Many times, people think that being an extrovert is a prerequisite for being a good pastor.
In fact, when I was a pastor, most people assumed that I was an extrovert. They saw me speak from stage, lead ministries and events, and start conversations with church guests whom I did not know, and they assumed that it simply wasn’t possible for me to be an introvert. In fact, some would even argue with me whenever the topic arose, trying to convince me that I am, in fact, an extrovert.
Nevertheless, despite how introversion and extroversion are often described, “introverted” is not a synonym for “socially inept.” In fact, some of the most emotionally intelligent and relationally impactful people I know are introverts.
I am not, nor will I ever be, an extrovert. Ever since I was young, I have always enjoyed solitude. I have always preferred small gatherings to big parties. And while I have spent hundreds of hours of my life on a stage or behind a microphone, I don’t have any real emotional need to be the focal point of any social event.
For some time, I thought that in order to become a truly dynamic leader and pastor, I would need to turn myself into an extrovert—to become endlessly energetic, relentlessly optimistic, the life of the party. But at the end of the day, that just isn’t how God wired me.
For as much as we celebrate pastors who are extroverts (as well we should), we need to equally embrace and honor the ways God has uniquely equipped introverts for the task of pastoring. Here are at least five reasons why introverts make great pastors.
1. Introverts Are More Likely To Make Decisions Collaboratively.
The strength of any leader, and especially any pastor, is the team around him. And one of the best ways to attract great leaders to work alongside you is to give them influence and ownership over key decisions.
One of the strengths of introverts is that they are less likely to struggle with needing to be the one who solves a problem, comes up with the best idea, or outshines the rest of the team. This works to their advantage when they invite the input of other capable ministry leaders, whether it is their elders or deacon board, the ministry leaders who report to them, or trusted allies and confidants.
2. Introverts Don’t Micromanage.
Introverts have little patience for unnecessary interactions or unneeded conversations about the minutiae of life. This means that they will often mentally drift away from social interactions where the main topic of conversation is the weather, sometimes making them less than engaging dinner party guests. But it also means that they simply do not have the emotional energy to micromanage others.
No one, particularly not high capacity leaders, wants to be micromanaged. In fact, when pastors micromanage the ministry leaders on their team, they stifle growth and innovation, and themselves become the lid on the potential of the church in reaching the community for Jesus.
The best leaders are the ones who empower others and entrust them with responsibilities that are aligned with their gifts and passions. In a pastoral context, this is even more important, as our God-given calling is not simply to do the work of the ministry, but to equip and empower others to do so (Ephesians 4:12).