It’s Sunday morning, and it’s time for church. After sitting in the car for about ten minutes, giving myself a pep talk while also debating if I should go back home, I force myself to go inside. I enter through the doors and smile with my eyes cast down at the person who greets me. My heart thumps inside my chest, and my hands grow clammy as I scan the room around me. People are gathered in small groups holding cups of coffee, and little kids run in circles around their parents. I spot someone I’ve met before and wonder if I should go and say “hi.” But then I chicken out, deciding to just take a seat in the back corner and wait for the service to start.
If this situation sounds familiar to you, you are likely an introvert. Each one of us falls under the category of introvert or extrovert based on our comfortability in social situations and how we receive energy. There are great qualities in both extroverts and introverts, but sometimes it can feel as if extroverts receive the spotlight. Because of this, I have often believed that extroverted people are better at serving the church and that there isn’t a place for me as an introvert. If you’re an introvert, maybe you have felt the same way. But even if it seems as if extroverts are favored, God uses every type of believer for His Church and kingdom, and that includes introverts. Here are some tips for how you can serve the church as an introvert.
Embrace how God has wired you
It can be easy as an introvert to wish that you were more extroverted. You look at your friends or other people in your church that are more outgoing and think, Why can’t I be like them? God created each one of us uniquely, and our personalities were selected by God for His good purposes. While we might not like how we’re wired, how we’re wired points us back to the God who knew what He was doing when He created us. While some people may elevate extroverts over introverts, God sees both as equally important and necessary. So when it comes to serving the church as an introvert, we must first embrace how God has wired us. If we don’t, we will spend too much time wishing we were different or maybe even trying to be someone we’re not, instead of embracing the unique person we are.
Consider how God has gifted you
Connected to embracing how God has wired you is considering how God has gifted you. Both extroverts and introverts have certain gifts that correlate with their personalities. For example, extroverts are often skilled at engaging a whole crowd while introverts are skilled at engaging individuals. Our passions and dispositions reveal our gifts, but we might neglect these gifts out of insecurity. Perhaps we don’t even know our gifts because we’re too focused on our felt weaknesses and differences. First Corinthians 12:12 reminds us how the body of Christ is made up of many different parts that are all necessary for its flourishing. If we all looked the same, the body of Christ would not function as it was supposed to. So your gifts matter to the Church as an introvert.
Instead of feeling like you have nothing to offer, consider the ways God has gifted you and seek out an opportunity to exercise those gifts. Are you a more “behind the scenes” person? Seek out ways to help set up events or organize volunteers for Sunday morning. Do you have a heart for discipleship but don’t like teaching in front of people? Look for ways to disciple students or young women one-on-one in your church.
Push through what scares you
If you’re an introvert, you may have thought, Oh I can’t do that because I’m an introvert. However, there will come a time when you will have to push through your fears to do something out of your comfort zone. You might be asked to do the morning announcements because the person who was supposed to do them is sick. Or you may see a new person across the room, and no one is greeting them. In these moments, don’t use your introversion as an excuse to say no or rely on someone else. It is important to embrace how God has wired and gifted you but also recognize when God is asking you to do something that challenges you and requires you to have courage. While these moments can feel scary, when God leads us out of our comfort zones, it is there that we often see God work in us the greatest.
Pray for God to help you
No matter if you are doing something that you enjoy or pushes you out of your comfort zone, you need God’s help. We are dependent on God for everything, and we need to rely on Him to do what He has called us to do. Often, we can sink deeper into insecurity or feel hopeless about our gifts because we aren’t coming to God in prayer, asking Him to help us embrace how He made us. So pray for God to show you the ways He has uniquely crafted and gifted you. Ask Him to open your eyes to opportunities within your church to serve. And before doing something that scares you, take a deep breath and say a prayer to the Lord, asking for His help. As you rely on God and His strength, you will witness Him work through the way He made you for His glory and the flourishing of His Church.
Additional Resources on getting involved in the local church
Finding Your Place to Serve in the Local Church