Introverts are Valuable Too
How to be an introvert in an extroverted church
I’m an introvert who loves people and spending time with others. But, I also need time to be quiet and think. I won’t be the first one to speak up in a group of more than 3 (unless I have something to say that I’ve already been thinking about or started processing). But you can ask me to go out for coffee and I will jump at the chance. I don’t enjoy being on stage anymore than a person with a fear of public speaking (which I have, let’s be honest). But, I will sing my heart out and lead others in worship because I want them to see Jesus in me and know that he is there for them too. You will never see me volunteering in children’s ministry and making a fool of myself ;). But, if you need me to hold your baby because your arms are aching and you were up all night, I’m all over it.
If you were to watch me on any given Sunday, I’m sure at least one, if not all of these, would happen. However, not everyone is like me and I don’t expect you to do those things. Find out what makes you tick and how you can bless others with your gifts.
Let me expand a bit more on what being an introvert in an extroverted church may look like.
Serve where you are comfortable, but not complacent
I completely understand the value in doing things that are outside of our comfort zone. This can help to reveal gifts and skills we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. However, I also believe we can make a huge impact when we are serving in areas where we know we are skilled and can confidently be a reflection of Jesus (even if that is in whipping up a latte and passing it off with a smile). We just don’t want to serve because “I don’t have to think about it” or “I’m the best you’ve got”. I think then it might be time for an attitude adjustment and perhaps a little chat with Jesus about whether you’re still serving in the right place.
Being on stage, or in front of others, isn’t the only way to lead
Like Paul said when encouraging Timothy: “Let no one despise you in your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). We can preach the gospel without having to hold a microphone, or be older than 30. Our lives can be a testament of who Jesus is. For the longest time I believed people wouldn’t take me seriously because I was young. But now I know it isn’t others or even myself who qualifies me to speak the truth about the gospel – it’s Jesus. And here’s a crazy thought…sharing Jesus doesn’t just happen on Sundays. It’s in doing life together that the grace and goodness of God is revealed more and more.
Just because you don’t pray out in a group doesn’t mean you aren’t praying
I rarely volunteer to pray in a large group. Plain and simple, groups are intimidating. I prefer to be prepared. So if you suddenly ask me to pray, I won’t say no, but I also won’t get excited about it. You just caused my heart rate to spike, my stomach to drop and my mind to go completely blank! Thanks for that. ;) However, if you are hurting, your heart is breaking, and you find me in the hall on a Sunday morning, I will wrap you in a hug and pray for you without reservation. We don’t need to be ashamed of the fact we don’t prefer to pray in front of others. Yes, there is a time and place for us introverts to speak up. But please don’t make us feel like less because we would rather not.
Be a reflection of Jesus
With Jesus dwelling within us, I think we’ve already got everything we need for life and godliness. My job isn’t to bring you closer to Jesus, but to shine a light on the fact he’s already within you. And if you’re not sure if he is, my goodness, I’ll direct you straight to him. My desire is to help others come to a more full understanding of what it means to be “saved by grace and not of works” (Ephesians 2:8). Even as an introvert, my heart bursts with excitement and joy every time I think about the goodness of God and what Jesus did for me on the cross. I can barely contain it sometimes; and that is why I am immensely glad to be doing life with others – in small and large groups.
We all have different skills and abilities. Each one is valuable and not one is better than another. Introverts need to know they are valued and loved regardless of how many words they say or the number of people they talk to on a Sunday morning. (Side note: a lot of introverts are fantastic writers. So get writing! And perhaps posting it too so we can read it.)
Not everyone is called to evangelize in a public and vocal way; but we are all called to be an example of Jesus and preach the gospel. For me, that’s in the hugs, coffee dates, leading worship, smiles, evenings of playing board games, cooking yummy food, writing words of encouragement, and simply being who God created me to be – not striving to be someone I think I should be.
I don’t need to try and be someone I’m not. I can rest in the fact that Jesus lives within me and will enable me to live a life of peace, joy and grace wherever I go, with whomever I am with, and in spite of life’s circumstances. And when the moment arises for me to share about what Jesus did for me and God’s great love, you better believe I’ll speak up…I’ll probably cry a bit too. :)
And this is why introverts are valuable in the church. We may not talk a lot, but when we do, watch out. We’ve been thinking for a while and now have something to say.
May you be encouraged to look to Jesus and know that whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, God loves you and there is nothing to prove.