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Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh
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“Introverts treasure the close relationships they have stretched so much to make.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“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.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introverted seekers need introverted evangelists. It's not that extroverts can't communicate the gospel, either verbally or nonverbally, in ways that introverts find appealing, it's that introverted seekers need to know and see that it's possible to lead the Christian life as themselves. It's imperative for them to understand that becoming a Christian is not tantamount with becoming an extrovert.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“God has always been about the business of shattering expectations, and in our culture, the standards of leadership are extroverted. It perfectly follows the biblical trend that God would choose the unexpected and the culturally "unfit" - like introverts - to lead his church for the sake of greater glory.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Let God make you fully you. Rejoice in your God-given temperament and use it for God's purposes. This point cannot be emphasized enough. We must be authentic. If we try to be someone we are not, people will see it instantly.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“In a team setting, leadership is shared by a community of people, which counters the tendency for pastors to form congregations in their own images.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“The verbal tool of exploring mystery together is not confrontation or preaching but dialogue. We subject ourselves to the same questions we pose to others, and as we traverse them together, we may arrive at surprising conclusions we could never have reached when simply trying to defeat one another's logic. Our questions are open ended, granting the other person the freedom to respond or not to respond. The questions stick with us, even haunt us, long after we ask them, and we await insight together. The process is more important than an immediate decision.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introverts have a constant internal monologue rushing through our heads.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Other voices will try to categorize us and tell us what is wrong with us, but true identity is discovered as we meet the One who created us and as we allow him to identify us. We are never strangers or outsiders to Jesus.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“In community, introverts follow a rhythm of engage, then retreat. Too much time in social interaction, no matter how satisfying, is disruptive and disorienting for introverts, and they need to step back to rediscover a sense of identity. They can lose themselves in community and need to retreat into solitude in order to be restored into shape and to find the power to give themselves fully to others when they reengage.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“introverts often feel more freedom in worship services that feature traditional liturgy than they do in ones that feature more open, informal, unstructured styles of worship. Introverts often appreciate the depth of liturgical prayers and hymns, as well as the rich symbolism that fill traditional churches.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“We who follow a crucified Messiah know that love will sometimes compel us to willingly choose things that make us uncomfortable, to surrender our rights for the blessing of others.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“The familiarity and informality of some churches in the evangelical
tradition, with their best intentions of devotion and hospitality, can actually exclude introverts. Times of greeting and sharing in a public context, especially with strangers or distant acquaintances, are unnatural and sometimes painfully uncomfortable. In fact, some introverts I interviewed conceded that they commonly show up late on Sundays to avoid the awkward preservice socializing and greeting times.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Typical evangelism books always seem to locate airplanes as the most advantageous setting for evangelistic encounters, where, at 30,000 feet, restive unvelievers are unable to escape the advances of brash Christians. ”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“As introverts who are followers of Jesus, we must remember that our introversion does not ultimately determine our thoughts and behaviors.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Long periods without quiet refueling leave introverts feeling physically exhausted and emotionally hollow.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introverts are rarely content with surface-level relationships and do not generally consider our acquaintances to be friends. We may find small talk to be disagreeable and tiring. Because we often prefer to spend time in one-on-one interactions, rather than group socializing, our relationships can run deeper.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Growing up constantly being compared to extroverts can be very damaging. Most introverted children grow up receiving the message overtly and covertly that something is wrong with them. They feel blamed—why can’t they answer the question faster? And defamed—maybe they aren’t that smart. Forty-nine of the fifty introverts I interviewed felt they had been reproached and maligned for being the way they were.”[1]”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“We may be in particular danger for depression because we internalize our emotions, and we may also carry inside us the dysfunctions of our families in ways that extroverts don’t.[2]”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introverts are targets for a variety of misguided arrows: we are shy, reserved, aloof, reclusive, melancholic, self-absorbed, passive, timid, social rejects, misanthropes and the list goes on.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introversion or extroversion is a preference, just like left- or right-handedness,[4] and we will favor one over the other to varying degrees.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introverts are energized by solitude. We are recharged from the inside out, from the forces of our internal world of ideas and feelings.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Even when our resources are at their lowest point, even when we have nothing to offer, we work out of a power that can take our scant reserves and overwhelm people with a mercy that heals both body and soul.[6]”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“People sometimes think of introverts as listless or despondent, the Eeyores of the social scene. But it’s not that we have less energy, it’s that we lose it through interaction.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“The combination of solitude and internal processing means that many introverts are more oriented toward ideas than they are interacting with people.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“We seek healing both from the internal wounds of distorted self-understandings and feelings of inadequacy, and from the outward wounds of alienation from others and exclusion from our communities. We desire the freedom to be ourselves and to love others as ourselves.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Healthy introverts are not recluses. Just because we are oriented toward our inner worlds does not necessitate that we live in a private world, devoid of social contact and activity. It means that whatever context we are in, we are predisposed toward what is happening inside of us more than we are in what is taking place around us. Introverts can be in an unruly crowd, still immersed in our internal worlds.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“Introverts’ wounds usually begin in childhood. Our families of origin convey to us messages about introversion, which set us on a path of either self-acceptance or self-criticism.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“While extroverts commonly feel loneliness when others are absent, introverts can feel most lonely when others are present, because ours is the aching loneliness of not being known or understood.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
“One of the most unexpected findings of my research was that introverted pastors felt very comfortable preaching, irrespective of congregation size. Many of them actually considered it their biggest strength and favorite part of the job. They found that their natural tendencies toward study, scholarship and writing translated into effective preaching and teaching.”
Adam S. McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

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