2. Allow Introverts To Observe Before Participating.
This is key.
Let me tell you a story about my first small group experience as a teenager. It was a prayer circle, and I was terrified. As each person prayed, my anxiety grew, and I was in full-blown panic mode by the time my turn came around. If I could have run away, I would have! After sweating out about two liters of water, I finally escaped. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in a prayer circle again.
But that experience taught me something important: we must be careful not to force introverts to participate. While extroverts may thrive in new situations and with new people, introverts need time to adjust and feel comfortable.
If you’re leading a small group, be patient and give introverts the time and space they need to participate in their way knowing that this space will help them move from fear to friendship. Don’t pressure them to speak up or share their thoughts if they’re not ready.
Does that mean you shouldn’t ask? No. But be empathetic in how you do it.
By creating a safe, non-judgmental environment, you can empower introverts to engage and participate in their own time and on their terms.
3. Encourage Everyone To Participate but Give Them Time To Do It.
Want to make small group ministry more inclusive for introverts?
Of course, you do or wouldn’t have read this far into this blog post.
So, if you desire this, sometimes it will mean sitting in silence to facilitate this.
I know it’s tough in our digitally connected, noise-filled world to embrace silence. But trust me, it’s essential, especially for introverts. Those quiet moments can give introverts the courage to speak up and share their thoughts.
As an introvert, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt prompted by the Lord to speak up in a small group setting. But then, a fierce battle would wage in my head and heart that went something like this:
“Not a chance, what if…?”
“Please Lord, I can’t. I’ll sound dumb.”
And on it would go, leaving me feeling an odd mix of relief and discouragement if I missed the chance because there wasn’t enough time.
So, don’t be afraid of silence.