Introverts in the Church

I've long had a theory that the vast majority (as high as 80%) of pastors are introverts. This is not based on research, but just on my observations over the years, among my many pastor friends.

Thus, I was very interested when I came across Adam McHugh's book, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture. He does not write only from the introverted pastor's perspective; his book takes a fairly wide-angle view of how introverts encounter the church, as worshipers, as leaders, as seekers, and as servants.

It is tremendously thought-provoking and highly insightful. It made me feel less alone while reading it (I am an introvert who can function and minister like an extrovert, but I am most at home in my own skin when I am alone and things are quiet). It applied not only to me personally but also to my ministry in the church, and to my leadership as a pastor.

I especially appreciated his recommendation for (in the chapter "Introverted Spirituality") an introverted "rule of life":
A rule of life is an ancient practice; it is a way of structuring life in order to bring every aspect under God's gracious authority....I want to propose an introverted rule of life. While people of all personality bents will find a rule helpful, introverts in particular can benefit from the order and discipline it offers. Given the frenetic speed and activity of our world, we need to order our lives in such a way to maximize our social energy and to carve out several places for solitude. The rule of life works with the internal and external rhythms we discover as we come to embrace who we are (pp. 79-80).
He then goes on to propose several helpful questions and disciplines for the introvert seeking to find a structure in life that will foster an awareness of God and his presence.

This is an important book, and it is not only for introverts. It can help leaders, pastors, teachers, and churches make their ministry more effective and life-changing for everyone, not just for extroverts.

The author also hosts a helpful website,, for those who want to explore the topic more.

This book was provided for review by the publisher, IVP Books.


  1. Bob,

    Thanks for the review. "Introverts in the Church" just went into my GTD @read/review bucket. As an introverted worship leader I've often struggled to find my footing in churches. Can't wait to read it.

    Would it be too presumptuous for me to buy a copy for all of my extroverted pastor friends who don't get me?

  2. Joe, the author recommends exactly that, to help extroverted family members, coworkers, and others understand the introvert.

  3. Excellent book! It is insightful, eye-opening, informative, practical, relevant, affirming, and challenging. It is also biblically solid and very readable. Introverts are called and gifted by God. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are not understood and are under-valued or marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert. McHugh manages to confront the extroverted bias in church culture without denigrating extroverts while encouraging introverts without letting them off the hook of their own responsibilities.