LeaderLines - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas 
Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
Manage Your Subscription -- Subscribe/Unsubscribe Contact Us About Your Subscription

Introverts in Church Leadership
by Tom Goodman
October 1, 2010

Are you a social introvert?

Adam McHugh is, too.  In a Washington Post guest column, the author of the new book Introverts in the Church, explains this personality type:

Introverts are often defined by what we're not rather than by what we are.  We're labeled as standoffish or misanthropic or timid or passive.  But the truth is that we are people who are energized in solitude, rather than among people.  We may be comfortable and articulate in social situations, and we may enjoy people, but our time in the outer worlds drains us, and we must retreat into solitude to be recharged.  We also process silently before we speak, rather than speaking in order to think, as extroverts do.  We generally listen a little more than we talk, observe for a while before we engage, and have a rich inner life that brings us great stimulation and satisfaction.  Neurological studies have demonstrated that our brains naturally have more activity and blood flow, and thus we need less external stimulation in order to thrive.

That's me, though I was reluctant to acknowledge myself as an introvert for years.  And maybe that's because, as McHugh says, in the evangelical world too often extroverts are hailed as the "ideal" Christians -- people who are "social and gregarious, with an overt passion and enthusiasm," people who "find it easy to share the gospel with strangers, eagerly invite people into their homes, participate in a wide variety of activities, and quickly assume leadership responsibilities."

If extroverted qualities are regarded as ideal for the Christian, it's no surprise that those qualities are especially promoted as ideal for the Christian leader.

While we need extroverted leaders, of course, the Body of Christ needs introverts as leaders, too:  "We bring gifts of listening, insight, creativity, compassion, and a calming presence," McHugh writes, "things that our churches desperately need."

Adam McHugh provides a helpful challenge to our assumptions of the ideal qualities of Christians in general -- and Christian leaders in specific.


LeaderLines is a weekly "e-briefing" providing valuable information and inspiration to those who serve at Hillcrest Baptist Church.

Do you know friends who would appreciate LeaderLines?  Just forward this e-mail to them!

Have you subscribed to LeaderLines?  You can subscribe by clicking here and following the instructions.  Your e-mail address will not be sold or given away to anyone, and you can automatically change your subscription or drop it by following the easy steps provided with each e-mail.