Sunday, January 17, 2010

Church is for Extroverts

I listened to the second interview of Adam McHugh on Prime Time America, in which he stated that extroverts were generally more valued by the Church than introverts, especially in leadership positions... The more gregarious the better.

He reiterated that extroverts get their energy from socializing and that they often think best while talking something through. For introverts, socializing is energy-sapping and they do their best thinking in solitude.

Making small talk wears me out faster than anything. I walk into church and I am immediately self-conscious, uncomfortable, on guard, and my thinking is anything but creative. I would rather have root canal than clap my hands or raise my hands during the worship service.

A couple weeks ago the preacher said that at the end of the sermon we were going to break up into small groups... ... ... So I left.

Once in a while I'll nonthreateningly share something about my faith with an un-churched friend at work. I wouldn't think about sharing my faith with someone at church. They want to talk about the Colts. The weather. Stuff like that.

But I digress.

I suppose McHugh's point is that the Church tends to ignore and marginalize us introverts... Which... Sounds pretty good to me!



SkyePuppy said...

They want to talk about the Colts. The weather. Stuff like that.

No, they want to talk about the Chargers (well, maybe not after yesterday's game...).

Malott said...


Saw the game... Felt sorry for the home fans.

In your Church is personal faith sequestered to Sunday School on Sunday mornings? Maybe I'm being silly, but my experience is that people meet their friends at Church to visit... And oh yeah... We're going to have a religious something going on, too!

SkyePuppy said...

In your Church is personal faith sequestered to Sunday School on Sunday mornings?

I've been thinking about how to answer this. For some, church is what they've always done on Sunday. Those people don't go to Sunday School. They just show up and then go home when church is over, their duty accomplished for the week.

But there's this guy at church. Single guy, mid-50s. I bumped into him at the drug store and, true to form, blurted out, "You go to my church, don't you?" He does, and our relationship at church consists of a "Hello, firstname," if we're near enough to each other, or a little wave and a smile if we're not. The minute church is over, he slips out the side door without giving anyone the chance to start a conversation.

There's a verse (probably in Psalms) that says, "But as for me, it is good to be near God." I can only speak for me, but that's why I go to church. It's good to be near God and near other people who feel the same way. It's good to be somewhere that I don't have to be careful what I say (my boss is somewhat liberal and leans toward Eastern religions--really LOVED the religious message of Avatar and our connectedness). I feel surrounded by the peace of God when I go to church.

I suspect this gentleman at church must feel the same way, or he wouldn't come. Grown men, especially without a family at home, don't come to church alone unless they are men of strong faith. But, having read your last couple posts, I suspect he is very much an introvert. Church is for him, but in small doses.

BTW, on the Meyers-Briggs personality test, for the Introvert-Extrovert questions, I'm a tie between the two. The tie-breaker is always: Where do you go to recharge your batteries? If you find a crowd or a party, you're an extrovert. If you find solitude, you're an introvert. I'm most definitely an introvert, but I can survive OK in the extrovert world a while longer than most introverts.

I hope I answered your question...

Grammy said...

Just thought I'd throw in another way to look at this. I do think organized religion is important because it gives us a structure that brings us together for worship and service whether we like and are comfortable with each other or not. We're supposed to sharpen each other and exhort one another and assemble together. The whole business sounds like it's supposed to be kind of confrontational. We were just invited to join a small group that we're not comfortable with at all. It includes some pretty liberal people and I get a knot in my stomach at some of the things I hear. We thought about quitting, but I got to thinking that our purpose is probably to throw a hitch in the liberal git-along. It will be just fine to make them uncomfortable too. We'll see what happens as we mutually annoy each other. The nice thing is that if you annoy liberals you can always say "but it's okay because we're all so tolerant!"

SkyePuppy said...


I love your response to the libs!

Malott said...

Skyepuppy and Grammy,

The closeness and peace that I feel in a worship service has nothing to do with fellowship.

We don't have liberals in our Church. We have a much bigger problem... We have lukewarm believers that are very good at being doctrinally pure - and are experts at compromise, and mixing the unholy things of this world into their Christian lifestyles.

Our members will shout out an amen in the worship service and then go home and turn on Cinemax, or if they prefer their porn "with clothes on" they turn on Grey's Anatomy or House. They go to work and flirt. They "fit in" because there is little difference between them and the world.

The Sunday service is the spiritual highlight of their week because the week has not been spent seeking God and new ways to honor him with their lives... But rather it's been spent living their chosen "pretty good" lifestyle.

I figure this: If you're "doing Jesus" correctly Monday through Saturday, Sunday morning should feel like you're being doused with a bucket of icewater.

I don't approve of legalistic churches, but I'd like to find one where at least the leadership has "sanctification" in its vocabulary.

Grammy said...

You're absolutely right, Chris. Everything, every moment and every activity in life is supposed to glorify God and be sanctified. The issue is compartmentalizing life.

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (1 Cor. 10: 31)

Tsofah said...

Interesting discussion. For me, worship starts at home. Being close to the Lord is something I want more than just for an hour or two on a Sunday. Chris, I suspect you have that same goal?

Church, whether in a structured building, or in person's home, is a social and worship time. To greet one another before service as many do can be a way to make a newcomer feel welcome. After the service again, can be such a time. It is also opportunity to reflect and share on the sermon that morning and how it can apply to your own life. (No, no gossiping about the pastor or deacons or anyone else allowed!)

Worship starts at home. The coming together with others is wonderful! I guess the difference if you like your "glass" to be 20% full or 80% full when you join up with others. (lots to think about)

Malott said...


"Worships starts at home."

I like that.