Monday, September 21, 2015

Calling All Introverts: The Church Needs You!

Recently in an adult Sunday school class, we were discussing how people sometimes drift away from the church, and two different people pointed out that introverts often feel unneeded in their congregations, like they don’t have anything to offer.  It brought to mind this passage from Paul to the Romans: 

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:3-6a). 
In other words, EVERYONE has a part to play, and introverts have many great strengths they can use for God’s glory in building his kingdom!

Let’s begin with a few definitions.  An introvert is someone who draws their energy internally (unlike an extrovert who is energized by being around people). Conversely, dealing with other people is draining to an introvert. But God didn’t create people to fit neatly into one of two categories, so there is a lot of variation even within this group. For instance, Helene and I are both introverts.  I would rather greet strangers at church than be asked to teach a group of ladies.  Helene dreads small talk but is an excellent public speaker to groups both small and large.  There is a place for both of us to serve, just as there is for all of God’s children, regardless of their “vertedness” (Yes, I made that word up).  Today on behalf of all introverts, I’d like to share ways that we can use our strengths in the church.

 Card or letter ministry:  Many churches get the names and addresses of visitors.  See if you can get that list and send a letter letting them know you appreciate their visit. You can also send cards to the sick or new Christians to let them know you are praying for them.

 Be a prayer warrior:  Prayer is a powerful tool, definitely more than “the least you can do,” and it is something you can do all alone.  When you have prayed for someone, send them a quick text to let them know.  It will brighten their day to know you have thought about them to the Father.

 Evangelism: Spreading the gospel is a command for all people, both introverted and extroverted, but it doesn’t have to be flashy. For me, building a friendship and beginning a Bible study with a lost soul takes a lot less people energy than door knocking or teaching a group of women. Introverts are especially good at building deep friendships, so personal evangelism that begins with a friendship can be right up our alley.

 Food ministry: Providing a meal for the sick, elderly, or grieving is something we’ve talked a lot about here on Maidservants of Christ.  If your congregation has a system set up for taking food to folks, then find out how you can join in.  If not, then be quietly aware of people in your congregation who may need food, and provide it for them.

 Church up-keep: This is one of those jobs that no one notices – unless it doesn’t get done!  Even if your congregation has a cleaning service, it is helpful to have someone straighten the auditorium after services and take out the trash (especially from the nursery!). There is usually a need for helpers to clean up after potlucks as well.  Groundskeeping outdoors is another behind the scenes kind of job that everyone appreciates! Every church also needs people to change out flowers, make bulletin boards, prepare the doors for classrooms and other kinds of decorating.  Because introverts are very good at sustained effort at quiet tasks, they are excellent at jobs like these.

 Teach a class: Some of the best teachers I know are introverts. I prefer to teach children because they zap my energy much less than adults do, but introverts make excellent teachers for any age.

 Help a teacher: If your church has enough teachers (and if they do, I’d like to know how they manage it!), you can always help a teacher.  Come into the classroom as “crowd control,” or even assist before class by making copies or running the laminator.  For those congregations which do not buy curriculum, planning lessons for teachers is also a great job for an introvert.

 Planning events: Introverts are often naturals at planning.  Large events like VBS, gospel meetings, and potlucks don’t run well without someone behind the scenes doing all the planning and organizing.

 Writing: Many churches have bulletins, blogs, or social media outlets that could use a good writer, and introverts are often excellent writers. 

I’d like to close with a few more thoughts. I don’t want you to get the impression that we should never be put in a situation that stretches us or is uncomfortable. God will always equip us.


For you extroverts out there, please keep this in mind: just because you don’t see the service that your brothers and sisters in Christ are providing, that doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard for the Lord.  They may be doing so in a behind the scenes kind of way.  We should all be paying attention to our own work for the Lord, not worrying about what someone else is doing. 

Melissa

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/60141638@N06/8512104420">Hello My Name Is Introvert</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>
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7 comments:

  1. Thank you for this--on behalf of introverts in the body of Christ everywhere! I found you after Helene found my piece on encouraging introverted children via the blog link-party circuit. I so appreciate what you've written here and love this wrap-up: "I don’t want you to get the impression that we should never be put in a situation that stretches us or is uncomfortable. God will always equip us." Absolutely! If God calls us TO it, He equips us FOR it! Blessings and thanks!

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    1. Thank you for the encouraging comment!

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  2. Awesome post, Melissa! There are so many that need to read the powerful truth within the words you've shared here! Blessed to visit with you guys! Peace and many blessings to both you and Helene! :-)

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  3. Love this! As an introvert, I never imagined I could be involved in ministry, yet as I've grown to embrace my strengths and acknowledge my growth areas, I've found all kinds of ways to contribute - writing (and even speaking).

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  4. I love this! Maybe because I'm an introvert and this post sort of describes me. I like to play behind the scene rather than being on the front roll. My way of getting comfortable around people and witnessing is developing friendship first, this often make people to think I'm a flirt or sort. But thats who I am, I can't help it. I write, blog, tracts, thats my way of contributing the church I worship with.
    Thank you for sharing this encouragement.
    #EncourageMeLinkup

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  5. Thank you for this post, sometimes is is harder to fit inn when you are introverted, but there are so many ways that an introvert can contribute their love, heart and giftings at church.

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