Question: Christians Need To Be Extroverted?



Anonymous asked:

Does being a Christian mean that I need to be an extroverted person? In other words, is God ashamed of me for being a “nerd”? I listened to a lot of Mark Driscoll’s sermons and it sounds like he’s trying to guilt people from being a “nerd.” Like some how it is a sin to love my books and prefer quiet times by myself rather than going out there and mingling with other people or enjoy watching sports. Your answer will help me bring much needed peace to my heart.

 

To answer your first question: absolutely not.

God wants you and that’s why He made you you and not someone else.

The modern church has long been inadvertently biased against introverts — but since most people in general are not extroverts, that’s shutting out a lot of people.

In my former youth ministry, where we did our best to cultivate every single person, the kinds of people on “out-front” teams and “behind-the-scenes” teams come from a full range of personalities.  An introvert can be a praise leader just as much as an extrovert can be the sound technician.  I have stage fright yet I’m a preacher.  It’s almost random, as if God can work through anybody for anything.

No one should ever guilt-trip you about how God has wired you, so throw that off and move forward.  God would never ever shame you about that, because that’s never who He is and He has lovingly handcrafted you for His Kingdom.

 

About Mark Driscoll:

I totally love his preaching.  I don’t always agree with what he says and does, but I believe he is a decent man of God. 

Since I’ve heard a lot of his preaching, I think what he means is that we shouldn’t do too much of one thing at the expense of the other, because after all, he is talking to a very hipster culture of Seattle dudes who are not very driven.  It’s sort of like how Francis Chan talks to lukewarm Christians or Matt Chandler yells at Bible-belt religious people — they have a specific audience in mind.  It’s all in context.

Mark Driscoll has also said in an interview he sometimes takes a whole day off to read books from his iPad for 12 to 15 hours straight.  His teenage daughter writes book reviews on Driscoll’s website.  The Mars Hill praise team looks like a bunch of dudes that never see the sun.  And since most of his church is composed of Reformed Calvinists: most of them probably blog from their basement. 

All that to say, if you were to sit down with Pastor Mark face to face, then 1) he is also kind of a nerd, and 2) I highly doubt he would shame you as one human being to another.  I don’t mean to over-defend Driscoll, but I want to throw him some grace here because I really do think he has a good heart about this.

 

What I’ve seen happen though is that many introverted Christians are in danger of intellectual growth while never talking to real living breathing people, which is why Apostle Paul said, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”  We are always on the brainy side of this slippery slope.  No Christian has ever been in danger of loving TOO much. 

We like to stay isolated in our religious rabbit-holes and lock ourselves up with ivory-tower-theology that only amounts to theory.

I don’t mean that you have to be friends with everyone or you have to serve at the homeless ministry or that you must go to every church event: but the Christian life will necessarily entail that you step out of your comfort zone and collide with others. 

For introverts, usually they are more comfortable with other introverts, and that’s totally okay.  Remember: in general, more people are introverted.  So at the soup kitchen or the sports game, you might move towards the people who are awkwardly standing on the side unsure of what to do: and out of that awkwardness is born a different kind of momentum.  Find them, love them, and empower one another.

You’ll also be surprised how much God will stretch you in this area AND how great you’ll do.  You might constantly think, “This is not for me; I can’t do this; So many people; Someone else can do it –” but when you actually have faith and take the opportunity, you’ll not only unleash talent you never knew, but you’ll have a great time doing it.  Don’t be afraid to step out a bit.  God loves the nerds, too.

 

Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it — made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.
— C.S. Lewis



— J.S.

11 thoughts on “Question: Christians Need To Be Extroverted?

  1. I am part of a group of introverted Christians on Facebook and I shared your post over to them. It’s sad that not a lot of us feel welcome at church these days, and especially since the world runs with the “Extraverted ideal” thinking. I believe we can still truly shine our way, without having to conform.

    Thank you for standing up for introverts like us. 🙂

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    1. I think it’s slowly getting better, and I do have love for my extroverted brothers and sisters. Plus there are so many kinds of personalities, it’s really just about understanding where we are and adjusting our dials for each other.

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  2. That quote at the beginning describes me perfectly. It took me a long time to appreciate my introversion (long story), but now I totally embrace it. And I’ve found ways to minister to people that “fit” me…such as leading a grief support group and making sandwiches for the homeless. I love that we are all different…we are one body but many parts.

    Anonymous, you are needed just as you are. 🙂

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  3. I for one am glad God has a place for introverts. I am like you JS, I saw you comment in another post that because of your ministry involvement people may conclude you’re an extrovert. Many people assume I am extroverted; at least, until they get to know me!

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    1. Yes! I do think it’s more of a “sliding scale.” I often call myself an extroverted introvert; I can be outgoing but I also get exhausted after long bouts of socializing and I need solitude. But I do think these categories are helpful as well.

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      1. I agree. My wife is a full-blown extrovert. I don’t mind being with a group of friends, as long as I can pre-select them of course!, but after it’s over, I am at zero energy. She, on the other hand, is pumped up like she’s drank ten 5 minute energy drinks!

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  4. Thanks for this article. It’s easy to think everyone else should be like me – or that I need to be like someone else. Then my pastor’s wife asked, “Tami, if you’re giving your best impression of another person, then who will be you to the world? God must have wanted one of *you* – or He wouldn’t have created you.” That made a lot of sense!

    Personally, I flop back and forth between introvert and extrovert. I don’t know how that happens, but it seems to work for me!

    \ 🙂 /

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    1. I once heard a pastor say, God made you specifically you because He wanted to say something to the world that He couldn’t say through anyone else.

      I know what you mean about flip-flopping; the categories are usually more of a continuum and we can easily lean towards one or the other.

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