Introverts in the Church: Too Shy to Even Read This Post? This is for All the Lonely People…

Name and Place for Tuesday, July 15 (’14)

Introverts are like dust: everywhere.  And like dust, extroverts often think introverts are not worth much.  Along the lines of Susan Cain’s 6a00d83452063969e2013482e5901f970crecent book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Adam S. McHugh has written a jewel entitled Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted CultureHere is a snippet:

In Fact, God may even have a vested interest in giving gifts to people who seem ill-suited to possess them.  God delights in reversing expectations, in choosing the most unexpected people to lead, prophesy, and proclaim.  He reversed the law of primogeniture by choosing the younger Jacob, over the elder Esau, to be the father of the nation of Israel.  God passed over Jesse’s more physically impressive sons to anoint David, the shepherd boy with delicate features, as king over Israel.  The line of the Messiah came not through a pure bloodline of queens but through Rahab, a prostitute, and through Ruth, a foreigner.  Jesus chose uneducated fishermen and traitorous tax collectors to be his emissaries to the ends of the earth.  He himself did not ride into Jerusalem atop a white steed with a waving flag of victory, but he sauntered in on a beast of burden.  God appeared to Paul, seething prosecutor of Christians, and reversed the direction of his life to make him apostle to the loathsome Gentiles.

God has always been about the business of shattering expectations, and in our culture, the standards of leadership are extroverted.  It perfectly follows the biblical trend that God would choose the unexpected and the culturally “unfit”—like introverts—to lead his church for the sake of his greater glory.  The apostle Paul marveled at this paradox: “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me (2 Cor 12:9)” (127).

McHugh certainly is not making the case that only introverts are called to ordained ministry.  He is making the case, and persuasively in this book, that we would do well to stop valuing so highly all that the world values, and stop assuming the quiet and unassuming have nothing of value in the Kingdom.

We highly recommend both Cain’s and McHugh’s works on this subject.


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