Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Type Talk

"One of the big mistakes Extraverts make is to assume that if someone is not engaged with another person, that individual is simply not busy. So, it's okay to interrupt someone sitting and reading because that person is probably reading only because there's no one else with whom she can talk. You can only imagine what an Extravert thinks of someone who is sitting there not even reading but merely reflecting. Clearly that person needs to be put to some more useful task - such as listening to the Extravert's thoughts of the moment."

p. 97, Type Talk at Work, Kroeger, Thuesen, and Rutledge.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Charts are sometimes fun

Here is a link to a somewhat educational, mildly amusing chart detailing the differences between extroverts and introverts. It's the best I've got today.

Friday, March 14, 2008


"Throughout his ministry Moses is continually exasperated with the children of Israel. Their moaning, groaning, and whimpering drive him crazy. So great is his frustration that he takes it to God: "Am I a mother that I need to coddle these people through the wilderness?" Later in his ministry we hear him pray, "God, if you are at all merciful, let me die here on the spot. Do not let me view my own misery any longer." Moses was burned out, and burnout is what we fear most for introverts who operate in an extroverted role. They simply do not have the capacity to hang in there with people without taking large chunks off by themselves."

Roy Oswald & Otto Kroeger, Personality Type and Religious Leadership. p. 31.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How big?

I'm in the midst of interviewing several introverted pastors, which is only confirming in my mind that introverts come in all shapes and sizes. Introversion is only one factor in how we lead and interact with one others.

For those of my introverted readers who are pastors or leaders of some capacity in a church, or those who are training to be leaders in a church, which size congregation would you prefer to lead? Would you feel more comfortable in a small church (400 or under), medium sized church (400-800) or large church (800+) or megachurch (2000+)?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

6 down

I just finished my draft of chapter 6 on introverted community and relationships. It seems that my writing pace is slowing down with each successive chapter! I like this chapter though, in spite of the challenges it presented. I talk about the necessity of community but also the very extroverted expectations churches have for community involvement. I also talk in depth about gifts that introverts bring to others and some practical suggestions for participating in community. I end with two stories of introverts succeeding in community.

I'm on "vacation" for the next week, and I will be using it to start the next chapter on introverted leadership. I have an interview with an introverted pastor on Monday, as well as a meeting with a professor of leadership at Fuller Seminary.

My deadline of July 31 seems a lot closer than it once did...

Monday, March 3, 2008

I couldn't resist

Last week I spoke at Veritas, a post-contemporary worship expression of Irvine Presbyterian Church. They asked me to speak on Acts 2.42-43, which describes the life of the first community of Jesus-followers. I couldn't resist the temptation to mention something about introversion and how churches unintentionally preach an extroverted message, as you'll see in the last paragraph. I also challenged the introverts there to take seriously the biblical message of community.

The first Christians, even after their ranks were swelled by 3000 new members, lived as though they were a single family. You’ll see more of that next week. For now, the word “fellowship” (the word koinonia in Greek) was most frequently used to refer to the marriage relationship. That’s how intimate the idea is. Koinonia means common life, life lived together. All the activities that the early church engaged in – teaching, fellowship, the prayers, breaking of bread – all of them are communal. There is this sense of participation, mutual sharing. When you became a follower of Jesus in the first century, you became a member of a community. Baptism was understood as not only being washed from the stain of your sins, but it was an initiation rite into a new family. To be a Christian is to be a part of Christian community.

Some of you are hearing this and this is the best news possible. You think “Yes, this is what I want. I want to be a central member of my community, and I want to share my life with others. I want to know people and have people know me.” People like you don’t need a lot of convincing that community is a pivotal part of our spiritual journeys. You hear this and you’re ready to go.

But others of you out there are more skeptical. I count myself as one of them. I’m an introvert, and though I like being with people, I get drained around people. Spending time in large groups can be intimidating to me if I don’t know many of the people. I’m writing a book right now that’s about helping introverts navigate Christian community. The first sentence in my book is “Can introverts thrive in the church?” but I was this close to asking “Can introverts SURVIVE the church?” So many of the Christian activities we do seem tailored towards outgoing, energetic people who thrive on large social gatherings. I think sometimes churches unintentionally communicate that faithfulness looks like involvement in as many activities as possible and in being acquainted with as many people as possible. I have a lot more to say about that, but I’ll leave it for you to ponder what your vision for community and your community structures communicates to people. But for those of you out there who find the idea of active participation in a community less than scintillating, I’ll say 1) I relate and empathize but 2) I’ve yet to meet a genuinely mature believer, past or present, who says that you can truly make progress in the Christian life without bumping up against your brothers and sisters on a regular basis. What that means on a practical level is going to be different for different kinds of people, but it’s clear that if you really want to grow as a Christian, you can’t do it alone.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Saturday Link

I came across this entry today, a very thoughtful blurb about introverts in church. I was particularly struck by how the author says that churches, especially non-liturgical churches, tends to marry "sociability" and "spirituality" and how that can leave introverts feeling marginalized.