Every now and then a book comes along and I say, “Wow, that’s a great idea for a book!” Adam McHugh’s new book, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
, is that kind of book. We need this book, and every (especially an extroverted) pastor needs to read it. McHugh is a Presbyterian and an introvert and he has struggled mightily with his introversion, and this book examines and illuminates the many, many ways the (especially evangelical) church is shaped by extroverted personality styles and behaviors.
What percentage of folks in your church are “introverts”? Do you ever hear anything that reflects sensitivities for introverts? How “extroverted” is your church and even your “style” of spirituality/Christian living?
Introverts are energized by solitude, they process things internally, and they prefer depth over breadth. As a result, the healing process, to name but one issue, of an introvert is different than that of an extrovert. McHugh has an excellent chp on introverted spirituality and some suggestions on how leaders who are introverted can learn to form a rule of life that can help them manage the extroverted demands that are part of pastoring.
He examines how introverts hear the message of “community”: entry, retreat and reentry, and this differs from the extrovert who may take a straight line from the periphery to the pastor! I think this chp, which has a myriad of suggestions, could be the most important one for pastors who need to develop some sensitivities in this area.
I’ve probably said enough, but he’s also got a fine chp on how introverts “lead” and how the current style of leadership is shaped by the extroverted personality type, while there are so many things that can be learned from the introverted style.
There is, as far as I know, no book like this. The pastor who ignores it does so at the cost of some effective ministry. Those who are introverts will love this book.