Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Cultureby Adam S. McHugh
Introverts are called and gifted by God. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert. Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and… See more details below
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Introverts are called and gifted by God. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert. Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach relationships differently and how introverts can practice Christian spirituality in ways that fit who they are. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship and even evangelize effectively.
- InterVarsity Press
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McHugh skillfully reveals introverts' strengths, as well as the way introverts and extroverts can partner together in the church. We need each other, though this is not always evident in the church. Prior to reading this, I hadn't realized how often the evangelical church caters to the "upfront, talkative, active" (p. 21) extrovert personality. Certainly, not every church does so but it's been true of the churches I've attended this past decade. It was like finding a missing puzzle piece: my disconnect at church suddenly made sense. Any church that leans fully in one direction or the other misses out on the opportunity to be a cohesive body of Christ. Extroverts have their gifts, as do introverts. When worship, evangelizing, and teaching styles and ministry opportunities cater to one side, people will end up feeling disconnected at best and that they're not "true" Christians at worst. McHugh offers great insights as to how churches can create more welcoming environments for the introverts in their midst. He also offers advice for introverted pastors and leaders. This is a superb resource for anyone in church leadership. McHugh paints an evenhanded portrait of introverts. They're not given a free pass or elevated on a pedestal. While he acknowledges their potential need for a healing, a section I found especially helpful, he also challenges introverts to adopt external spiritual practices and to step out of their comfort zone. He notes the goal is to "stretch our personality preferences without distorting them" (p. 60.) It is important for introverts to tune in to the relationships and activities around them no matter what they face. Because of the way McHugh describes the introverted personality and spirituality, it is a great resource for extroverts as well. We should all seek to understand one another and odds are good that you know an introvert or three. We're everywhere. Yes. I now accept that I am an introvert. Reading this book was incredibly healing for me and why I've said it's the most important book that I'll have read all year.
I have read several books on the introverted personality that have been helpful and affirming. Introverts have gifts to offer our culture, even though we are a minority. Research tells us we are neither neurotic or anti-social but are in our brain structure "hard-wired" to gain our energy by inward activities and then share them with others. This volume is unique in that it applies this new knowledge to those who are in church ministry or belong to a faith community. It helps introverts to recognize themselves and their unique characteristics, learn what the implications are for their style of ministry, and accept and use those talents as a valuable contribution to their congregations. An introverted minister or church member will experience many "Aha" moments and have a feeling of "coming home" .
Excellent book! It is insightful, eye-opening, informative, practical, relevant, affirming, and challenging. It is also biblically solid and very readable. Introverts are called and gifted by God. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are not understood and are under-valued or marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert. McHugh manages to confront the extroverted bias in church culture without denigrating extroverts while encouraging introverts without letting them off the hook of their own responsibilities. I am an introvert, who is occasionally mistaken for an extrovert (but I'm definitely an introvert). I nodded my head throughout the book. I think everyone in church ought to read this book. "Introverts in the Church" is essential reading for any introvert who has ever felt out of place, as well as for church leaders who want to make their churches more welcoming to introverts, and for extroverts who wish to better understand their introvert brethren and value the gifts God gave them rather than seeing them as less committed. It helps extroverts understand introverts, and it helps introverts understand extroverts, and, if the ideas contained therein are put into practice, both will feel welcomed and respected/valued in the church.
I found this book incredibly helpful, and not only because I'm an introvert involved in a church. Adam's book is full of wisdom, grace, and insight for introverts trying to find their place in the church, and for extroverts who are trying to reach out to their quieter brothers and sisters. I found Adam's thoughts, especially on leadership, to be incredibly helpful and reassuring, as I've just started facilitating a Bible study. I could really identify with his model of an introvert getting involved with a group. For the longest time, I thought the cyclical nature of my involvement with my church was just because I was weird, but when Adam makes the connection to introversion, and withdrawing to recharge, my own actions make a lot more sense. This is one of the few books I've read that I felt understood me in ways that I didn't even understand myself. Adam's book is useful for anyone, introverted or extroverted, involved with the church or not, who has a passion for growing a deeper understanding of self and reaching out to others.