This is an area where I could have used more discernment in the past. I assume that everyone is naturally self-disclosing like me and that they are dying to have a deep conversation with someone they don't know that well. Made some people very uncomfortable.

    btw, I am an ESFJ/ENFJ (depending on where I am:)

  • Scots

    >>don’t feel uncomfortable around people they know well<<

    This is an area where I could have used more discernment in the past. I assume that everyone is naturally self-disclosing like me and that they are dying to have a deep conversation with someone they don't know that well. Made some people very uncomfortable.

    btw, I am an ESFJ/ENFJ (depending on where I am:)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Vieth,
    I do know of introverted pastors, and some of them are very fine pastors. Pastoring is a social job though, and the introverts have to work through that. IF your scared of visiting and socializing then being a pastor is going to be a tough choice of vocation. But I don’t think the Meyers Briggs tests should be used to weed people out of the process either. They are good for self awareness.
    Of course, being extroverted to the extreme is also going to bring its own problems in the pastoral office.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Vieth,
    I do know of introverted pastors, and some of them are very fine pastors. Pastoring is a social job though, and the introverts have to work through that. IF your scared of visiting and socializing then being a pastor is going to be a tough choice of vocation. But I don’t think the Meyers Briggs tests should be used to weed people out of the process either. They are good for self awareness.
    Of course, being extroverted to the extreme is also going to bring its own problems in the pastoral office.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    and by the way, talk of fellowship in the New Testament really isn’t talking about sitting around chit chatting. As one pastor i know says, the Fellowship hall is the sanctuary where Communion is served. Not the coffee room.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    and by the way, talk of fellowship in the New Testament really isn’t talking about sitting around chit chatting. As one pastor i know says, the Fellowship hall is the sanctuary where Communion is served. Not the coffee room.

  • DonS

    This is a truly insightful article, especially to those of us who are introverted. Winston, thank you for your comments at 5. I have struggled with this issue as well, partially compensating by marrying an extrovert who keeps me socialized :-) As you (Winston) suggest, we do have an obligation to be part of the Christian community, and to evangelize, and thus not to withdraw into total isolation. On the other hand, as Scripture emphasizes, we are part of the Body of Christ, each with very different roles and functions, but all being required to work together to fulfill His purposes. Society over-values the skills and talents of extroverts, and conversely undervalues the skills and talents of introverts. Sometimes, we do equate the tendencies of introverted behavior with sin. But, they aren’t sin, and , thankfully, God values the introvert as much as the extrovert.

  • DonS

    This is a truly insightful article, especially to those of us who are introverted. Winston, thank you for your comments at 5. I have struggled with this issue as well, partially compensating by marrying an extrovert who keeps me socialized :-) As you (Winston) suggest, we do have an obligation to be part of the Christian community, and to evangelize, and thus not to withdraw into total isolation. On the other hand, as Scripture emphasizes, we are part of the Body of Christ, each with very different roles and functions, but all being required to work together to fulfill His purposes. Society over-values the skills and talents of extroverts, and conversely undervalues the skills and talents of introverts. Sometimes, we do equate the tendencies of introverted behavior with sin. But, they aren’t sin, and , thankfully, God values the introvert as much as the extrovert.

  • Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » Good Stuff on the Web — Cranach: The Blog of Veith, on Introverts in Church

  • Pingback: The Brothers of John the Steadfast » Good Stuff on the Web — Cranach: The Blog of Veith, on Introverts in Church

  • http://blog.living-apologetics.org Paul A. Nelson

    It’s easy to quickly move into looking at introversion as a challenge, and extroversion as the ideal. Many of the comments here have this implicit assumption. The introverts sort of feel bad that they are introverted, and the extroverts feel bad that the introverts feel bad. There are benefits to both, but we have to know how to allow these orientations to work together, rather than hoping that the other type was more like us in some way.

    My wife and I initiated an experiment in Christian communal living a few years ago when I was at seminary. This was one of the fundamental challenges we faced – my wife and I are introverts, and 3/4 of the other two couples were extroverts. The assumption was that if we were just more like them, things would be better. And while we sought to be understood, our assumption was that they had a few things to learn from us as well.

    I’ve prayed and talked often about partnering with an extrovert to help build a church. Extroverts meet people easily and seem comfortable talking in ways that others find very winsome. Introverts seem to have greater abilities in forming deep relationships with a few people. I have talked about it in terms of extroverts having advantages in the breadth of numbers of people they meet and interact with, whereas introverts have advantages in the depth of the relationships they form with people.

    To my mind, extroverts show great promise in terms of inviting people into worship, sharing the excitement they have about what’s going on at their church, and following up with people they’ve talked to. Introverts offer promise in terms of discipling, teaching the faith and helping to ground those new to the faith.

    How does this address the issue of meet & greet situations in a church? I think Philip’s comment is key here – the issue of the passing of the peace is not an issue of being chatty with one another. There are Scriptural precedents and directives as to what this time should be used for. Aside from the extrovert/introvert issue, there’s the reality of clannish behavior, where some people are ignored or excluded while others are warmly and affectionately greeted. I think this is an important area for some good pastoral thought and theological study.

    As Christians grow together in a community, people should also be getting to know one another to the point where we know that “Bob” (name chosen totally at random and not related to any of the above posters!) prefers a simple “Peace of Christ” and a quick handshake, while “Suzy” (same disclaimer) likes a hug as well. Both introverts and extroverts need to move beyond the delimiters of classification to seeing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the same family who need to be loved, appreciated, and accommodated to the best of our ability – even if it’s not our natural preference. If everyone is doing this, then neither the extrovert or the introvert has to crawl as far out of their comfort zones.

  • http://blog.living-apologetics.org Paul A. Nelson

    It’s easy to quickly move into looking at introversion as a challenge, and extroversion as the ideal. Many of the comments here have this implicit assumption. The introverts sort of feel bad that they are introverted, and the extroverts feel bad that the introverts feel bad. There are benefits to both, but we have to know how to allow these orientations to work together, rather than hoping that the other type was more like us in some way.

    My wife and I initiated an experiment in Christian communal living a few years ago when I was at seminary. This was one of the fundamental challenges we faced – my wife and I are introverts, and 3/4 of the other two couples were extroverts. The assumption was that if we were just more like them, things would be better. And while we sought to be understood, our assumption was that they had a few things to learn from us as well.

    I’ve prayed and talked often about partnering with an extrovert to help build a church. Extroverts meet people easily and seem comfortable talking in ways that others find very winsome. Introverts seem to have greater abilities in forming deep relationships with a few people. I have talked about it in terms of extroverts having advantages in the breadth of numbers of people they meet and interact with, whereas introverts have advantages in the depth of the relationships they form with people.

    To my mind, extroverts show great promise in terms of inviting people into worship, sharing the excitement they have about what’s going on at their church, and following up with people they’ve talked to. Introverts offer promise in terms of discipling, teaching the faith and helping to ground those new to the faith.

    How does this address the issue of meet & greet situations in a church? I think Philip’s comment is key here – the issue of the passing of the peace is not an issue of being chatty with one another. There are Scriptural precedents and directives as to what this time should be used for. Aside from the extrovert/introvert issue, there’s the reality of clannish behavior, where some people are ignored or excluded while others are warmly and affectionately greeted. I think this is an important area for some good pastoral thought and theological study.

    As Christians grow together in a community, people should also be getting to know one another to the point where we know that “Bob” (name chosen totally at random and not related to any of the above posters!) prefers a simple “Peace of Christ” and a quick handshake, while “Suzy” (same disclaimer) likes a hug as well. Both introverts and extroverts need to move beyond the delimiters of classification to seeing one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the same family who need to be loved, appreciated, and accommodated to the best of our ability – even if it’s not our natural preference. If everyone is doing this, then neither the extrovert or the introvert has to crawl as far out of their comfort zones.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m probably an extrovert (perhaps not overly so), married to a probable introvert, but I have to ask: “I would argue that [introverts] are especially serious about religion.” Really? Really? That seems really poorly phrased, at best.

    Also, saying that introverts are “in particular need of the gospel” — while I understand your point about them not feeling welcome in a place where the gospel is preached — makes it seem like those chatty folk who do feel welcome in such churches are not as much in need of the gospel. Which can’t be what you actually meant.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m probably an extrovert (perhaps not overly so), married to a probable introvert, but I have to ask: “I would argue that [introverts] are especially serious about religion.” Really? Really? That seems really poorly phrased, at best.

    Also, saying that introverts are “in particular need of the gospel” — while I understand your point about them not feeling welcome in a place where the gospel is preached — makes it seem like those chatty folk who do feel welcome in such churches are not as much in need of the gospel. Which can’t be what you actually meant.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Bror Erickson

    So does Bob hug Suzy? or does Suzy just shake Bob’s hand?
    Personally I think we ought to forget handshakes and hugging, if we are going to be biblicists lets be biblicists and bring back the kiss of peace.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Bror Erickson

    So does Bob hug Suzy? or does Suzy just shake Bob’s hand?
    Personally I think we ought to forget handshakes and hugging, if we are going to be biblicists lets be biblicists and bring back the kiss of peace.

  • David

    I agree with many posting here that introversion seems to be regarded as somehow bad or worse than extroversion in churches, but why do you all think that is? I think this article hits on the answer to that, namely that sharing your feelings or experiences in a bible class or small group situation has eclipsed hearing and believing in Jesus Christ as the standard for faith or being spiritual. What’s the proper balance between being involved in your church and taking care of your own personal faith?

  • David

    I agree with many posting here that introversion seems to be regarded as somehow bad or worse than extroversion in churches, but why do you all think that is? I think this article hits on the answer to that, namely that sharing your feelings or experiences in a bible class or small group situation has eclipsed hearing and believing in Jesus Christ as the standard for faith or being spiritual. What’s the proper balance between being involved in your church and taking care of your own personal faith?

  • Scots

    DA Carson wrote wrt to the fact that the Gospel doesn’t just save the beautiful, the wise, the wealthy and healthy, if it did then “Where would that leave the old, the ugly, the illiterate, the introverts, the poor, the sick, and the perverse?””

    I thought, “wow, now introverts are a despised class lumped in with the poor, orphans and widow…” when exactly did THAT happen?

  • Scots

    DA Carson wrote wrt to the fact that the Gospel doesn’t just save the beautiful, the wise, the wealthy and healthy, if it did then “Where would that leave the old, the ugly, the illiterate, the introverts, the poor, the sick, and the perverse?””

    I thought, “wow, now introverts are a despised class lumped in with the poor, orphans and widow…” when exactly did THAT happen?

  • Ryan

    Passing of Peace . I’m a pastor and an introvert (INTP if you want to get all myers brigsy)- which doesn’t mean I’m socially awkward, it just means social tires me out incredibly. Even my predecessor of 32 years was an introvert.

    The thing I have found is if an introvert leads a church they must remember to have social activities for the extroverts.

  • Ryan

    Passing of Peace . I’m a pastor and an introvert (INTP if you want to get all myers brigsy)- which doesn’t mean I’m socially awkward, it just means social tires me out incredibly. Even my predecessor of 32 years was an introvert.

    The thing I have found is if an introvert leads a church they must remember to have social activities for the extroverts.

  • Ryan

    Hmm… there should be a ‘shudder’ after the passing of the peace above.

  • Ryan

    Hmm… there should be a ‘shudder’ after the passing of the peace above.

  • Scots

    >>The thing I have found is if an introvert leads a church they must remember to have social activities for the extroverts.<,

    Really? The extroverts in your church need help with having a social activity? They can't do that for themselves? :)

  • Scots

    >>The thing I have found is if an introvert leads a church they must remember to have social activities for the extroverts.<,

    Really? The extroverts in your church need help with having a social activity? They can't do that for themselves? :)

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think it takes one’s whole life as a Christian to begin to rejoice in the “other-ness” of the other – even Christians. In heaven, I imagine these distinctions will be much more pronounced (lived fully) and appreciated by each one. I’m an introvert and I love pastoral ministry! I have especially learned to love the fellowship of visiting and blessing Christians who can’t make it into church.

    By the way, the passing of the peace is a bit uncomfortable for me, too, but I have learned to appreciate what it signifies. This discussion really has me wanting to study its history and theological significance a tid bit more. Isn’t part of this supposed to be an opportunity for reconciliation with a Christian brother or sister, before we both commune with Christ and with one another at the altar?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think it takes one’s whole life as a Christian to begin to rejoice in the “other-ness” of the other – even Christians. In heaven, I imagine these distinctions will be much more pronounced (lived fully) and appreciated by each one. I’m an introvert and I love pastoral ministry! I have especially learned to love the fellowship of visiting and blessing Christians who can’t make it into church.

    By the way, the passing of the peace is a bit uncomfortable for me, too, but I have learned to appreciate what it signifies. This discussion really has me wanting to study its history and theological significance a tid bit more. Isn’t part of this supposed to be an opportunity for reconciliation with a Christian brother or sister, before we both commune with Christ and with one another at the altar?

  • Joe

    We don’t do a handshaking/hugging passing of the peace. Instead, we do it the right way:

    P “The peace of the Lord be with you always”

    C “Amen”

  • Joe

    We don’t do a handshaking/hugging passing of the peace. Instead, we do it the right way:

    P “The peace of the Lord be with you always”

    C “Amen”

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    tODD @41: Of course, extroverts are in need of the gospel too. I suspect, though, that a good many of the “unchurched”–a big percentage of the agnostics and atheists and other unbelievers–are introverts. These are the non-Christians churches say they want to reach, but their methods tend to be aimed at the extroverts, who, being joiners, are much easier to get into church.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    tODD @41: Of course, extroverts are in need of the gospel too. I suspect, though, that a good many of the “unchurched”–a big percentage of the agnostics and atheists and other unbelievers–are introverts. These are the non-Christians churches say they want to reach, but their methods tend to be aimed at the extroverts, who, being joiners, are much easier to get into church.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith (@41), you said that “a good many of the ‘unchurched’ … are introverts”. Well, of course. A good chunk of any large population is introverted. But the question is whether those in the churches are disproportionately extroverted, and, conversely, those outside the church are disproportionately introverted. You seem to think so, but I’m not so convinced.

    I’m sure I’m biased by the people I know best, most of whom are unchurched, but seem to show no disproportion in the balance of introversion and extroversion. The extroverts I do know, though, apparently aren’t very interested in the methods supposedly aimed their way.

    And, of course, as this thread demonstrates anecdotally, I can’t see how you can claim there’s a dearth of introverts in the church. Why, in my own church, I don’t talk to lots of them every Sunday! ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith (@41), you said that “a good many of the ‘unchurched’ … are introverts”. Well, of course. A good chunk of any large population is introverted. But the question is whether those in the churches are disproportionately extroverted, and, conversely, those outside the church are disproportionately introverted. You seem to think so, but I’m not so convinced.

    I’m sure I’m biased by the people I know best, most of whom are unchurched, but seem to show no disproportion in the balance of introversion and extroversion. The extroverts I do know, though, apparently aren’t very interested in the methods supposedly aimed their way.

    And, of course, as this thread demonstrates anecdotally, I can’t see how you can claim there’s a dearth of introverts in the church. Why, in my own church, I don’t talk to lots of them every Sunday! ;)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And, seriously, what was that whole introverts “are especially serious about religion” remark about?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And, seriously, what was that whole introverts “are especially serious about religion” remark about?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    tODD, introverts are, by definition, more inward oriented than outward oriented. They are focused, for better or worse, on their interior lives. Religion has much to do with the interior life. Introverts thus will tend to take religion seriously. That doesn’t mean they necessarily are religious. The biggest enemies of religion, I suspect (though can’t prove), are introverts. Some people are completely apathetic about religion. I suspect that large class of people–yes, probably this is the largest category of unbelievers– has a lot of extroverts. They never think of religion at all. They care more about other things and seldom scrutinize their inner lives. The introverts, though, do care, so they become the more militant atheists.

    I do not say at all that there are no introverts in the church. I am saying that many congregations and virtually all church growth methods make no provision for them, and instead make them annoyed. And churches do almost nothing to reach introverts. The projection is that it is normal to be extroverted and abnormal–or even sinful–to be introverted, which is just naive. But, no, there are lots of introverts in every congregation. They are the ones who often feel abnormal and annoyed.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    tODD, introverts are, by definition, more inward oriented than outward oriented. They are focused, for better or worse, on their interior lives. Religion has much to do with the interior life. Introverts thus will tend to take religion seriously. That doesn’t mean they necessarily are religious. The biggest enemies of religion, I suspect (though can’t prove), are introverts. Some people are completely apathetic about religion. I suspect that large class of people–yes, probably this is the largest category of unbelievers– has a lot of extroverts. They never think of religion at all. They care more about other things and seldom scrutinize their inner lives. The introverts, though, do care, so they become the more militant atheists.

    I do not say at all that there are no introverts in the church. I am saying that many congregations and virtually all church growth methods make no provision for them, and instead make them annoyed. And churches do almost nothing to reach introverts. The projection is that it is normal to be extroverted and abnormal–or even sinful–to be introverted, which is just naive. But, no, there are lots of introverts in every congregation. They are the ones who often feel abnormal and annoyed.

  • Stephanie

    1. Introversion != anti-social. Most introverts socialize and even do so very well in smaller groups. So I don’t know where all of this “not being in fellowship” stuff comes from. We may not be in fellowship in the same way as extroverts, but most of us do socialize.
    2. That being said, my introversion is probably why I really, really enjoy my small church (~100 people attending / Sunday) where I have been a member for 10+ years and know and am connected to people. For the first few years coffee hour (which lasts around 15 minutes – why do we call it coffee hour?) was awkward for me. But given the time to make actual friends, rather than surface aquaintances that I saw only on Sundays, this time is now generally pleasant. Because we can talk about actual things. Not blather just to hear ourselves speak.
    3. It might also be why larger churches are uncomfortable for me.
    4. Though it is not church specific, I cannot resist the opportunity to share my all time favorite article on introverts – http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

  • Stephanie

    1. Introversion != anti-social. Most introverts socialize and even do so very well in smaller groups. So I don’t know where all of this “not being in fellowship” stuff comes from. We may not be in fellowship in the same way as extroverts, but most of us do socialize.
    2. That being said, my introversion is probably why I really, really enjoy my small church (~100 people attending / Sunday) where I have been a member for 10+ years and know and am connected to people. For the first few years coffee hour (which lasts around 15 minutes – why do we call it coffee hour?) was awkward for me. But given the time to make actual friends, rather than surface aquaintances that I saw only on Sundays, this time is now generally pleasant. Because we can talk about actual things. Not blather just to hear ourselves speak.
    3. It might also be why larger churches are uncomfortable for me.
    4. Though it is not church specific, I cannot resist the opportunity to share my all time favorite article on introverts – http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Stephanie,

    The “coffee hour” in this case should be taken to mean “the appointed time for coffee”, not a 60 minute time period.

    Similar to how when the hymns refer to the “hour” of worship, they are not talking length, but simply the appointed time we meet for the Divine Service.

    Hope this helps! :)

  • http://www.liturgysolutions.com Phillip Magness

    Stephanie,

    The “coffee hour” in this case should be taken to mean “the appointed time for coffee”, not a 60 minute time period.

    Similar to how when the hymns refer to the “hour” of worship, they are not talking length, but simply the appointed time we meet for the Divine Service.

    Hope this helps! :)

  • Stephanie

    Aha! That makes sense – thanks!

    I just thought the hymns were underestimating. :)

  • Stephanie

    Aha! That makes sense – thanks!

    I just thought the hymns were underestimating. :)

  • Peter Leavitt

    I prefer introverts to extroverts, though both tend to the extreme. Introverts are in danger of terribly isolating themselves; extroverts are usually insecure, glad-handing bores. We are social beings who need to extend ourselves to others, though not social butterflies who lack inward depth.

    I had a college friend who was painfully shy, though one of the brightest and underneath kindest persons I’ve known. Whatever demons affected him caused him eventually to commit suicide.

    Christian churches , of course, need to extend themselves to both extroverts and introverts.

  • Peter Leavitt

    I prefer introverts to extroverts, though both tend to the extreme. Introverts are in danger of terribly isolating themselves; extroverts are usually insecure, glad-handing bores. We are social beings who need to extend ourselves to others, though not social butterflies who lack inward depth.

    I had a college friend who was painfully shy, though one of the brightest and underneath kindest persons I’ve known. Whatever demons affected him caused him eventually to commit suicide.

    Christian churches , of course, need to extend themselves to both extroverts and introverts.

  • http://weedon.blogspot.com weedon

    Oh, amen, amen, amen. From a fellow introvert…

  • http://weedon.blogspot.com weedon

    Oh, amen, amen, amen. From a fellow introvert…

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    And you a pastor, Rev. Weedon, and from everything I have heard a very fine one. Do you disagree that pastors need to be extroverts or think that you are handicapped in exercising your office as an introvert?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    And you a pastor, Rev. Weedon, and from everything I have heard a very fine one. Do you disagree that pastors need to be extroverts or think that you are handicapped in exercising your office as an introvert?

  • LAJ

    Why force people to share the peace? Unless you are in a congregation with lots of feuding, why do it at all? We don’t do it at my church. It’s like using law to force intimacy. If you are going to do it, Joe at #40′s I like. A gentle reminder to greet those around you is sometimes done at our church.

    I am much happier because I am not as introverted as I once was. I married an extrovert, which has helped. But I don’t like small talk very much, and I still need my time at home alone to recharge. Part of being introverted can be not wanting others to know the real you. It’s much healthier to admit our faults to ourselves and sometimes to others.

  • LAJ

    Why force people to share the peace? Unless you are in a congregation with lots of feuding, why do it at all? We don’t do it at my church. It’s like using law to force intimacy. If you are going to do it, Joe at #40′s I like. A gentle reminder to greet those around you is sometimes done at our church.

    I am much happier because I am not as introverted as I once was. I married an extrovert, which has helped. But I don’t like small talk very much, and I still need my time at home alone to recharge. Part of being introverted can be not wanting others to know the real you. It’s much healthier to admit our faults to ourselves and sometimes to others.

  • David

    Pastor Lindemood @
    This is a little off topic, but to follow up on the passing of the peace history, here’s a quote from Norman Nagel in, “Lutheran Worship, History and Practice,” discussing the kiss of peace.
    “Only those who receive and give the kiss of peace are welcomed to the Lord’s Table. The Didascalia, (early third century) evokes the vivid scene of the kiss of peace, which comes from the altar, coming to a sudden halt as it is being given and received all the way round. The presiding minister leaves the altar and goes to where the kiss of peace is blocked. Only after he has worked reconciliation (pacem facere inter eos [Matt. 5:24; 6:15; 7:6]) does the kiss of peace continue on its way all the way round, and only then does the litergy proceed.” (307)
    Nagel discusses the peace in more detail, but I thought this passage was a moving historical example of what the peace and what fellowship signify, the reconciliation between believers, and the communion that we all share.

  • David

    Pastor Lindemood @
    This is a little off topic, but to follow up on the passing of the peace history, here’s a quote from Norman Nagel in, “Lutheran Worship, History and Practice,” discussing the kiss of peace.
    “Only those who receive and give the kiss of peace are welcomed to the Lord’s Table. The Didascalia, (early third century) evokes the vivid scene of the kiss of peace, which comes from the altar, coming to a sudden halt as it is being given and received all the way round. The presiding minister leaves the altar and goes to where the kiss of peace is blocked. Only after he has worked reconciliation (pacem facere inter eos [Matt. 5:24; 6:15; 7:6]) does the kiss of peace continue on its way all the way round, and only then does the litergy proceed.” (307)
    Nagel discusses the peace in more detail, but I thought this passage was a moving historical example of what the peace and what fellowship signify, the reconciliation between believers, and the communion that we all share.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Thanks for that, David. And thanks for the reference.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Thanks for that, David. And thanks for the reference.

  • http://weedon.blogspot.com weedon

    Dr. Veith,

    I hope that I will end up being a fine pastor someday.

    No, I do NOT believe that being an introvert (drawing your energy from time alone rather than time together) need be a hindrance. It’s just that you have to force yourself to do some things you don’t particularly care to do. What calling doesn’t?

    Did you see this article? It’s priceless:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

  • http://weedon.blogspot.com weedon

    Dr. Veith,

    I hope that I will end up being a fine pastor someday.

    No, I do NOT believe that being an introvert (drawing your energy from time alone rather than time together) need be a hindrance. It’s just that you have to force yourself to do some things you don’t particularly care to do. What calling doesn’t?

    Did you see this article? It’s priceless:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Yes, i did see that article. Stephanie brought it up earlier. I’m blogging it tomorrow.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Yes, i did see that article. Stephanie brought it up earlier. I’m blogging it tomorrow.

  • Elizabeth F

    First, I must admit to being an extrovert, although I do cherish my alone time. That being said:
    1. I believe in greeting people before church, not during the service. I do not feel it is right to bring worship to a standstill while people say hello and shake hands. It takes the focus off of where it should be.
    2. If you greet people before or after the service, take their needs into consideration. If you know someone is not comfortable with handshakes, or even a verbal exchange, smile and nod. You might even send them a note at a later time just to let them know you recognize their importance as a member of the church body and value them as a fellow brother or sister in Christ.
    3. This is the most important to me. God works through us, in spite of us. Whether we are an introvert or extrovert, God uses us as He will.

  • Elizabeth F

    First, I must admit to being an extrovert, although I do cherish my alone time. That being said:
    1. I believe in greeting people before church, not during the service. I do not feel it is right to bring worship to a standstill while people say hello and shake hands. It takes the focus off of where it should be.
    2. If you greet people before or after the service, take their needs into consideration. If you know someone is not comfortable with handshakes, or even a verbal exchange, smile and nod. You might even send them a note at a later time just to let them know you recognize their importance as a member of the church body and value them as a fellow brother or sister in Christ.
    3. This is the most important to me. God works through us, in spite of us. Whether we are an introvert or extrovert, God uses us as He will.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I think I’m definitely an extrovert. I just checked with my husband and he thinks so, too. For a while we had a friend who is a psychiatrist, a Freudian, who even said I was an “exhibitionist” of sorts by whatever definition. Well maybe, we bloggers are all exhibitionists. There must be introverted exhibitionists like this psychiatrist himself. Fairly quiet but belting out rock tunes to his guitar.

    As far as introverted people go, who can barely get themselves to say hello, I’ve had little understanding of that or for that. Thanks Lars for saying something about what it is like.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    I think I’m definitely an extrovert. I just checked with my husband and he thinks so, too. For a while we had a friend who is a psychiatrist, a Freudian, who even said I was an “exhibitionist” of sorts by whatever definition. Well maybe, we bloggers are all exhibitionists. There must be introverted exhibitionists like this psychiatrist himself. Fairly quiet but belting out rock tunes to his guitar.

    As far as introverted people go, who can barely get themselves to say hello, I’ve had little understanding of that or for that. Thanks Lars for saying something about what it is like.

  • Larry

    WoW! Yes it’s true! No wonder I felt so “out of place” in all those men ministry tear jerker meetings and Promise Keepers.

    I don’t know what I could add that has not already been posted. It’s SPOT ON. I always felt so guilty for it at my former churches.

  • Larry

    WoW! Yes it’s true! No wonder I felt so “out of place” in all those men ministry tear jerker meetings and Promise Keepers.

    I don’t know what I could add that has not already been posted. It’s SPOT ON. I always felt so guilty for it at my former churches.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    INTJ myself, I think (it’s been 14 years since I took such a test, I think), and quite frankly, I don’t know that I’ve ever met an introvert that didn’t open up with gentle interaction.

    Glad-handing like a used car salesman will make them run away, of course. Eye contact, patience, you find that they actually like people.

    Joke; how do you tell an especially extroverted engineer?

    Answer: He’s looking at your feet instead of his own.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    INTJ myself, I think (it’s been 14 years since I took such a test, I think), and quite frankly, I don’t know that I’ve ever met an introvert that didn’t open up with gentle interaction.

    Glad-handing like a used car salesman will make them run away, of course. Eye contact, patience, you find that they actually like people.

    Joke; how do you tell an especially extroverted engineer?

    Answer: He’s looking at your feet instead of his own.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    BTW, that is MY trade and inclination……

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    BTW, that is MY trade and inclination……

  • http://hymn-addict.blogspot.com Susan G

    At my husband’s first call out of sem, the senior pastor was an introvert. He said it was hard for him to get in the pulpit every week, but he knew he had to do it for the sake of his people’s reception of God’s word. So he did it.

    Today he is one of the seminary’s favorite overseers for vicars. His congregation is one that second-years covet and hope for on placement day. Ken has written a couple of books. He’s been on Issues Etc. And yet, I doubt he could get into sem today with the personality tests. It is terrible that we see church as a social place instead of a hospital for the sin-sick. Pastors are there to give out God’s word and sacraments, not to be extroverted cheerleaders.

  • http://hymn-addict.blogspot.com Susan G

    At my husband’s first call out of sem, the senior pastor was an introvert. He said it was hard for him to get in the pulpit every week, but he knew he had to do it for the sake of his people’s reception of God’s word. So he did it.

    Today he is one of the seminary’s favorite overseers for vicars. His congregation is one that second-years covet and hope for on placement day. Ken has written a couple of books. He’s been on Issues Etc. And yet, I doubt he could get into sem today with the personality tests. It is terrible that we see church as a social place instead of a hospital for the sin-sick. Pastors are there to give out God’s word and sacraments, not to be extroverted cheerleaders.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I’m just to the I side of the Myers-Briggs scale. What I find is that I identify more with anyone near the middle of the spectrum than those on either extreme. (Same for me with Thinking versus Feeling.)

    As to extroverted activities, I don’t mind them so much as long as there is an easy way of opting out without looking conspicuous. (And I’ll differ on how I treat each activity.) If the leader is making it difficult to opt out, coming from an “I’ll fix them!” standpoint, the introverts will probably make themselves scarce.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I’m just to the I side of the Myers-Briggs scale. What I find is that I identify more with anyone near the middle of the spectrum than those on either extreme. (Same for me with Thinking versus Feeling.)

    As to extroverted activities, I don’t mind them so much as long as there is an easy way of opting out without looking conspicuous. (And I’ll differ on how I treat each activity.) If the leader is making it difficult to opt out, coming from an “I’ll fix them!” standpoint, the introverts will probably make themselves scarce.

  • LAJ

    Right on Susan! Relying on your personality to bring people in to your church may not keep your members once you leave. Didn’t Paul say he did not try to use his own intellect or powers of persuasion? He relied on God’s Word to work in people’s hearts. And pastors have many different gifts, strengths and weaknesses. Of course, severe cases of people avoidance won’t work for a pastor. A shepherd’s heart is needed and can be found in introverts and extroverts.

  • LAJ

    Right on Susan! Relying on your personality to bring people in to your church may not keep your members once you leave. Didn’t Paul say he did not try to use his own intellect or powers of persuasion? He relied on God’s Word to work in people’s hearts. And pastors have many different gifts, strengths and weaknesses. Of course, severe cases of people avoidance won’t work for a pastor. A shepherd’s heart is needed and can be found in introverts and extroverts.

  • Larry

    In terms of more or less “neutral” activities I find I enjoy many of both side’s activities, I like being around people and quality time, but I also like time to rest without tons of input.

    People, generally, think introverts are “negative” and thus perceived as unfriendly or unloving; while extroverts are “positive” and thus perceived as friendly and thus loving. But I’ve discovered numerous times first hand that introverts are much better at helping others with the real negatives and sufferings of life. They tend to be the ones who come to you with a deep sense of the problem and a sense of the necessity of sticking it out with more longevity. They tend to be the one’s who will be there well AFTER the initial high profile end of the disaster hit months afterward not just the day of when all appears to have settled down. Extroverts tend to throw their hands up if they can’t slap some lip stick on it real quick, or even toss a little “law” your way. Anyone who has dealt with despair has experienced this. That’s why for example Luther’s writings are so comfort filled for the despairing.

    I think what most tagged as “introverts” hate more than anything is what one might call forced or constrained “social events”, because its connected to that “is it genuine”. E.g. in my SB days we always had at the beginning of the service the obligatory 30 seconds to 2 minutes of obligatory “fellowship time”. This consisted of walking near to your “neighbor” in the aisles in and around you, a quick obligatory shake of the hand, a quick obligatory “how you doing”, a quick obligatory “just fine” (even if you were not), on to the next guy/gal until the stop watch called “time”. This is not real “fellowship” nor real “friendship” but just going through the motions. Nobody really “gets to know” another person”, nobody really is caring REALLY “how you are REALLY doing” and nobody REALLY tells how they are REALLY doing…just superficial fictitious “just fine”. I always wondered if one ever dared to say how one is REALLY feeling and struggling if the “fellowship time” would be extended in order to help that person out? It’s not really the churches fault but our societies general tenor, can’t slow down progress, what ever such progress is in any given context, in America that would be anti-American. Our funerals show this, they now become this cookie cutter “this is how you do it” funerals, no time for REAL weeping and suffering. Even in longer events the “extrovert technique” is like Charles Finney’s methods sufficient to produce the excitements, they attempt to “create” the atmosphere for X (e.g. fellowship or a ‘heart to heart’), rather than address it when it arises unexpectedly.

    I see this in my vocation all the time in which there are all kinds of people dealt with, high and low. The extrovert technique attempts to create an artificial atmosphere of “problem solving”, because they don’t like the problem (which is the point) and then one is to apply that later to the situation when it arises, the quick fix, the lip stick. But reality shows that nothing replaces genuine dealing with the problem and sometimes to the chagrin of extrovert technique that takes time and that takes patience and yes painful negative things (real ones not artificially reproduced ones) that need address. I’ve found that the more hard core extroverted a person is their real unfriendliness begins to come out when they grow impatient that their lip stick didn’t fix the problem and that the heretofore “unfriendly” introvert is just the person who will stick by your side and pain.

  • Larry

    In terms of more or less “neutral” activities I find I enjoy many of both side’s activities, I like being around people and quality time, but I also like time to rest without tons of input.

    People, generally, think introverts are “negative” and thus perceived as unfriendly or unloving; while extroverts are “positive” and thus perceived as friendly and thus loving. But I’ve discovered numerous times first hand that introverts are much better at helping others with the real negatives and sufferings of life. They tend to be the ones who come to you with a deep sense of the problem and a sense of the necessity of sticking it out with more longevity. They tend to be the one’s who will be there well AFTER the initial high profile end of the disaster hit months afterward not just the day of when all appears to have settled down. Extroverts tend to throw their hands up if they can’t slap some lip stick on it real quick, or even toss a little “law” your way. Anyone who has dealt with despair has experienced this. That’s why for example Luther’s writings are so comfort filled for the despairing.

    I think what most tagged as “introverts” hate more than anything is what one might call forced or constrained “social events”, because its connected to that “is it genuine”. E.g. in my SB days we always had at the beginning of the service the obligatory 30 seconds to 2 minutes of obligatory “fellowship time”. This consisted of walking near to your “neighbor” in the aisles in and around you, a quick obligatory shake of the hand, a quick obligatory “how you doing”, a quick obligatory “just fine” (even if you were not), on to the next guy/gal until the stop watch called “time”. This is not real “fellowship” nor real “friendship” but just going through the motions. Nobody really “gets to know” another person”, nobody really is caring REALLY “how you are REALLY doing” and nobody REALLY tells how they are REALLY doing…just superficial fictitious “just fine”. I always wondered if one ever dared to say how one is REALLY feeling and struggling if the “fellowship time” would be extended in order to help that person out? It’s not really the churches fault but our societies general tenor, can’t slow down progress, what ever such progress is in any given context, in America that would be anti-American. Our funerals show this, they now become this cookie cutter “this is how you do it” funerals, no time for REAL weeping and suffering. Even in longer events the “extrovert technique” is like Charles Finney’s methods sufficient to produce the excitements, they attempt to “create” the atmosphere for X (e.g. fellowship or a ‘heart to heart’), rather than address it when it arises unexpectedly.

    I see this in my vocation all the time in which there are all kinds of people dealt with, high and low. The extrovert technique attempts to create an artificial atmosphere of “problem solving”, because they don’t like the problem (which is the point) and then one is to apply that later to the situation when it arises, the quick fix, the lip stick. But reality shows that nothing replaces genuine dealing with the problem and sometimes to the chagrin of extrovert technique that takes time and that takes patience and yes painful negative things (real ones not artificially reproduced ones) that need address. I’ve found that the more hard core extroverted a person is their real unfriendliness begins to come out when they grow impatient that their lip stick didn’t fix the problem and that the heretofore “unfriendly” introvert is just the person who will stick by your side and pain.

  • bridget

    I wanted to share how much this article meant to me. It really pulled some things together in my mind. I love our church, but i must confess that it veers toward the “happy-clappy.” I’ve been realizing it’s probably not a good fit for my teenaged son, a classic introvert, non-demonstrative, etc. He complains about going every week. I told him about the article, and we discussed it. I think from a teenager’s limited perspective, they don’t realize there are other kinds of churches, and it is the “personality” of the church they are reacting to, and not clicking with. Thus, they think the problem is with them, and it doesn’t work for them, and just makes them feel bad that they’re not “into” it. He seemd to experience a sense of relief and joy after taking in the article’s point of view, and at some point he and i will visit some other churches together.

  • bridget

    I wanted to share how much this article meant to me. It really pulled some things together in my mind. I love our church, but i must confess that it veers toward the “happy-clappy.” I’ve been realizing it’s probably not a good fit for my teenaged son, a classic introvert, non-demonstrative, etc. He complains about going every week. I told him about the article, and we discussed it. I think from a teenager’s limited perspective, they don’t realize there are other kinds of churches, and it is the “personality” of the church they are reacting to, and not clicking with. Thus, they think the problem is with them, and it doesn’t work for them, and just makes them feel bad that they’re not “into” it. He seemd to experience a sense of relief and joy after taking in the article’s point of view, and at some point he and i will visit some other churches together.

  • Kag

    Well, I am glad I came across this blog. I’ve really been asking God the question of,

    “What is wrong with me? I’d rather be home, drawing…doing domestic things than go out to a movie with people.”

    That sounds so bizarre and just, weird.

    I am young and just married and everyone else our age is so outgoing and always doing and always going and just the thought exhausts me. I am frequently misunderstood by myself and others and it’s just hard to get deep with anyone because it takes me some time. Then, if I do try, it’s almost as if the person would rather just talk about silly things and the deep thoughts of life are just so trivial.

    I am really confused. I like people, I do, I just actually like quiet, reflective, creative time alone and with God much better. THERE, I said it!

    My church is huge and I do feel almost pushed to the sidelines, probably because I don’t go out and socialize all the time. Now, it’s almost never. I just don’t really find it fulfilling. My husband, mother, sister and best friend are so close to me and I feel like that’s all I really need. I give, they give.

    I’ve got to come out more but I just don’t have the energy anymore. I’m trying. I am. I care deeply about people’s hurts and pains and feelings but that ‘realness’ never comes. I get many, many people coming to me and talking to me about so much but I just have a few who will go deep enough with me to understand and really love me. It feels lonely. So I value my time with my close people, my husband, who doesn’t always need to be talking, and mostly my shared, precious moments creative and walking with God.

    I just think about heaven…Isn’t it going to be one, big happy family gathering? Isn’t that true fellowship?

    ACK! If that is the case, I am seriously thinking being being introverted is a sin or at least I need to be balanced. Cookie-cutter.

    As for the greeting at church, to me it feels so fake and silly. And for introverts being more serious about their faith, I feel like I am a failure at times because so much is measured on involvement and sociability. SO MUCH.

  • Kag

    Well, I am glad I came across this blog. I’ve really been asking God the question of,

    “What is wrong with me? I’d rather be home, drawing…doing domestic things than go out to a movie with people.”

    That sounds so bizarre and just, weird.

    I am young and just married and everyone else our age is so outgoing and always doing and always going and just the thought exhausts me. I am frequently misunderstood by myself and others and it’s just hard to get deep with anyone because it takes me some time. Then, if I do try, it’s almost as if the person would rather just talk about silly things and the deep thoughts of life are just so trivial.

    I am really confused. I like people, I do, I just actually like quiet, reflective, creative time alone and with God much better. THERE, I said it!

    My church is huge and I do feel almost pushed to the sidelines, probably because I don’t go out and socialize all the time. Now, it’s almost never. I just don’t really find it fulfilling. My husband, mother, sister and best friend are so close to me and I feel like that’s all I really need. I give, they give.

    I’ve got to come out more but I just don’t have the energy anymore. I’m trying. I am. I care deeply about people’s hurts and pains and feelings but that ‘realness’ never comes. I get many, many people coming to me and talking to me about so much but I just have a few who will go deep enough with me to understand and really love me. It feels lonely. So I value my time with my close people, my husband, who doesn’t always need to be talking, and mostly my shared, precious moments creative and walking with God.

    I just think about heaven…Isn’t it going to be one, big happy family gathering? Isn’t that true fellowship?

    ACK! If that is the case, I am seriously thinking being being introverted is a sin or at least I need to be balanced. Cookie-cutter.

    As for the greeting at church, to me it feels so fake and silly. And for introverts being more serious about their faith, I feel like I am a failure at times because so much is measured on involvement and sociability. SO MUCH.

  • DonS

    Kag: I’m glad you found this blog, and I am glad for your thoughtful, open comment.

    “’What is wrong with me? I’d rather be home, drawing…doing domestic things than go out to a movie with people.’”

    There is nothing wrong with you. God needs introverted people too — they are just as much a part of the Body of Christ and just as important to its proper functioning as extroverts. The quoted statement above sounds to me as if you know exactly what your calling (vocation, in Lutheran parlance) is — you are called to minister to others through your art and to minister to your family. A most noble and important calling. Do it well and to the glory of God.

  • DonS

    Kag: I’m glad you found this blog, and I am glad for your thoughtful, open comment.

    “’What is wrong with me? I’d rather be home, drawing…doing domestic things than go out to a movie with people.’”

    There is nothing wrong with you. God needs introverted people too — they are just as much a part of the Body of Christ and just as important to its proper functioning as extroverts. The quoted statement above sounds to me as if you know exactly what your calling (vocation, in Lutheran parlance) is — you are called to minister to others through your art and to minister to your family. A most noble and important calling. Do it well and to the glory of God.

  • Kag

    Thank you, that is very kind and on spot-on for me. I am pursuing that vocation as we speak. It is what I totally enjoy doing.

    I really want to think introverts are good for the body of Christ but I seriously can’t get the image of heaven like what it is in the lobby on Sunday mornings… Everyone talking and gathering and mingling and I just don’t enjoy that as much.

    Do any other introverts feel this way?

  • Kag

    Thank you, that is very kind and on spot-on for me. I am pursuing that vocation as we speak. It is what I totally enjoy doing.

    I really want to think introverts are good for the body of Christ but I seriously can’t get the image of heaven like what it is in the lobby on Sunday mornings… Everyone talking and gathering and mingling and I just don’t enjoy that as much.

    Do any other introverts feel this way?

  • LAJ

    There are people out there, possibly even at your church, who also don’t enjoy mingling and who are hungry for a deep conversation with someone. It can be difficult to find them. But it sounds like you have what most people want and need, a very loving support group and time with God.

    If we were all extroverts, when would any art get done that so beautifies life for the rest of us?

  • LAJ

    There are people out there, possibly even at your church, who also don’t enjoy mingling and who are hungry for a deep conversation with someone. It can be difficult to find them. But it sounds like you have what most people want and need, a very loving support group and time with God.

    If we were all extroverts, when would any art get done that so beautifies life for the rest of us?

  • Kag

    LAJ, so true…so very. I am so blessed by the loving people I have. Few but of very good quality.

    I am going to pray for others like me are put in my path. I love others not like me, but I really don’t know many like me at all, which we all need I think.

    You are all so helpful and I am thankful for this blog, the article and the loving hearts here. God is healing me through this and hopefully many others out there.

    God bless you all, I love that some of you are introverts. The deep, loving connection you can give is so preciously rare.

  • Kag

    LAJ, so true…so very. I am so blessed by the loving people I have. Few but of very good quality.

    I am going to pray for others like me are put in my path. I love others not like me, but I really don’t know many like me at all, which we all need I think.

    You are all so helpful and I am thankful for this blog, the article and the loving hearts here. God is healing me through this and hopefully many others out there.

    God bless you all, I love that some of you are introverts. The deep, loving connection you can give is so preciously rare.

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  • http://availablelightonline.com/blog/ Onward, Forward, Toward…

    The article was definitely a blessing, but I have felt more assurance and gotten some good encouragement, confirmation / re-assurance of the love of God for who I am, and some new ” life application skills” to use from the majority of the commenters.

    I, too, am a very deep introvert. Introverted to the point in church where I usually do not show up until after the first song / greet your fellow congregation members session is completed.

    In fact, it is very hard for me to meet ‘church people’ because in those greeting sessions in various churches, I have had the following take place from insurance agents slipping me a business card to church people looking for volunteers for service projects to MLM people wanting me in their pyramid to people who heard that I had some “cyber-electro-mechanical” abilities shake my hand only to try to get their computer, house electrical wiring, or car fixed on the super “Christian brother” cheap, to ultra-extroverts who want to recruit me in their fight for the culture war, to people who talk to me but can not remember my name the next week at handshake time…..

    And after all of that, it comes across as all these hyper-extroverted people are very shallow and do now want me for a friend but instead as a customer, salesman, laborer, culture warrior, and name-dropper. Plus with the mindset that goes on in many churches that the government hates the church and is out to destroy the church, the extroverted mindset is encouraged in order to speak out and let your voice be heard to one day become very famous and influence public policy. Yes, many times, I feel marginalized and ‘discerned’ as being non-spiritual but interacting and sharing with people mentally drains me to the point of feeling more burned-out after a church service than encouraged, edified, uplifted, and ministered to.

    Where many of the commenters prefer the smaller churches, I usually prefer the larger churches because I can very easily force myself to become lost in the shuttle because of the way people gravitate to the familiar and extroverted. However, if you stay, eventually the extroverts generally begin to tune you out to the point of feeling non-existent.

  • http://availablelightonline.com/blog/ Onward, Forward, Toward…

    The article was definitely a blessing, but I have felt more assurance and gotten some good encouragement, confirmation / re-assurance of the love of God for who I am, and some new ” life application skills” to use from the majority of the commenters.

    I, too, am a very deep introvert. Introverted to the point in church where I usually do not show up until after the first song / greet your fellow congregation members session is completed.

    In fact, it is very hard for me to meet ‘church people’ because in those greeting sessions in various churches, I have had the following take place from insurance agents slipping me a business card to church people looking for volunteers for service projects to MLM people wanting me in their pyramid to people who heard that I had some “cyber-electro-mechanical” abilities shake my hand only to try to get their computer, house electrical wiring, or car fixed on the super “Christian brother” cheap, to ultra-extroverts who want to recruit me in their fight for the culture war, to people who talk to me but can not remember my name the next week at handshake time…..

    And after all of that, it comes across as all these hyper-extroverted people are very shallow and do now want me for a friend but instead as a customer, salesman, laborer, culture warrior, and name-dropper. Plus with the mindset that goes on in many churches that the government hates the church and is out to destroy the church, the extroverted mindset is encouraged in order to speak out and let your voice be heard to one day become very famous and influence public policy. Yes, many times, I feel marginalized and ‘discerned’ as being non-spiritual but interacting and sharing with people mentally drains me to the point of feeling more burned-out after a church service than encouraged, edified, uplifted, and ministered to.

    Where many of the commenters prefer the smaller churches, I usually prefer the larger churches because I can very easily force myself to become lost in the shuttle because of the way people gravitate to the familiar and extroverted. However, if you stay, eventually the extroverts generally begin to tune you out to the point of feeling non-existent.

  • LAJ

    What kind of a church do you belong to? For one thing at my church we don’t do the forced greeting at all. For another thing if we do greet our neighbors, we don’t try to recruit them to anything. (Well, I have, sometimes, to the choir). Perhaps your church is a bit too informal in its services. We tend to be much more reserved–could be a Lutheran Norwegian-German thing! : ) I hope you can find some Christian friends who truly care about you and whom you find you care about also. After many years at the same church, I have been blessed with some wonderful friends.

  • LAJ

    What kind of a church do you belong to? For one thing at my church we don’t do the forced greeting at all. For another thing if we do greet our neighbors, we don’t try to recruit them to anything. (Well, I have, sometimes, to the choir). Perhaps your church is a bit too informal in its services. We tend to be much more reserved–could be a Lutheran Norwegian-German thing! : ) I hope you can find some Christian friends who truly care about you and whom you find you care about also. After many years at the same church, I have been blessed with some wonderful friends.

  • http://availablelightonline.com/blog/ Onward, Forward, Toward…

    LAJ:

    I apologize for not responding sooner.

    I currently attend an Evangelical Presbyterian church and much of what I have stated is now done based on the past experiences of the last churches I previously attended and the fear that it could easily happen at the current church. I am still not the most social person in church and I am slowly finding people that do care one by one.

  • http://availablelightonline.com/blog/ Onward, Forward, Toward…

    LAJ:

    I apologize for not responding sooner.

    I currently attend an Evangelical Presbyterian church and much of what I have stated is now done based on the past experiences of the last churches I previously attended and the fear that it could easily happen at the current church. I am still not the most social person in church and I am slowly finding people that do care one by one.

  • LAJ

    Good friends are truly undeserved gifts of God. Glad you are finding some. Of course, our best friend is our Savior, who is the perfect friend.

  • LAJ

    Good friends are truly undeserved gifts of God. Glad you are finding some. Of course, our best friend is our Savior, who is the perfect friend.

  • http://n/a rstatic

    I would like to get an opinion or two on this, so I’ll share my own experience in a sociable churh. From my own experience, the “sociable” (specifically dispensational) churches are actually preaching against any kind of liturgical church.

    I’m an introvert. INTJ. I was a member of a sociable church for 15 years. When I asked my pastor why I couldn’t really make friends, and sat there Sunday after Sunday by myself, I was quoted Proverbs 18:24…a man that has friends shows himself friendly. That didn’t help. Then when I tried going to a liturgical church, I was warned by both my pastor and my elder that there are no good liturgical churches anymore, they have become apostate, and if there are any real believers going to a liturgical church, it’s only because they are very confused and being led astray. (I went to a dispensational, non-denominational church). I actually went to a few evening Eucharists, and apparantly that was serious enough to warrant my elder calling me and holding me accountable to him for that behavior.

    I left that church and found a good Episcopal church to go to. There’s so much more to it than that, but I just don’t have the time to go into more detail. I went through a lot of pain and severe depression while going to the sociable church. The alienation was just unbearable.

    And what was absolutely the worst is that the leaders in my old church made it very clear to me that to go to a liturgical church was an outright sin. In their view, there is just no way a person could go to a liturgical church and still be walking with God. It was a VERY big deal, and they made it one.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience?

    P.S. My wife was raised Roman Catholic and says the sociable/liturgical model doesn’t match her own experience in the Catholic church. She says people went to church AS a primarily social event. On the Protestant side of things, though, there does tend to be a dichotomy between the two, I think.

  • http://n/a rstatic

    I would like to get an opinion or two on this, so I’ll share my own experience in a sociable churh. From my own experience, the “sociable” (specifically dispensational) churches are actually preaching against any kind of liturgical church.

    I’m an introvert. INTJ. I was a member of a sociable church for 15 years. When I asked my pastor why I couldn’t really make friends, and sat there Sunday after Sunday by myself, I was quoted Proverbs 18:24…a man that has friends shows himself friendly. That didn’t help. Then when I tried going to a liturgical church, I was warned by both my pastor and my elder that there are no good liturgical churches anymore, they have become apostate, and if there are any real believers going to a liturgical church, it’s only because they are very confused and being led astray. (I went to a dispensational, non-denominational church). I actually went to a few evening Eucharists, and apparantly that was serious enough to warrant my elder calling me and holding me accountable to him for that behavior.

    I left that church and found a good Episcopal church to go to. There’s so much more to it than that, but I just don’t have the time to go into more detail. I went through a lot of pain and severe depression while going to the sociable church. The alienation was just unbearable.

    And what was absolutely the worst is that the leaders in my old church made it very clear to me that to go to a liturgical church was an outright sin. In their view, there is just no way a person could go to a liturgical church and still be walking with God. It was a VERY big deal, and they made it one.

    Has anyone else had a similar experience?

    P.S. My wife was raised Roman Catholic and says the sociable/liturgical model doesn’t match her own experience in the Catholic church. She says people went to church AS a primarily social event. On the Protestant side of things, though, there does tend to be a dichotomy between the two, I think.

  • http://n/a rstatic

    I’m going to edit myself real quick. I didn’t mean to type “From my own experience, the “sociable” (specifically dispensational) churches are actually preaching against ANY kind of liturgical church.”

    That’s a bit of hyperbole. I mean to say that **My Own** previous church did preach against any kind.

    Sorry about that. I’ll leave my post alone now. :o )

  • http://n/a rstatic

    I’m going to edit myself real quick. I didn’t mean to type “From my own experience, the “sociable” (specifically dispensational) churches are actually preaching against ANY kind of liturgical church.”

    That’s a bit of hyperbole. I mean to say that **My Own** previous church did preach against any kind.

    Sorry about that. I’ll leave my post alone now. :o )


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