Monday, December 28, 2009

Personality Types and Ministry: Extroverts and Introverts

Christmastime brings out the best and worst in people. Holidays are a great time of the year for extroverts, people who thrive on conversation, crowds, and communication. Extroverts can talk into the wee hours of the night and are often the last to leave a party or social gathering.

However, the Christmas season can be a burden for us introverts, people who thrive on solitude, silence, and being quiet. If given the choice of going to a party or staying home I would much rather stay home. Our culture pegs us as being anti-social, strange, or weird, but that is not true at all. Introverts would much rather have a deep and engaging conversations with two or three friends than having a bunch of small talk at a cocktail party. I am an introvert but through the years I have learned to compensate and be social when I have too, however I am still not fond of big parties, gatherings, or weddings (yuk!!!).

Recently I came across a really thought provoking book by Adam McHugh called Introverts in the Church published by Inter Varsity Press. I plan on reviewing this book on January 2 which is National Introverts Day. Adam's book is a must read for students who are in seminary formation as well as pastors who serve Churches. His book is full of anecdotes and backed up with research too.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

How do you like the holiday season, do you find it hard to engage in small talk with people whom you hardly know?

Why does our culture put greater emphasis on extroverts than introverts?

What are some of your coping mechanisms that have served you well throughout your ministry?

In the coming weeks for 2010 I will also review some books by friends and colleagues:

Michael Plekon's Hidden Holiness (a great read for pastors and laity, good for an adult class)

Sarah Miles Jesus Freak (I loved her first book, Take This Bread)

Wallace Alston and Cynthia Jarvis Power to Comprehend With All the Saints: The Formation and Practice of a Pastor Theologian (a collection of essays about the importance of pastors for theology)