Thursday, October 1, 2015

Introverts in the Church

I was at a conference last week, and the presenter who was not only clearly extroverted, but said that he was extroverted, said that every clergy person needed to spend a minimum of 10 hours a week out in the community meeting new people.  This was about more than just not being locked in your office, this was about going out and meeting new people, and getting their names and addresses for follow-up.

As part of this injunction he said that it didn't matter if you were extroverted, introverted, shy, outgoing, whatever it might be, pastors had to do this.  My thought, as in introvert, is how easy it is for him, as an extrovert, to say that.  Now I don't disagree with his premise.  As an introvert it's way to easy, and too much of a default, to keep to myself.  But, to totally disregard who I am (who God made me to be) was a little over the top.

The reverse would be for me to say to extroverts: You need to be spending at least 10 hours a week by yourself, with no outside interaction, in prayer, scripture study or reading.  For most extroverts that would be an excruciating idea, one which would probably leave them physically and spiritually exhausted.  They would have to get out in order to try and recharge their batteries, if they could even survive doing that week in and week out.

There has been plenty written about introverts lately, and strangely much of it written by extroverts, so I'm not going to delve into that now.  I also know that I am an introvert, as many clergy are, who inhabits what is typically seen as an extroverted role.  But, I bring gifts and graces because of that make-up that extroverts don't bring, just as they also bring gifts and graces that I don't bring.  But to totally dismiss me and say I have to be like you, to do something that's easy for you, just seemed a little extreme.

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