People are often surprised, as they get to know me better, to discover that I am an introvert. This surprise stems from a misunderstanding of what makes a person an introvert vs. an extrovert. I tend to be high energy, outspoken, dynamic and passionate. Performing before or preaching to crowds in the thousands doesn’t phase me one bit. But when these times are over my energy crashes and I need solitude to recharge. Sundays after church are nap time for the whole family. Partly because the kids do need to rest, but mostly so I can have the downtime necessary to recharge and be a good husband and father later on in the day. That is the core of the introvert/extrovert dichotomy. How does one recharge their batteries? The social interaction spectrum is wide, with much room for variation. There are introverts who truly do hate public settings of any kind, who are shy and border on being agoraphobic. Though the stereotype, it’s not really the norm. While most introverts may struggle with small talk (I had to learn this skill and practice it), we’re not generally isolationists.
Having perused literally hundreds of ministry job descriptions I’m surprised and bothered by the number of times a church has stated that they are looking for a person who is extroverted. Further digging tends to reveal that what they really want is someone who is dynamic, friendly, and able to engage in social situations. These qualities have very little to do with being an extrovert vs. being an introvert.
An article on the Gospel Coalition addresses Four Lies About Introverts that would be a valuable read for introverts in ministry who struggle with a seeming disparity between their personality and their call as well as for churches considering ministry candidates.