I have a strong word of encouragement to the introverted pastor.
Be extroverted on Sunday.
You can do it.
Every time I post about introversion, I hear from pastors and church members who talk about how introversion negatively impacts the ministry of the church.
I get it. I really do. In fact, I am it. On a scale of 1 to 10 of introversion—if there were such a scale—I’m probably a 7 or 8. And, I can be a 9 some days. So, I understand.
But, the interaction we have with people is a key role we play in growing and leading the church. I’ve written in numerous posts that just because I’m introverted doesn’t mean I don’t love people. There may be some pastors who don’t really love people—and I personally don’t see how they can be very successful if that’s the case—but introversion is a personality trait. It’s not an indicator of how deeply a person loves people.
I love people. Really. Especially people who are excited about what God is doing in their life. That motivates me. My introversion, however, if I’m not careful, can keep me from interacting even with people I love.
If you asked most people in the churches where I have served as pastor, other than those who know me really well, they are surprised I am an introvert based on my Sunday interactions with people. I’m very extroverted on Sundays.
So how do I do it?
Here are a few thoughts for the introverted pastor.
If you are an introverted pastor, you have to be intentional.
You have to work at it. I’m not saying it will be easy, but is anything worthwhile ever easy? I realize that Sunday is coming. I plan my week around it. I have lots of introverted time during my week. For example, I am very careful what I plan for Saturday night because I know I need to be at my best for Sunday. It is rare for me to schedule a large social gathering on Saturday nights, for example. In fact, I’ve found that my and Cheryl’s Saturday date days are the perfect preparation for an extroverted Sunday. (Obviously that’s easier for us now as empty-nesters, but I was equally protective of my Saturday nights when we had children at home.)
If you are an introverted pastor, your family will have to cooperate.
This is the hardest one because it obviously involves other people. The key for us is that my family knows me as I know them. They understand that Sunday takes so much out of me mentally and physically. They realize I need time to recover from a very extroverted Sunday. The ride to the restaurant for Sunday lunch is usually pretty quiet. Over the years, when the boys were home and now that it’s just Cheryl and me, my family has learned that if I have my introverted recovery time, I’m more engaging with them the rest of the day. It is a way they partner with me in ministry. (I sense a need to clarify. My family understands my introversion—but I don’t think they ever feel slighted because of it. That takes intentionality too.)
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Source: Church Leaders