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Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,983 ratings  ·  330 reviews
Introverts are called and gifted by God. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert. Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published November 27th 2009 by IVP Books (first published October 20th 2009)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,983 ratings  ·  330 reviews

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Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is a BLESSING! As I was reading it, I almost felt like it was written just for me! For YEARS I have been struggling with the community aspect of Christianity. I am much, much more at peace reading, reflecting, and discussing spirituality and theology with a few select people. The thought of walking up to a complete stranger and asking, "How did you come to know Jesus?" turns my stomach. I have felt so inadequate. I have felt frustrated and just plain fed up with the social obligations ...more
Dave Brown
Jul 31, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: paperback, theology
The author lays out some very positive points, especially in the first four chapters. Having come from the background that I have, I appreciate his very valid assertion that Western culture values extroversion as a holy standard, and thus so does the Western church. Many of the ways in which he describes this standard failing introverted personalities are accurate, and I found myself resonating with his words due to very recent experiences.

Unfortunately, by about chapter 5, the author becomes u
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was QUITE disappointing. Instead of finding spiritual insights, perhaps gathered from the considerable Christian contemplative traditions, I was faced with page after page of dreary management-speak. No book on religion (as opposed to business) should afflict its readers with word combinations like "recalibrating your leadership gauge." Nor should it be considered anything but a bad and pathetic joke to attempt to start a conversation about what Myers-Briggs type Jesus was. (Not sure i ...more
Anne Bogel
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have no idea how I first found Adam McHugh's blog "Introverted Church," but seeing those two words together in print triggered an "Aha!" moment in my brain. His book explores how the evangelical church skews towards the extrovert, and the effect this has on the church and its members (and seekers).

As an introvert who operates in the evagelical world, I found myself nodding all through this book.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Will add my thoughts soon!
Ben De Bono
Feb 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I discovered this book seemingly at random about a week ago. I say seemingly because I absolutely see God's hand in guiding me to it. This was exactly what I needed to read, exactly when I needed to read it. I'm an introvert. In fact, I'm about as introverted as you can possibly get. I also happen to be a pastor at an evangelical church. I love being in ministry and I love my introverted side but there are definitely times where the two seem like a less than ideal mix.

In the first couple chapte
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
One of the most encouraging books on spirituality I have ever read. I am deeply introverted. It is exhausting to constantly need to explain, "No, I'm feeling fine, I just need some time alone." It's most exhausting within the American church, where the ideal Christian is a gregarious, spontaneously evangelizing extrovert. People like me, while not necessarily looked down on, just don't fit in. Even when our faith is not overtly doubted, it's seen as a little off-the-beaten-path, and certainly no ...more
Mar 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Overall, this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. I think if I were an introverted pastor, then it would have been much more applicable. After reading Susan Cain's "Quiet", I was disappointed especially by McHugh's definition of what an introvert is and how they process things - even he admits that there are many kinds of introverts and his book is most applicable to those like him.

The last two chapters were really the best for me, and more of what I was hoping the whole book would be lik
Rachel B
Feb 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, nonfiction
This book gives introverts permission to serve God within the context of their God-given personalities.

I did feel that there was a greater emphasis on introverted leaders in the church rather than simply introverts in the church. I'm sure this has to do with the fact that the author is an introverted pastor. I imagine that many of the introverts he has extensive contact with (and subsequently, interviewed) are fellow pastors or leaders of some sort. I guess I think it would be nice if laypeople
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just finished "Introverts in the Church." It was a very interesting read on a topic not often discussed, and helped me realize a few things about myself and my congregation. I don't agree with everything he said, and a couple chapters were unnecessary, but I'd still suggest it to open minded friends. ...more
Alex Stroshine
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-living
"Mistake your shyness for aloofness, your silence for snobbery..."

I really enjoyed and appreciated "Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture." The author, Adam S. McHugh, writes out of his own experiences as an introvert. McHugh admits he may exaggerate at points, but he insists that there is a strong bias towards extroversion in the church and he offers this book as a corrective from the other side of the spectrum.

McHugh dips into history to reveal how extroversion
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jesus was an introvert, I am just going to go out the limb and say it. I am in the minority according to this book, not the author personal thoughts, but the survey of people he looked at. I am convinced because Jesus in the Bible always retreated to be by Himself for alone time and it did not seem like he cared much for crowds. It is hard to describe his personality whether he leaned more on extroversion or introversion but I happen to think the latter.

I really liked how persuasive this book wa
I. Love. This. Book. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Finally...I feel like someone has captured exactly how I feel as an introvert in the church (and its glories and struggles). If I could get all the pastors on staff at my church to read this (if they haven't already), I totally would (hmm, there's a thought). I love my church, don't get me wrong; I do feel that it, like many other churches in Western evangelical-dom (is that a word? Can it be a word?), caters more to the extroverts am
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much about myself trough this book. how not to feel like you need to fit in the box but to rethink the box.

This book will encourage all introvert who are exhausted after church and will give the extrovert a better knowledge of how it feels to be on the other end of the spectrum.
Brandon Lehr
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The introduction begins with the question, "Can introverts thrive in the church?"

Why would he ask such a thing? The same reason I've found myself asking it. Our Evangelical Church culture is easily described as extroverted in nature. For someone who isn't naturally outgoing, fitting in can be awkward to say the least. Our culture tells us that extroverted is the way to be. It's an attribute shared by great leaders and successful people alike. Lacking in this area is a sure sign of diminished pot
Andrew Doohan
Nov 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I came across this book while reading Quiet by Susan Cain, and am very glad I acquired a copy. As an introvert - which term I apply to myself rather than anyone else applying it to me - I've often struggled with expectations in various settings, including the Church.

Although written from the perspective of American Protestant Evangelicalism, McHugh's book provides a range of insights into how introverted people can find not only a place in the Church, but play a significant and leading role in t
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Encouraged me to embrace my “gifts” seeing their benefits and potential weaknesses. Challenged me to not give up on leading but to find a more introverted way. Pushed me to not be ashamed but advocate for my giftings for myself, others, and the church. Provides some practical ways to manage leadership responsibility from a more introverted leaning. Don’t agree with everything but loved the book. Don’t read it as scripture but with scripture as with any book. I left wanting to talk and explore mo ...more
Michele Morin
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Guide for Living Well as an Introvert of Faith

Little Rock, Arkansas was the Sunday stop on the last leg of our cross-country trip. I don’t recall the denomination of the church we visited, but I sure remember its personality: the two-handed handshakes, the over-the-top meet-n-greet . . . and the dear woman who sat next to me and kept touching my arm whenever the pastor made a good point. That church leaned hard toward an extroverted culture. For this introvert with the plexiglass space bubble,
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent. In a culture that values talking over listening, and churches that do the same, this book was a great help - recommended for both extroverts and introverts. The chapters on spiritual practices for introverts, interacting in community and leadership were especially helpful for me. Also, the chapter on evangelism was really excellent. So much that we take for granted as 'christian' is an extroverted distortion of the gospel.

One of the egregious faults of the evangelical tradition is tha
Alexis Neal
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: religion, 100-books
I confess I was pretty disappointed in this book. Which may have been due as much to my unrealistic expectations as to the product itself. McHugh sets out to help introverts thrive in the increasingly extroverted evangelical church--and to help the church better welcome introverts. These are noble goals, to be sure.

However, he runs into difficulties right from the get-go: nailing down a definition of introversion. Not all introverts are shy or quiet. Not all extroverts are loud. The definition
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I started this book several years ago and stalled out for whatever reason. I guess I just wasn’t connecting with McHugh’s examples of introverts. I kept thinking to myself, “This doesn’t describe me.“ As it turns out I’m a pretty extroverted introvert or introverted extrovert… Some call that being an ambivert. Anyhow…

I,now minister at a church that is full of introverts, so I thought I would pick this back up. There is a lot of practical advice in this book, and I think it is very important for
Lauren Brownfield
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book made me feel seen and understood. I highly recommend it to any introvert who attends church. And to any extrovert who wants to understand our experiences and why we behave the way we do.
I particularly like that McHugh doesn't stop at affirming and celebrating the introverted way of being, the way God made us, but also challenges introverts to find how God wants us to contribute to our communities. He encourages introverts to stretch ourselves, but not to distort our personalities. We a
Ian DeVaney
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
If you are an introvert like myself and have spent any amount of time in church or in ministry, then you likely have found yourself in situations in which you feel out of place. You may even have experienced situations in which you have clearly been stretched beyond your capacity.
This is a detailed and thoughtfully written book that addresses the unique challenges for introverts in ministry. It also explores the ways in which introverts are particularly qualified for ministry and how they can l
Feb 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
Adam McHugh's book has given me a new perspective on a discussion I sometimes have with other Christians, "why are you comfortable in XYZ church yet uncomfortable in ABC church?". The author's premise is that your ability to feel at home and valued in a given church setting has to do with what builds you up and what drains you. In other words, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. In my many musings on "why is friend A in this church situation?" and "why am I in the church situation I am ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book could be a great resource everyone who leads or works with others in a church setting—especially in churches with strong evangelical (that is, proselyting or missionary-oriented) traditions, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The author is an evangelical Christian pastor and an introvert who has worked in several different pastoral settings. He describes ways in which most churches--like American culture in general--value the skills and personalities of extrover ...more
Scott Heaton
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The following book review, I think will be helpful to those who are in the church, and specifically to those in the church that have felt like they just don’t fit.

I have been heavily involved in ministry for a few years now, and it is undoubtedly a rewarding enjoyable job, but the fact of the matter is- it’s hard. At times the lifestyle seems to be a whirlwind of frenzied meetings, counseling, and emotionally-charged-busyness. And it was in the midst of feeling like this that I ‘Stumbled Upon’ a
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
As a definite introvert, church (at least my current church) can sometimes feel like a decidedly uncomfortable place. The going trend in churches is small groups, where we're all supposed to emote with a group of people we've previously not even met. I picked up Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture with interest. Some tidbits that resonated:

In the typical evangelical church of 2013, introverts are often viewed as antisocial, and, therefore, lacking in faith. The
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
An insightful book, authored by a pastor who is an introvert himself, where Introverts in the Church really shines is in communicating just what an introvert is. Introverts will gain a deeper understanding into why some things that come so easily to others escape them. Extroverts will gain a window into just how much is going on inside those quiet, contemplative people only a few get to really know.

It's easy to see the author has found his strength in his leadership role. The chapters exploring
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reading “Introverts in the Church” was very enlightening to me. Even though I could not relate to a lot of the struggles and needs that the author shared, it did help me to see how marginalizing it must feel to be introverted in both a culture and Church where extroversion is often preferred. I like how one person reviewed the book when they said, “Read it and heal”, because oftentimes in the church, extroversion is heralded as faithfulness and godliness. Whether we choose to recognize it or not ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This book is definitely worth reading for Christians who feel like they don't always fit in with the often loud, 'extroverted' nature of our Western, evangelical churches. For me it raises a lot of very important questions and challenges as a young, 'introverted' Christian in leadership, and has given me some ideas about how to work better with others of any personality type in my church. It doesn't have the answers there for you, obviously they have to be found in your own contexts. It has some ...more
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Adam S. McHugh is the author of Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister, spiritual director, chaplain, speaker, and retreat leader. Adam has served at Presbyterian churches, as a hospice chaplain, and as campus staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He is a expert and has been published in The Christian Centu ...more

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“When introverts go to church, we crave sanctuary in every sense of the word, as we flee from the disorienting distractions of twenty-first-century life. We desire to escape from superficial relationships, trivial communications and the constant noise that pervade our world, and find rest in the probing depths of God's love.” 99 likes
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