Home Small Group Leaders From Fear to Friendship: How Introverts Can Find Community in Small Groups

From Fear to Friendship: How Introverts Can Find Community in Small Groups


Hello, my name is Jeremy, and moving from fear to friendship can be difficult. You see, I’m an introvert.

Introvert (noun)
in·​tro·​vert ˈin-trə-ˌvərt
:a person whose personality is characterized by introversion: a typically reserved or quiet person who tends to be introspective and enjoys spending time alone

This is funny because I am also the pastor responsible for every ministry related to connections at our church. #godhasasenseofhumor

As an introvert, I sometimes joke that I’m a “social introvert.” I enjoy being around people, but social interactions can also be draining. I need a lot of alone time to recharge, which can be challenging when I’m also a father, husband, and friend. These interactions can be especially difficult in new and unfamiliar environments.

That’s why I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we can make small-group meetings more accessible to introverts. These types of meetings can often be overwhelming for them generating fear and creating barriers to friendship.

But we want everyone to find a place where they belong, right?

That’s why it’s vital to equip our small group leaders and point people to facilitate with introverts and extroverts in mind.

Steve Gladen once said, “Small groups are not just one of the many ministries in the church. They are the heartbeat of the church.” If that’s true (and I believe it is), we must ensure they’re accessible to everyone.

4 Ways To Move Introverts From Fear to Friendship

1. Set Clear Expectations.

Want to make small groups more accessible for introverts?

Start by setting clear expectations around the specifics of the meeting. For introverts, knowing what to expect can be a game-changer.

For example, we’ve all been in small group meetings that drag on forever. It can be uncomfortable and make it hard to show up the next time. Setting clear expectations around meetings can put introverts at ease and help them feel more comfortable.

As Dave Earley said,

“Clear expectations are the foundation of effective small group meetings.” When everyone knows why they’re there, what they’re expected to do, and how the meeting will run, they can focus on building relationships, sharing ideas, and achieving their goals together.

Predictability is critical to moving people from fear to friendship in a social setting.

By setting clear expectations around meeting length, content, location, and other essential details, you can create an inclusive atmosphere that makes everyone feel more at ease. These expectations will help introverts understand what to expect, be prepared beforehand, and help the entire group move toward success.

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Jeremy Sauvé currently serves as the Associate Pastor at The Bridge Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Alongside his wife, Amanda, he lived abroad for several years, first in Ulsan, South Korea as an ELC teacher and then in Aberfeldy, Scotland, where he was the Head Chef of a café. During this time away, they both grew to profoundly value the importance of community in their lives. As a result, upon returning to Canada nearly 17 years ago, building community has been at the core of Jeremy’s passion; first as a Youth Pastor and now as an Associate Pastor. He is committed to helping people create, or find, intentional community where they can be fully known and fully loved.