by Marisa Fraley, Staff Writer
I heard not too long ago that introverts cannot be effective ministers. As an introvert and someone called to ministry I couldn’t help but be a little offended. I realized that the speaker was operating on the misconception that introverts don’t like people. Here’s a secret though…introverts like people! We just need “me time” to be re-energized.
Sometimes, people mistake shyness as introversion and being gregariousness as extroversion. However, that is not the case. You can have shy introverts and shy extroverts and out-going introverts and out-going extroverts. And God calls all different types of people to ministry. Here are a few facts about introverts that are helpful in ministry…
1. We prefer small groups or one-on-one interactions
The fact we prefer one-on-one interactions allows those who we are talking to feel we are giving them attention and really care about what they have to say.
2. We like to get to the point in conversations
Sometimes this might not always be the best thing, but at some point or another in ministry we’ll need to stop “beating around the bush” with our congregations. Sometimes, people just need to hear it like it is.
3. We need “me time” to recharge
This means we understand the importance of self-care. We talk about all the time in Div. School the importance of self-care. Part of self-care is recharging. Recharging with alone time guarantees that we will have at least a little time where we will not be putting others needs ahead of our own.
4. We often think awhile about what we are going to say before we say it.
This makes us great listeners. We don’t mind listening to you talk and hearing all you have to say, but we often are going to process it all before we reply. It also helps when situations need to be handled with care. Our natural reaction is going to be to pause and process before we speak.
5. We are okay being alone.
Sometimes in ministry pastors are the ‘lone-wolves,’ especially if they are trying to make changes in traditions or disrupt the status quo. Yet, we introverts don’t necessarily have an issue going against the grain and being different for what we believe in, even if it means we are standing alone.
God created introverts and extroverts and called both to ministry. We each minister differently and that’s a good thing! The groups we minister to are all unique and are made up of introverts and extroverts. So to anyone who says an introvert can’t be a minister or any other person who says someone can’t be a minister my answer is: “You may say they can’t and I can’t, but God says we can!”