Author Topic: introverts in ministry  (Read 5057 times)

itsme

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introverts in ministry
« on: April 18, 2006, 11:11:49 AM »
Hello!  I am new to the forum--and very glad to find some people who might understand me!  I am wondering if there are any introverted ministers out there.  I find it interesting that a profession that demands one be so extroverted has so many introverts in it.  This last week was very draining and frustrating for me (Holy Week)--too many people and special services and not enough me time.  Sometimes I dread Sundays and Wednesdays as I have to be to outgoing and friendly.  I like my  job, and my church but I think the job is easier for extroverted people.  I am wondering if any other ministers are involved in this forum and have any thoughts on this subject.  Thanks!

DaytonaKit

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2006, 05:45:25 PM »
Introverts are great in ministry because of their innate ability to read people's needs.  They also have a sense of the greater good and higher purpose that drives them, compared to the here and now of many extroverts.  You are right, though, in that there are many extroverted activities involved with ministry.  The key is to make time for yourself and loved ones and not overcommit.

I once had a pastor who insisted on taking Mondays off, can't say I blame him.  Once a woman was trying to reach him on Monday, and when she managed to reach him on Tuesday she proceeded to get on his case about it.  He calmly explained his policy about taking Monday off.  She said, "Sir, the devil doesn't take a day off."  His reply - "Ma'am, if I don't take the day off I become the devil!"

As you get more experience, it'll be easier and you won't find services so draining.  I still remember my first few years of teaching - the last thing I wanted to do when I got home from work was to talk with anybody.  I'm just now feeling at ease with my job performance enough to be able to unwind at home and even socialize a bit.  (And it's been 7 years.)  Just take plenty of alone time before and after those events. 

Hang in there, we need people like you in this world!
INFP

Life would have been so much easier if I had been born 30.

presbyorganist

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2006, 03:19:03 PM »
Hello. I'm an introverted minister's wife whose extroverted husband is  extremely involved with his church and many other related institutions.  He has had a really hard time with my in-born temperament and has just recently decided it's OK for me not to go to every church event, join every committee, and attend every extra service and retreat.  I tend to dread Sundays and Wednesdays because of the social requirements of responding to every church member as they expect.  I have a particularly hard time at church camp because it's an entire week of not being able to get away from people.  We've finally come to an agreement that I don't have to attend camp the entire week if I show up for a little while.  Recently we visited a monastery with a particular fine organ.  (I should say that I am the organist for my husband's church and usually find that a good fit for me).  One extroverted church member kept urging me to play the organ even though I hadn't been invited to do so.  She found it very hard to believe that I didn't want to play the monastery's organ.  She even tried to arrange with our host monk for me to travel the 60+ miles back to the monastery to work up a recital at a later date!  It's funny to think about now altho at the time I felt she was very insensitive to my hesitance.
Thanks for the opportunity to unload some negative feelings.  I don't think there's anyone in our church to whom it's safe for me to say what I really feel about being a minister's wife, especially as an introvert. 

Goat Rancher

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 11:17:41 AM »
I don't go to a meting, at all, unless something is specifically, calling me to go. I minister, mercifully, everywhere I go, everyday of my life. No committee meetings, no schedules, no obligations, w/the exception of The Spirit. It's true when He said,..."My load is light...", and The Truth sets us free.
                                                       Goat Rancher

girlford71

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2006, 08:37:30 PM »
Don't know if the people who wrote on this will see this or not since it's been quite some time back.  I posted something about Pastors as introverts before I saw this.  We had an introvert Pastor for a year.  Like I said, I think he was widely misunderstood.  I even had problems with him and I am an introvert (didn't know either of us were at the time).  He was very good in some areas but seemed very insensitive in others.  I think it would be awful hard to be an introvert in the ministry.  I sympathize with the minister's wife who posted.  I know what people expect from ministers and their wives.   I even expect certain things.  I was critical of this introvert pastor we had.  I didn't run him down to anybody, but I had my feelings about him.  He decided to leave on his own.  Maybe he felt the vibes.  Can't say that I was happy he left.  I did have a brother/sister affection for him despite what I saw as flaws. :-\

radames

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2007, 01:16:39 AM »
Many people think that pastors are supposed to be these perfect people, but they are just like us and have a different focus in life; a Heavenly focus.  Even though there are a lot of different careers out there, the personalities of people are just as different.  There are different kinds of innie personalities as well as extroverted ones.  In my opinion, I believe that it is good to have an innie approach to ministry; insightful counseling, variety of perspectives, a high capacity for in-depth Biblical study, etc.  I suppose that it is even more difficult to be comfortable being your innie self when SO many people are stretching you this way and that, trying to influence you, arguing with you, sharing very deep feelings, wanting your advice, and endless amounts of favors.  You really have to be EXTREMELY comfortable, and strong, being you as each of these situations would present a challenge in and of themselves to make you someone the member wants you to be at that time.

newliberty02

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2007, 05:04:24 PM »
I know this is an older thread, but just in case anyone involved is still out there, I wanted to throw in my thoughts.  My parents are actually missionaries that are mainly based in the US.  They spend a lot of time traveling from church to church.  Not only is my dad an extreme introvert, but I found that a great majority of the pastors and their husbands/wives that we encountered were introverts as well.  I think that this may be because the introvert personality is easily focused on deep study (spiritual or otherwise.) 

But also, I think that in some way it is necessary for those in ministry to be somewhat introverted to be effective.  Although everyone in the congregation may run to the pastor/priest with his or her own needs, the pastor/priest must be able to address that person as an individual without running and spreading that person's business to everyone else.  Often the spiritual leader may feel isolated- as if they can not talk to anyone who will fully understand their precarious position.  That is why sometimes it is important for ministers, their spouses, or missionaries to network with others in the same position.  Unless you've walked in that path it's difficult to understand.  But at least as innies, we are somewhat able to get along better without needing anyone to spill our issues to every minute.

radames

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2007, 12:15:56 PM »
Hey newliberty, welcome to the forum.  I am currently being discipled by a minister who has been in the ministry for 36 years and also started out very, very shy but has now been more accepting of his innie personality.  He is often mistaken for an extroverted personality.  Perhaps that is why I find him to be a very effective influence in my life, he has a lot of things in common with me.

newliberty02

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2007, 02:55:52 PM »
Radames-

My dad is often mistaken for an extrovert as well.  He can pretty effectively socialize with people as long as after he can get away and hide out alone for awhile.  I think there are a lot of introverts behind the pulpit or in the mission fields- when they speak they usually have something quite deep and meaningful to say. 

radames

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Re: introverts in ministry
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2007, 11:47:20 PM »
It is helpful that the extroverts bide the time with their "motor mouths" while we innies gather something out of the vats of our mental resources to be presented in a timely manner employing traits of effectiveness, inspirationalism, and, um, usefulness.  ;)