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What it means to be an Introvert in American Churches

The extroverted Christian Plays guitar or sings at worship The first to greet newcomers Last to leave after coffee hour [1] The extroverted church Unceasing activity Extroverted evangelism Extroverted evangelism is often off-putting for introverts. So where does the introverted Christian come in??… Introversion is different from shyness. Whereas shyness involves a social phobia many times, Introversion simply involves different ways of solving problems and a lower ability to First off… Introverts [6] 30% of populace Extroverts[6] 30% of populace Preference for privacy Preference for hunches, visionary ability Preference for hard facts over feelings Preference for open-endedness, casual approach to life Preference for groups, companionship Preference for concrete data when making decisions Reliance on feelings in decision making Preference for closure, focus on clear objectives With a whole range in between. 30% of populace Many American Protestant churches support a culture of the most noticeable Christian as the model Christian. A model Christian should not equal the most noticeable Christian. Spiritual strengths of introverts: One on one of small group mentors Servant-hood, Helping one person at a time Creating deep and lasting bonds with a small group Greater chance of deep introspection about their faith Humility: Introverts see flaws in what they say, and carefully craft their words, leading to humble speakers and thinkers. Introvert behavior is not pathological. Introversion is a naturally occurring neurological configuration with its own strengths and weaknesses. [2] So what should Churches do? Ways to make introverts feel at home With 30% of people being potentially turned off by the extroverted Church, Churches are turning their backs on 105 million folks, in the US alone! Develop programs in small groups. Allow people to slip into the sanctuary anonymously. Introverts have a lower threshold for stimuli. Make room for predictable acts. A large “greeting committee” can send introverts running Leave room for silent prayers. Moments of reflection. Liturgy Ritual Contemplation Quiet Non-theatrical sermons Avoid turbulence and background “white noise” as in chants, alter calls, etc. Avoid singling out an introvert in the crowd Or as they approach the alter. Asking for a spontaneous prayer out loud “The evangelical culture ties together faithfulness with extroversion… The emphasis is on community, on participating in more and more programs and events, on meeting more and more people. It’s a constant tension for many introverts that their not living that out. And in a religious world, there’s more at stake when you feel that tension. It doesn’t feel like ‘I’m not doing as well as I’d like.’ It feels like ‘God isn’t pleased with me.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet [citations] [1] http://firstfire.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/introverted-christians-an-oxymoron-pt-2/ [2] http://www.celebritytypes.com/blog/2011/04/the-scientific-evidence-for-introversion/ –personality traits of introverts and extroverts [3] http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/01/30/quiet-revolution-of-the-50-percentintroverts-susan-cain/ [4] http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/03/caring-for-your-introvert/302696/ —pg 5 about business and introverts [5] http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/162431-how-to-handle-introverts-inyour-ministry.html –tips for dealing with introverts [6] Briggs Meyer scale: http://beaconstreetusa.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/MBScale.jpg [7] http://inadequateimages.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-top-5-things-introverts-dread-aboutchurch-andor-church-camp/

The Extroverted Church