I remember realizing one day that introverts tend to see extroversion as a normal or even desirable personality trait, whereas extroverts (and many introverts) see introversion as a personality flaw. This can lead to a lot of frustration and misunderstanding.
So when I saw Adam McHugh’s book Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
, I bought it immediately. I read it earlier this summer along with another helpful book, Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength
. You don’t need to read both, but I found it useful to think about introversion in general before thinking about what it means to be an introvert within the church.
If you’re in vocational ministry, you really need to read Introverts in the Church. We all need to recognize this as an issue and become more sensitive to it. Anyone can benefit from this book, but it’s a must for pastors and other key leaders within the church.
McHugh shares a bit of his story, and then states his hope: that “God will begin or continue a process of healing introverts – helping them find freedom in their identities and confidence to live their faith in ways that feel natural and life-giving, the way that God intended.” He argues that our society’s slant toward extroversion has also infiltrated the church. He unpacks the differences between introverts and extroverts. He describes how introverts can find healing, and helpfully challenges us to “stretch our personality preferences without distorting them.” He doesn’t let us away with using extroversion as an excuse to disconnect from relationships or from loving people sacrificially. He then tackles issues of introverted spirituality, leadership, and evangelism. He also offers advice to churches on how to become an introvert-friendly church.
I appreciated how McHugh handled this issue. He deals with the issues, but he doesn’t let us away with finding our identity in our personality type. “We are not ultimately called to a life of self-fulfillment and comfort,” he writes, “but to a life of love.”
I agree with Steve McCoy’s comments on this book:
Few books really change me deeply. Directly. Powerfully. Never to look back. I didn’t expect it, but this one had me spinning for days and still eager to consider the implications more and more. I’ll be honest. I was in a rut. I still am trying to turn my way out. I need refreshment. I need recharging. I need renewal. And God has used Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh to show me how I put myself in the rut and how to get out.
This is a great first book from Adam McHugh. You can also check out his blog. I love discovering good new authors. I hope he writes more.