I am an introvert.
From all public appearances on Sunday morning — and with my frequent activity in the community — that surprises people.
But in my private life and with those closest to me there is no questioning of that fact. If anything, I have become even more introverted the larger our church has grown.
I can wish I was otherwise, but this is how I am wired. And, it’s not wrong. It’s not a personality flaw. It’s not cruelty. I love people. It’s how I’m wired — by God.
But, being an introvert has its downsides as a pastor.
Here are 7 pitfalls of being an introverted pastor:
People often think I’m arrogant, aloof or unfriendly.
I’m a lot of negative things. Those are not really the main three. People who know me tend to call me humble, although I’m not humble — I’ve just been humbled by life — and so I’m not looking down on anyone. Seriously. I sometimes, though, have to go back and apologize once I hear someone thinks I avoided them. This happens especially with extremely extroverted people.
I hesitate to make the connections I should.
Sometimes I miss opportunities to build my network. There can be the best connection in the room and I will let the moment pass and regret it later. I hate when I do that.
I’m worn out after a long day.
After a day of talking, I need time to rejuvenate. That can impact my family time if I’m not careful. It also leads to people at the end of the day telling me I look tired. Thanks! I love that comment. But, guess what? I am!
Crowded rooms are intimidating.
I love crowded rooms in terms of reaching people for Christ. The more the merrier. But, they can actually be intimidating to me as a person. (Unless I’m speaking — then I’m not intimidated — just nervous like most people do before they speak. Isn’t that weird?)
I’m not as quick-witted in crowds.
People who know me tend to think I have a good sense of humor, I am easy to talk with and make them feel comfortable, but sometimes I appear awkward on first impressions when I try to make one. (Please give me more than one chance.)
I stress at the pressure to connect.
I realize the need to talk with people — it’s what I do — its what I need to do — but wrestling through the introverted tendencies actually adds even more stress to my life. The night before a big social event can be restless. Seriously. How’s that for transparency?
I can keep relationships shallow.
If I’m not careful — and thankfully I’m fairly disciplined here — I will close out people from really knowing me, which could subject me to all kinds of temptations, anxiety and even depression. The counselor training in me knows this well — and I see it often among introverts.
Are you an introvert? Do you see how it impacts your work?
(If any of this resonates with you, check out my next post. In THIS POST I share how I try to keep being an introvert from injuring my ministry — Link won’t work until after it’s live.)