Introverts and the Church
Can you be a faithful Christian and be an introvert?
This is a question I’ve wrestled with throughout my life, and while I can be outgoing and I love people, I am an introvert at heart. I became a mom last year, and staying home with my baby encouraged the introvert in me to become even more introverted.
Speaking from my own experience, church can be overwhelming as an introvert. You walk in the building on a Sunday morning and are met with a sea of people. Programs and conferences are full of people and large-group interaction, which can leave an introvert wondering: should I force my introverted self into an extroverted mold in order to be a faithful Christian?
Take heart, friend, because I don’t think we’re called to put on an extroverted mask in order to be faithful to God’s calling. He designed you uniquely and wonderfully. There are ways an extrovert can serve and connect that uses their gifts, and there are ways you can serve and connect too. We’re called to serve and to love one another, and that requires interaction with God’s people, but it can look different and still be faithful to God’s calling. Paul speaks of this diversity when addressing the body of believers in Corinth:
“But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Cor. 12:18-21).
There are countless ways to serve in the Church that use your unique giftings as an introvert.
Maybe you’re not called to be a greeter on Sunday morning, but someone makes the coffee! You may not be called to preach or lead worship on stage, but there is a team that serves backstage. Crowds may leave you shaken and seeking solitude, but meeting one-on-one with a friend or mentor may fill your tank and be a great source of encouragement to another. Or maybe you’re like me in that going to an event in someone else’s home is daunting, but hosting in your own home provides a level of comfort and security that allows you to interact and invest in a larger group of people.
I’ve spent the bulk of my life in extroverted jobs, and while I’ve loved the ways I’ve been able to invest in others, I often felt drained by the end of the week—lacking any energy to invest in the people or events that I wanted to.
As I’ve let myself explore how God has made me, I was initially concerned that it would cause me to pull away from relationships or events that I felt called to invest in. By God’s grace, the opposite has been true. As I’ve followed God’s leading and let him show me who he’s made me to be, I’m learning that I can thrive exactly where he’s placed me. I can be aware of how much energy I have and steward it well in order to invest in people inside and outside the church.
Friend, it’s okay you find yourself exhausted after an event or interaction. Run to Jesus and he will give you rest. When you’re at your limit with social interaction, sit in his presence and be still and know that he is God. Let him recharge you, bring you comfort and rest. Lean on him to stretch you, teach you, and give you everything you need to love his people well.