We Christians love to encourage people to get out of their comfort zones. In church, we tell everyone to greet someone they don’t know. If someone is nervous about doing evangelism, we become the Jesus version of a head coach, trying to get them psyched up and out of their comfort zones.
Worship leaders are always exhorting people to get up and move and dance and clap and shout and be happy. If someone doesn’t like going to small group, we slap them cheerily on the back and tell them it will be good for them.
How do I know these things? Because I’ve said and done them all. I’ve been the Jesus head coach and the worship cheerleader and the back slapper.
But lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe we need to stop encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones. In fact, maybe we need to encourage people to operate within their comfort zones more. I realize that to some this may sound like selfish heresy, so let me explain.
I’m an introvert. This doesn’t mean I don’t like people, but it does mean I am refreshed by solitude and drained by extended times with people. It also means I’m more prone to quiet reflection, wrestling with ideas, reading good books and spending time with a few close friends.
There is nothing morally superior or inferior about being introverted. My friends Erich and Dom are classic extroverts. They have a big capacity for people, are awesome about making everyone feel included and welcome, and are always cheerful. I love those guys.
There are some things in scripture that are crystal clear. God must be worshiped. Fellowship is a necessity. Evangelism must take place. These are non-negotiable principles. Every Christian must do these things. What is negotiable, however, is how these principles are practiced.
I would humbly suggest that many activities that take place in church tend to be biased toward extroverts. Talking to lots of people on a Sunday, cold contact evangelism with complete strangers, loud worship and small groups are all activities that are much better suited for someone with an extroverted personality.
And these things aren’t necessarily wrong, but I think we need to make sure we don’t assume someone is more spiritual based on their participation in these things.