Knowledge is the power to reserve personal opinion in favor of giving grace to the various people our Creator has entrusted to us to serve, who need to be where and when they are in their processes with their Creator, because we are all equally accountable to Him for how we treat each others’ weaknesses and strengths as He has designed in our creations.
– Dr. Kerrie Vytlacil, PhD
This is what I have concluded in response to something I heard in which the introverted church members were lumped in with the shy church members who were hypothetically avoiding the small groups out of excuses of fear — all in an effort to push for small group attendance in the church. No mention was given to the extension of grace to any of those people who were not in a position of entering into small groups for whatever valid medical or psychological reasons they may legitimately have. I’m extending grace by saying that maybe the intention was to communicate a challenge, in love, to those who let their controllable personality issues become a habitual barrier to trying new things. I also would like to extend a caution to those who serve to not bash God’s people in an effort to promote or protect a local agenda. There are many methods to expressing obedience in faith, some more suitable to introversion, others more suitable to extroversion. As you will read in the quotes below, there is no wrong personality type and God is not unaware of how He made us, both extroverts and introverts. Let us not judge, presume, assume, or prescribe outside of personal relationships but let us instead focus on the “one anothers.” As an introvert, I would like to hear more about fulfilling these methods outside of the church building amongst non-church people too. Besides, many introverts are quite capable of judging themselves without grace. We don’t need any more help in that department. Just to let all you extroverts know.
Truth Search. I have to counter untruths with God’s truth. It’s my “thing.” So I searched the Bible and credible sources on the Internet. God wants us to pursue knowledge. God has already told us He has made us personally and thinks very highly of His creations. Elsewhere in the Bible, we know that God even knows the number of hairs on our heads. God is not unaware of how He specifically made each one of us. Therefore, God’s word stands before flawed human opinions.
Hosea 4:6 New International Version (NIV) 6…my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge…
Psalm 139:13-18 New International Version (NIV) 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
You’re Allowed To Be Different. This poem underscores the individual way God made each one of us. You have permission to be exactly who God made you to be, right here, right now. Here is a snippet.
“You’re allowed to step outside of your box. You’re allowed to not fit in with your culture, your society or your parents. You’re allowed to march to the beat of your own drum even if it’s just ‘noise’ to other people and you’re allowed to believe in the path you’re taking, to believe in yourself and believe in your voice, in your gut and in your heart.”
Introverts In The Church. Here are two quotes specific to introverts in the church who make up half of our country’s population and who are created by God’s design with unique contributions.
“As it turns out, our churches are actually teeming with this species of people called “introverts.” I am one of them, as is 50% of the American population, according to our best and latest research.”
“If we are given the space, we bring gifts of listening, insight, creativity, compassion, and a calming presence, things that our churches desperately need.”
Introverts in Church. This quote is the reason for the post title. Introversion requires no other defense than that God made us this way. If you have a problem with that, then talk to my Creator.
“Introverts are called and gifted by God. 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.”
Maybe We Should Stop Encouraging People to Get Out of Their Comfort Zones. These two quotes highlight God’s role in the existence of our differences. Let’s remember who made us and to whom we all answer in the end.
“We need to encourage one another to pursue God within the boundaries of our God-given personalities.”
“The differences in personality types point to our wonderfully creative God.”
Define personality. When in doubt, search it out. So I did. Here are some quotes from my research with the links so you can read them in context as well.
“…personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.”
“• Consistency: There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially, people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.
• Psychological and physiological: Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs.
• It impacts behaviors and actions: Personality does not just influence how we move and respond in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.
• Multiple expressions: Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in our thoughts, feelings, close relationships, and other social interactions.”
“It is important to note that introversion and shyness are not the same thing. People low in extroversion are not afraid of social situations, they simply prefer to spend more time alone and do not need as much social stimulation.”
“Introversion is generally viewed as existing as part of a continuum along with extraversion. Introversion indicates one end of the scale, while extraversion represents the other end.”
“Introverts tend to be more quiet, reserved, and introspective. Unlike extroverts who gain energy from social interaction, introverts have to expend energy in social situations. After attending a party or spending time in a large group of people, introverts often feel a need to “recharge” by spending a period of time alone.”
“Shyness indicates a fear of people or social situations. Introverts, on the other hand, simply do not like to spend lots of time interacting with other people. However, they do appreciate being around people to whom they are close. They find engaging in “small talk” tedious, but do enjoy having deep, meaningful conversations.”
“Introverts often find that other people try to change them or even suggest that there is something “wrong” with them. Nothing could be further from the truth. While introverts make up a smaller portion of the population, there is no right or wrong personality type. Instead, both introverts and extroverts should strive to understand each other’s differences and similarities.”
“Introverts, on the other hand, need plenty of alone time, perhaps because their brains process social interaction differently. Introversion is often confused with shyness, but the two aren’t the same. Shyness implies a fear of social interactions or an inability to function socially. Introverts can be perfectly charming at parties — they just prefer solo or small-group activities.”
“Shy people will go to parties, bars, art openings, public places — they don’t have a problem going, they have a problem performing,” Carducci said.”
“At the farthest end, people with full-fledged social phobia “have trouble leaving their house,” Carducci said, due to persistent feelings of humiliation coupled with extreme shyness. About 2 percent of the U.S. adult population has this severe form, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.”
“Introverts tend to have a more sensitive nervous system, and because they react stronger they withdraw to minimize stimulation,” said Carducci.”
“Somewhere between these two — our common humanity and our unique individuality — lies personality.
Personality is about our different ways of being human. How we are all variations on the same themes. How the human nature we all share manifests in different styles of thinking, feeling and acting.”
We are all IMAGO DEI (made in the image of God). Because we are thus equals before God, no one has the right to take God’s place in the life of another by refusing free will or by making one feel inferior to another, either by preferential treatment or by inference. Together, all believers are one church (assembly of God’s people).
Four Lies About Introverts. This quote is a snippet from the first lie. Click the link for the full list.
“The comparisons aren’t helpful and neither is holding up an ideal the Bible does not. The body of Christ includes persons at all points on the introversion/extroversion continuum, and no one’s contribution is more important than another’s. We’re all responsible to spend time both privately and corporately with God and others in worship, study, prayer, and service. Caving to a cultural standard that doesn’t line up with scriptural truth is destructive to individuals and to the body of Christ.”
Introverts The Forgotten Fifty. Here is a more graceful, inclusive way to communicate the need for small groups. We need each other, extrovert and introvert.
“God created each person with unique gifts and personality to build up the body of Christ (Eph 4:11–13; 1 Cor 12:4–6). Jones believes ministry leadership “must recognize the introvert’s unique personality and be willing to structure programs and ministries such that all people, introverts and extroverts, can participate, feel welcomed, and valued.”
Small, intimate discipleship groups do just that, allowing airtime for the “whispers” of introverts, while providing an even balance for introverts and extroverts and a context for life change producing depth of maturity and faith. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Prov 27:17).”