Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One Year

It's hard to believe that it has been one year since I opened a box of books with my name on it. I called it "Adam S. McHugh" Christmas. I waited at the door for 2 days until the UPS guy finally showed up. It has to rank as the 3rd best moment of my life, after my wedding and ordination.

One year. My baby is all grown up! I feel profoundly grateful. Introverts in the Church is approaching its 6th printing, the reviews have been highly positive, and the attention is has received has exceeded my expectations.

I knew there were a lot more introverts in churches than people thought, but meeting some of you, and getting emails from you, has been a wonderful experience. You have confirmed all the things that I said in my book about the gifts that we bring to our communities. Please continue to email me and stop me at conferences to say hello. Thank you for buying the book and recommending it to others. I hope that this will be my first of many books and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

I would love it if you would write comments on this post about how the book has helped you - personally, in your relationships with others, and in your churches. 

To review the last year, I thought I would re-post some of my favorite links to interviews, article, and book reviews.

Book Reviews
Ministering to People who Hate Parties - Evangelical Outpost 
Introverts in the Church - Reformation 21
You Need to Read Introverts in the Church - In the Coracle (new today!)
Introverts in the Church - Kruse Kronicle

Psychology Today - The Introverts Corner
Interview/Review with Mark D. Roberts
Interview with Rhett Smith
Interview with

The Christian Century: Can Introverts Lead? Breaking Down Stereotypes, by Adam McHugh. 
The Washington Post: Introverts in Evangelical America, by Adam McHugh. 
USA Today: Are Social Media Changing Religion? by Henry Brinton
The Huffington Post: For Shy Worshipers, Church Can Be Overwhelming, by Lilly Fowler

The Goals and Perils of Community Life, by Adam McHugh
Mars Hill Audio Journal, Interview with Ken Myers and Adam McHugh (for purchase)

What a year it's been.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A nice recommendation

John Ortberg's tweet from last night:
If u r an introvert, or u kno one, read Adam McHugh's Introverts In The Church. It's enuf to make u want to talk to someone.

If you're on Twitter, please retweet!  John admitted to me a while back that he falls on the introverted side of the scale.  Another pastor of a large church who is an introvert.

And returning the favor, since he clearly needs my help, I'm just starting his book, The Me I Want to Be

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Little Help

I've been talking for a while about a second book proposal, but it's getting pretty legitimate now.  Sorry that I'm not releasing the full topic, but I will tell you the proposed title:

Quick to Listen: Listening as a Way of Life

There's more to it than you think - it's about much more than spirituality and our relationship with God.  I have an introduction and about 2 pages of chapter one so far, along with another dozen pages of other personal and promotional information.  I am sending it in to my agent on Halloween (it's scary!).  It's a tough market out there though, and I could use some help.  Here are a few ways that you can help me get a second book contract:

1. Buy Introverts in the Church.  In this industry, and in this economy, it's all about numbers.  Publishers are turning down great book proposals because they don't think they can sell the books.  Introverts is doing pretty well, for a first-time author that no one has ever heard of, but the numbers still won't impress you all that much.  If you are thinking about buying the book, whether for yourself or for someone else, would you consider buying it in the next week?  If you are thinking about Christmas presents, could you buy it a couple of months in advance?  This will be the number one criterion that a publisher looks at when considering whether to publish my next book.

2. Subscribe to this blog.  The proposal template asks how many subscribers my blog has.

3. Join the Introverts in the Church Facebook page.  This is becoming a great community, with lots of comments and discussion.  And I'm much better about quickly responding to comments there than I am on the blog.

4. Recommend Introverts in the Church to others.  Tweets and Facebook links and blog reviews/mentions are great places to start, as well as, of course, telling people in person (gasp!).  You could link to my Washington Post article for starters, or send them to the blog.

5. Follow me on Twitter

I really appreciate all your help over the last year!  Even introverts can't do these things alone. And I truly love hearing from you.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

African introverts

My wife is currently winging her way to Kenya for a 10 day conference with World Vision International.  I gave her 2 copies of Introverts in the Church to give to any influential church leaders that she comes across. I'm really curious to hear what reaction it receives.  I don't know how popular personality inventories like the MBTI are in Africa and I don't know how introversion might manifest in more communal cultures.  Does anyone have experience with African culture who might be able to comment on this? 

Also, if I don't finish this new book proposal by the time she gets back, may I be trampled by a herd of wildebeest.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I'm just starting a book by Ronald Rolheiser called The Restless Heart: Finding Our Spiritual Home in Times of Loneliness and I'm eager to find out what he does with loneliness.  I actually don't experience much loneliness but when I do it's usually after spending time with a lot of people.  I can write by myself for a week and feel pretty good but if I spend a day engaged in intense social interaction, that's when the emptiness can set in. 

I am reminded of Anne Jackson's review of my book:

"For the longest time, I've considered my wiring as an introvert a thorn in my side. After spending time engaging with others, I felt so empty and overwhelmed . . . and lonely. With my calling as an author and pastor requiring me to publicly speak and consult, I wondered if I misunderstood my place in this world...."

Anne has since decided that she is pretty close to the line on the extrovert/introvert continuum but we can forgive her for that.

What's your experience of loneliness?  When and why does it happen for you?  How do you respond?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Inner Voice of Love

I've been reading a page out of Henri Nouwen's The Inner Voice of Love every morning recently.  It's a public record of the journal he kept while dealing with depression and abandonment issues.  It's pretty intense. Here are some words that struck me last week, words that seem to fly in the face of our culture that invites us to "share" so much of ourselves:

Do not tell everyone your story. You will only end up feeling more rejected. People cannot give you what you long for in your heart. The more you expect from people's response to your experience of abandonment, the more you will feel exposed to ridicule. You have to close yourself to the outside world so you can enter your own heart and the heart of God through your pain. God will send to you the people with whom you can share your anguish, who can lead you closer to the true source of love.

I think what he means by "close yourself to the outside world" (a phrase which I don't really like) is not to rely on other people to take away your pain, because they don't have the power to do so.  Only God can do that. But God will give us one or two trusted people who will sit with us in our pain and remind us that only God can fully heal.

What's your response to that quote?  Is there an invitation for you in it?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Small churches vs. big churches

For the last few years my wife and I have been attending a small church with no more than 200 members. I've been a big advocate of small churches for a quite a while.  I find it so easy for people (especially introverts) to get lost in big churches and sometimes I get concerned that people choose big churches because they wish to stay anonymous. I understand that desire and anonymity may be a good thing when checking out a new church, but only for a little while.  In the Christian life we celebrate that we are known and loved, and I believe our experience in Christian community should reflect that.  In small churches you can bump up against the same people week after week and that familiarity can spur friendship. 

For reasons other than temperament, we have recently moved to a fairly big church, of about 1400 members.  That's big for Presbyterians anyway.  And I have to say it's quite a breath of fresh air.  It's nice to attend a worship service and not feel so conspicuous.  Plus, there are so many resources at a big church and I feel like I have the freedom to choose what activities will really be good for me and enable me to give to others according to my interests and gifts.  While I appreciated the slower pace and fewer programs of the small church, I felt a little hemmed in when it came to choosing how to participate.  

So what about you?  Do you attend a small church or large church, and which do you prefer?