Introverts in the Church

by Adam McHugh, IVP 2009, $22.95 @ Moore Books

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while. For a start, I’m an INTP or thereabouts on the Myer-Briggs (like so many of my fellow Quantums …). I am familiar with the trials of being an introvert in church and in ministry. So I’ve really wanted to listen to what this guy has to say and the ways in which one may work with one’s introvertedness rather than in spite of it.

One of the best things about this book is the description of what introvertedness, especially with reference to fellowship and ministry, though there is a certain American cultural background in view. Nevertheless, even with that, I think the description is still quite good. Introverts will resonate with it. Extroverts ought to learn from it.
One of the things the author seems to rail against is a propensity to do things only in an extroverted manner, or to value extroverted ways of doing things more highly without proper criticism. I think that there is a sense in which that can be true here in a few of the churches and ministries I’ve seen. Extroverted ministry is certainly more visible. For this, I think we need to properly evaluate the extroverted and introverted ways of doing things. How often have people thought that evangelism was equivalent to having lots of conversations in a square, because that’s the only type of evangelism they’ve seen or heard or been told of?
One weakness in the book is some of the illustrations that are drawn from the Bible. At times, I thought he stretched the introvertedness a bit far, though to be fair, that may have been his aim – to stretch far so as to be unable to completely ignore that an element of introvertedness may be present when we haven’t previously seen it.

I think these ought to be the take home messages:
- Introversion is not anti-socialness or shyness. It’s a difference of personality that particular affects our social capabilities.
- Don’t write off introverts in church, ministry, and leadership. Consider whether your values of church, leaders and ministry patterns may be unduly affected by a lack of critical perspective, because …
- There is more than one way of doing things.

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