Currently Reading: Introverts in the Church
I’m currently reading “Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture” by Adam S. McHugh. Here’s how it’s going so far.
I heard about “Introverts in the Church” last year and it’s been one of those books that I had been meaning to get around to reading for a while. Downloading the sample on my Kindle settled it for me, as soon as I finished reading the sample I clicked “Buy Now” and continued reading. So, yes, it’s good. I usually read a few books simultaneously, but when one of those books really grabs my attention I end up “pausing” the other books and focussing on that one. That’s what happened with “Introverts in the Church”.
Adam S. McHugh says that evangelical churches in particular can be difficult places for introverts. As an introvert, I agree. As someone who has been in leadership and pastoral roles in the church and is now on the road to becoming an ordained Presbyterian minister, I strongly agree with Adam.
McHugh writes that, in evangelical church culture, activity can be viewed as a sign of spiritual maturity and the silence of introverts and their need to withdraw from activities in order to rest and refresh can be seen as a lack of commitment and even a symptom of spiritual problems. I think he’s right: we do sometimes (often even) gauge someone’s level of commitment to the church and their growth in Christ by how much they do and say. I have been questioned regarding my silence at Bible studies and even prodded to speak up by well-meaning extroverts. There’s nothing wrong; I don’t have a problem; I’m just being me. I’m thinking, reflecting, listening and waiting until I have something of value to contribute, something I want to share with the group.
This book, so far, has been very refreshing. I feel identified with and understood. There are parts that read like I could have written them myself if I were more articulate (or maybe had a good editor). There are parts that challenged me not to use my introversion as a crutch, which I’m aware I sometimes do. There is also some great advice on how to live and grow spiritually as an introverted Christian.
There’ll be more on this book and more on my experiences as an introvert later, when I finish the book. For now (if anyone is reading this) I want to ask what do you think? Do introverts have a hard time in evangelical churches?