Being an introvert is not always the easiest thing. Sometimes our actions or motives are misunderstood, and as a result relationships can be damaged. Being in ministry as an introvert is even more fun, because we are supposed to minister to <gasp> people! What?! Wait just a minute – no one said anything specifically about me having to talk to other people….
Fear not. Being an introvert in ministry – even an extroverted-centric ministry – is not impossible. In fact, it’s highly manageable. I started this series by writing here about contributions that introverts make to ministry. I want to continue by giving a few things that I find helpful in my own life as an introvert.
Here are 7 things you should do to succeed in ministry as an introvert:
1) get up early
Yup. If an early riser you are not, read em and weep. The early morning hours guarantee that almost no one else in the house is up – spouse, kids, dog – all still asleep. For an introvert, these are golden hours to be alone, have your thoughts, and spend time with God. I find that my day is much more productive when I’m up before the sun.
2) plan your week with alone time
This is not an option for you. And if you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. You need a specific time each day (see #1) and also each week to just be alone and recharge. The time and location will be different for everyone, but make sure you decide on something. I usually retreat to my office when ever I need a recharge.
3) take a nap
This age-old custom has been much written about lately, for good reasons. A nap can recharge you and give you a second wind. For an introvert, I find that it really is the ultimate alone time. I mean, really, who is going to wake you up from your nap? No one!
4) communicate with your spouse
This is a must. If you don’t do anything else do this one. If you know you are introverted, make sure your wife knows this too. That’s the first level. Then, you and your wife need to talk about your needs in relation to your duties. My wife expects me (rightfully so) to be engaged with her and our boys when my work day is done (that’s a little joke for those of you in full time ministry). She also understands that as an introvert, I may need some quiet time before that happens. So, she knows exactly what I mean when I say “I’ll be in in just a minute”.
5) communicate with your team
If you lead a ministry team with daily interaction, they need to understand this part of you too. Otherwise, it looks to them like you are just vanishing a lot. If you communicate, they will understand and probably even try to help you – their fearless leader.
6) be extroverted
Introversion is not an excuse to avoid people. Don’t use it as such. Engage with people often and with intention. You can rest and recoup later. Plus, it will give you something to think about!
7) be who you are.
If you need a break from people, don’t apologize, disappear.Introverts by make-up can only handle so much interaction. When you need a break, take it. Extroverts, on the other hand, can only take so much alone time. Whenever they have been solo for too many house, they need to find people and find them fast! Neither tendency is wrong, but both must be managed honestly and intentionally. These are my thoughts on excelling as an introvert in ministry. If you are introverted, I hope it makes you think. If you know (or live with) an introvert, I hope it gives you some insight.
Do you have any tips to add? What would you suggest? Leave a comment