Introverts in the Church
Introverts have gifts for the church and the world. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert.
Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach relationships differently and how introverts can practice Christian spirituality in ways that fit who they are. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship, and even evangelize effectively.
Introverts in the Church is essential reading for any introvert who has ever felt out of place, as well as for church leaders who want to make their churches more welcoming to introverts. This expanded edition has been revised throughout and includes new research on the neuroscience of introversion and material for parenting and encouraging introverted youth. Discover God's call and empowerment to thrive as an introvert, for the sake of the church and kingdom.
"For the longest time, I've considered my wiring as an introvert a thorn in my side. After spending time engaging with others, I felt so empty and overwhelmed . . . and lonely. With my calling as an author and pastor requiring me to publicly speak and consult, I wondered if I misunderstood my place in this world. In Introverts in the Church, Adam brings a voice to those of us who often trade ours in for a little bit of respite. This is not only a needed resource for introverts; all leaders need to read Introverts in the Church for a better understanding of how introverts can lead, how they follow, and how they refresh."
"As an author and consultant, I have seen firsthand the struggles that introverts face in a society built for extroverts. But I have also seen how powerful introverts can be once they embrace the gifts of a quiet and thoughtful temperament. In this deeply felt and beautifully reasoned guide for introverts in the church, pastor Adam McHugh shows the way for introverted Christians to find peace within themselves and their community."
"As an introvert who has experienced both the strengths and weaknesses of my temperament, I appreciate the way McHugh goes well beyond the facile stereotypes and conclusions of armchair psychologists. If you've ever felt vaguely sinful for not being a gregarious Christian I suggest you spend some quality time alone with a copy of Introverts in the Church."
"As a fellow introvert, I well know the tension, irony, and even contradiction of being in vocational ministry where public speaking and being with people are major and vital parts of our roles. This book puts together extremely helpful thinking to better understand who we are and how to navigate and celebrate being introverted and in leadership in an extroverted world."
"Introverts, take heart! As an introvert myself—an off-the-chart 'I' on the Myers-Briggs—I find certain aspects of church life, like speaking to other human beings every Sunday, really taxing. McHugh thoughtfully explores the gifts introverts bring to the church, and he considers both how introverts can live well in the church and how churches can be more hospitable to us."
"At last a book for and about introverts in ministry, and a wonderful book it is! McHugh unpacks the challenges and characteristics of the introvert leader in a ministry world designed for extroverts. He offers practical guidance for developing as a leader, evangelizing, joining a community, preaching and becoming spiritually mature in Christ. The book not only helps introverts, but it can serve as a great resource for extroverts who lead, coach, mentor or relate to introverts."
"This is a book that all leaders in the church should read! It made me realize that I owe an apology to all the introverts whose insights and contributions I have not understood or have overlooked. McHugh's perceptions are crucial for churches in our extremely extroverted society; we are missing some of God's best treasures for Christ's body. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wishes more thoroughly to understand the Holy Spirit's creation of a diversity of personalities and gifts."
"What a timely and badly needed book! Introverts in the Church will encourage thousands of Christians who have felt as if they don't quite fit. It will help them find their rightful place in Christian community, so that their gifts might be well used in the work of the kingdom. This book will also help churches to be a place where all people can flourish as disciples of Jesus. Adam McHugh has given us a precious gift through his openness, theological soundness, and godly wisdom."
"Adam is addressing a huge number of folks in the church. Read it and heal."
"What Adam McHugh's Introverts in the Church did for me the first time was unmask the extroversion-shaped churches that we have and open up possibilities for how an introversion-sensitive church might conduct its business. . . . The reason our church is sensitive to introverts is because our leaders have absorbed the insights of Adam's Introverts in the Church and become one of those places of grace for introverts and extroverts."
"Introverts in the Church changed my life when I first read the book seven years ago. Adam's voice on the topic of introverts resonated with so many people like me, who found themselves as introverts functioning in extroverted positions and living in an extroverted culture. In many ways, through this book I was given permission to be myself, and I have continued this work with my clients each week in my private practice. I regularly recommend this book to both introverts and extroverts."
"Introverts in the Church is thoughtful, validating, and charming. It's the book for all churchgoers who have ever wanted to disappear into their seats when the pastor said, 'Turn and introduce yourself to three strangers.' Adam teaches an important lesson: spirituality should not be measured by sociability. The introvert who quietly reflects on her faith is as true a believer as the extrovert who preaches exuberantly to others."
"God must love the introverts, because he made so many of us. In this wonderful new edition of Introverts in the Church, Adam McHugh helps us see that there is a place for us in communities of faith. His wise observations are rooted in experience and deep study, and his advice is both practical and profound. So let us make a joyful quiet unto the Lord!"
"Until I read Introverts in the Church, I wasn't fully aware of how heavy the weight of social expectations felt to my introverted soul. My kids were small when the book was first released years ago, but now I realize two of them are introverts like me. I have a hopeful vision that the giftedness of the next generation of introverts will be honored and celebrated thanks to the fine work of Adam S. McHugh in this timeless, important book."
"Get your highlighter ready. You'll laugh, you'll tear up, and you might even experience a weird grin on your face while reading Adam's words. I know I did. Fellow introverts, we aren't spiritual misfits after all; we're normal!"
"This is a timely and badly needed book which will encourage thousands of Christians who have felt they don't quite fit in. This book gave me hope that it was okay to doubt and be uncomfortable in some settings and group styles."
A mixture of biblically grounded psychology, examples from Scripture, personal anecdotes, and practical advice on how to reach out to introverts as well as what to do if you're the Introvert in ministry. His goal is to show that introverts and extroverts alike have a place in the church despite how they handle relationships and process information.
Any introverted Christian who ever has felt misunderstood because of his or her personality type likely will find this book a revelatory, mission-affirming reading experience.
McHugh challenges churches to recognize that the significant numbers of introverts in their bodies have been gifted to serve in unique ways and to encourage them and open up avenues for service.
Full-time and lay ministers within churches will enjoy reading this book to understand better the struggles and strengths introverts can bring to church ministry. Highly recommended.
With clarity, logic, practical examples, and scripture Introverts in the Church offers ways for more reticent types to effectively serve, lead, worship, and share their faith with some helpful advice to the terminally introverted on how to be more involved in the world outside themselves. Introverts offers hope and reveals how more restrained people can approach relationships differently and practice spirituality in ways that fit who they are.
Foreword by Scot McKnight
Preface to the Revised Edition
Introduction: Can Introverts Thrive in the Church?
1. The Extroverted Church
2. The Introverted Difference
3. Finding Healing
4. Introverted Spirituality
5. Introverted Community and Relationships
6. Can Introverts Lead?
7. Leading as Ourselves
8. Introverted Evangelism
9. Introverts in Church
Epilogue: Finding Our Place
Questions for Reflection and Discussion