Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pentecost: Only Extroverts Need Apply?

Just like we assume every Pentecostal loves to sing fast-paced songs for 25 minutes every service, do we also assume every Pentecostal should be extroverted once they're Holy Ghost-filled?

A book review of Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh in the January issue of Christianity Today shares some salient thoughts:

For instance:

"... introverts are energized by solitude and drained by social interaction. (Extroverts, on the other hand, derive energy from external sources and find both inactivity and too much solitude draining.) Second, introverts tend to filter information and experiences internally; thinking generally precedes speaking. Third, introverts prefer depth over breadth in both relationships and interests. They may look calm on the surface, but their brains are "bubbling with activity"; thus, they require less external stimulation than their extroverted neighbors."

On involvement, extroverts often make a straight-line commitment. Not Introverts:

"The journey of introverts into a community, however, is better conceptualized as a spiral. They take steps into a community, but then spiral out of it in order to regain energy, to reflect on their experiences and to determine if they are comfortable in that community. They move between entry, retreat and reentry, gradually moving deeper into the community on each loop. The introverted path into community, much to the confusion of many extroverts, never reaches a point in which the spiraling form is shed."

So are we a religion for extroverts, by extroverts, and to extroverts, or do our services allow for the full care and feeding of introverts as well? Do we even think about it?

11 comments:

carandavis said...

THANK YOU.

kdc said...

You know, what confuses a lot of people is that it has nothing to do with being shy. That's not what I'm posting about at all.

It's all about being genetically introverted in a sub-culture that expects everyone to live out loud (or at least worship out loud).

epurcell said...

VERY good article!!! I was just having this discussion with someone the other day. On a side note, introverts make up only 25% of the population, and thus are greatly outnumbered by extroverts. Which makes us quite often misunderstood, whether in a friendship context, or whatever the relationship.

epurcell said...

And let me say one other thing, being an introvert is no excuse to not be a passionate worshipper, or door greeter, or people greeter... we just need our "down" time a lot more frequently.

carandavis said...

I think we can add to this the public style of our altar calls and seeking for the holy ghost. I heard Rick Warren talk about the awkward nature of "coming forward to receive Christ" on the Radicalis webcast a few weeks back. He said that's an invention of the 20th century but that in the Bible, baptism was the public confession of faith. I think if we encouraged people to receive the HG in any place they feel more comfortable, it might happen more often.

Example: A husband of a woman at my church is very introverted and has been out of church for decades. He came back to the Lord and was refilled w/ the HG in the privacy of his own home with his family, and those who know him say they knew if he came back, that was the way it was going to happen. He's just a reserved man. I think we need to make room for people like that and not make them feel like they're the odd ones out because they didn't cut a rug in front of God and all creation in the altar. :)

Anonymous said...

Good article! I like how you describe spiralling in and out of communities....that's really what happens. We test the waters first, we don't just dive right in. We're a little more guarded; very low maintenance. Once trust has been established we are loyal and committed. We've got your back, no matter what! I like to say we're "silent giants!" Rocks! Regarding worship, I worship openly and freely because of who He is. God bless!

kdc said...

Hey EPurcell,
Where do you get your stat for 25% of people are introverts? (Just wondering.)

Rebecca said...

Hmm...Let me think...
This has been my experience for years, and I've wondered why I have always felt more "at home" in liturgical worship settings and somewhat alienated in A/P services. Can the reason be as simple as personality type? How can worship leaders incorporate elements that will be meaningful to both types?

kdc said...

How about more Scripture readings? Why not have sermonettes/selective testimonies instead of special songs? Why not silent prayer or "listening to God"? Seems like we expect only songs to carry us into the throne room when there's so many more options available!

Debi said...

I can be very extroverted during an Apostolic service - so much so that I take the lead when other people hold back.

What always bothered me was that before or after the service I would feel completely shut down and noncommunicative and all the chatty socializing completely intimidated me. Now I'm thinking it's just my natural introverted nature kicking in. That an at all the church 'social' events I just want to crawl under a rock.

So yeah this has been very informative.

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Pentecostalism is for extroverts. Introverts like the Lutheran church, like the introverted Norwegians. Notice where Pentecostalism spreads, the emotional Africans and Hispanic. The Lutherans are in the colder more introverted climates.

Karl Jung