Relationships and the Introvert Minister

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A great number of ministers are closet introverts. Part of the reason for that is that becoming a minister requires much work that introverts enjoy doing (the ministry of study) while the actual work of ministry requires things extroverts enjoy doing. I am painting with a very broad brush and speaking very generally here.

This can create a problem – train ministers in the introvert world to send them out to do practical ministry in the extrovert world.

One of the challenges for the introvert minister is developing meaningful connections in the church. There is a belief among some ministers that people in the congregation should be held at arm’s length, to not let people get to close so that you don’t compromise your message. I don’t think that view has biblical or practical merit. Instead, I believe the person best able to speak into the life of the church and teach biblically is someone who has a deep knowledge of the congregation (formed through deep relationships) and what is going on in the lives of those the preacher preaches to week in and week out. Only then does the preacher have the tools to study and make local application in their ministry.

The extrovert minister may struggle to find the time to study and prepare (not always but this happens) and the introvert minister will have to pull themselves away from the books and the Logos Bible software in order to spend more time with people.

It can be hard to kick against the goads of our inclinations and drives. I am not saying we should be someone we aren’t but I am saying part of the responsibility of ministry is making needed shifts for the advancement of the kingdom. Advancing the kingdom is not done in isolation. Jesus didn’t even do that and we certainly aren’t better than him!

It is also important to not neglect the gifts we are given. Again, play to your strengths. If you strength is study and teaching, don’t neglect that. Just make sure you are making some effort to find balance so that your ministry can be healthy. Remember the first thing in creation that wasn’t good? For man to be alone – don’t let your personality lead to isolation in ministry. It is a dangerous place to be.

If your minister is an introvert, take initiative and invite them to lunch. So many people think their minister won’t have time for them but by and large most ministers would enjoy the opportunity to have some individual time with a member who reached out.

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