I love people. Truly. It’s one reason I believe God called me into ministry. I love the people He loves. Even the rotten ones. (Just kidding!)
But, I’m also an introvert.
And, yes, that makes me an introverted pastor. Of a large church.
And it happens more often than you might think. In fact, many of the large-church pastors I know are introverted. Large churches. Smaller churches. Introversion is not a respecter of persons.
I previously posted seven of my biggest pitfalls of being an introverted pastor. (You can read that post HERE.) In that post, I indicated I would share how I address each of these pitfalls to keep them from adversely impacting my ministry.
Here are seven ways I work with my introversion to protect my ministry:
I discipline myself to be extroverted on Sunday mornings.
Years ago, in my first full-time church, an elderly deacon pulled me aside and said, “Son, if you will make these people feel welcome, they’ll be more likely to return.” I realized that it wasn’t enough to preach a good message, I needed to engage people on a personal level. That has proven to be one of the best decisions I ever made. I’m very extroverted on Sunday. And, as tired as I am when I leave, I’ve learned to love it. Really.
I try to handle correspondence by text or email as much as possible to cut down on verbal conversation.
It’s not that we can’t talk. But if it doesn’t require a phone call, text or email work great for me. Obviously, not everyone knows that—and that’s OK—but for those who know me well and communicate with me often—it’s a great help for them to help me with this. Just a point of information, you will always get a deeper, more engaged answer from me if we are communicating online or I have time to think through my response.
I see networking as a large part of my success in ministry.
As a purpose-driven person, I’m more likely to do that which brings results. Networking has become a leadership value for me. It’s a strategic part of my ministry. That’s why people see me as extroverted. I know the value of connection and I use it often.
I try to capitalize on my strengths.
There are some benefits to introversion. I think before I speak. I am less likely to put my foot in my mouth (although it still happens). I usually mean what I say. I’ll never waste your time with office chit chat. I am able to spend countless hours in my own thought world, which gives me tons of ideas; which, by the way, is a big reason you see me online often.
My family knows who I am.
I am very protective of family time, but they know that I need downtime before I can engage fully. They are respectful of this time, knowing it will be rewarded as we enjoy each other more when I am mentally rested. (And I strive to make sure they don’t feel neglected—that’s important, introverts.)
I value my wife and her partnership in ministry even more! Cheryl is an extrovert.
Cheryl loves people, and when she is with me I am much more comfortable in an extroverted setting. That’s especially difficult if both are introverted, and probably requires extra discipline, but it’s a great blessing for me.
I have deeper personal relationships.
As an introvert having to be so extroverted, I could easily close myself off when I’m not “working.” Recognizing the need for people to be involved in my life beyond surface level for my protection and the protection of my family and ministry, I have consistently solicited and allowed a few men who know me into my heart and life who can hold me accountable.
Are you an introvert? How do you keep it from adversely impacting your ministry?