Introverts and the Church

I have posted before on this blog about introvertedness and the church, so it may come as no surprise that I found the following TED video by Susan Cain (which I watched on a recent flight) interesting and informative:

That video spoke to me as an introvert, of course, but also as a pastor, showing to me (again) how unwelcoming the church can be to introverts when, for example, we insist that visitors stand up and be recognized (or, worse, introduce themselves), that people greet those around them during a service, or make them turn to their neighbor and repeat a phrase, or break up into small groups for prayer or discussion, etc. All of that may not be a problem for the extrovert but displays insensitivity toward the 30-50% of people who are introverts. Of course, over time, introverts will learn to stay away from churches that do that, which is not what anyone wants.

That's not to say we should never stretch introverts. But it wouldn't hurt a bit for pastors and churches to heed Susan Cain's helpful suggestions. Like everything the church does, just a little sensitivity in this area could change lives.

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