In the Church
McHugh suggested several church roles for introverts. The first is intercession. Referring to the long tradition of monks withdrawing into solitude to live a life of prayer for others, introverts are well suited for intercession because of they feel energized by solitude with God. In addition, their deep-thinking motivates their prayers for others and their intimacy with God as they know him more deeply through contemplation.
Introverts must not seek only their solitude, however. They must reach out to their church community. McHugh writes,
“The other movement is toward others, toward community. We are not ultimately called to a life of self-fulfillment and comfort but to a life of love…. Sometimes we will use our words and other times we will model prayerful silence, reflective rest and compassionate listening” (204).
McHugh suggests a pattern of inward and outward movements will help introverts feel a necessary part of the church.
“An introvert evangelist? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” (170) McHugh heard this in one of his interviews while preparing for writing the book. Indeed the picture of evangelical evangelism fails to attract introverts to participate. In this area, introverts must learn to use their strengths to preach the gospel. One suggestion is to use introverts’ listening skill. While most methods of evangelism require confrontation and presentation, drawing a person out with questions plays to an introvert’s strength. Further, as one listens to a person, deeper issues may be found which an introvert will not overlook.
McHugh does not excuse introverts from evangelism even from the more aggressive methods. But he does reshape the way people think about evangelism and how it should be accomplished.
These highlights only scratch the surface of Introverts in the Church. McHugh also addresses introverted leadership and presents ways churches can include more activities that make introverts comfortable and accepted in the church. Pastors, small group leaders, and especially introverts will benefit from this read.
McHugh runs a blog site for the book which also displays his other recent publications. The conversation about introverts continues there.