Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture
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Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture

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Product Description

Have you ever felt out of place as an introvert in an extroverted church culture? With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, Adam McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship, and even evangelize in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts process information, approach relationships, and experience spiritual practices. This expanded edition has been revised throughout and includes new research on the neuroscience of introversion and material for parenting and encouraging introverted youth.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830843914
ISBN-13: 9780830843916

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Publisher's Description

Introverts have gifts for the church and the world. But many churches tend to be extroverted places where introverts are marginalized. Some Christians end up feeling like it's not as faithful to be an introvert. Adam McHugh shows how introverts can live and minister in ways consistent with their personalities. He explains how introverts and extroverts process information and approach relationships differently and how introverts can practice Christian spirituality in ways that fit who they are. With practical illustrations from church and parachurch contexts, McHugh offers ways for introverts to serve, lead, worship, and even evangelize effectively. Introverts in the Church is essential reading for any introvert who has ever felt out of place, as well as for church leaders who want to make their churches more welcoming to introverts. This expanded edition has been revised throughout and includes new research on the neuroscience of introversion and material for parenting and encouraging introverted youth. Discover God's call and empowerment to thrive as an introvert, for the sake of the church and kingdom.

Author Bio

Adam S. McHugh (ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary) is an ordained Presbyterian minister and spiritual director, and a regular contributor to Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution website. He has served at two Presbyterian churches, as a hospice chaplain and as campus staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He is the author of , which won the 2017  Book Award for spiritual formation, and , and lives on the central coast of California. Scot McKnight (Ph.D., University of Nottingham) is professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois. He is the author of and commentaries on James, Galatians and 1 Peter, and coeditor of the award-winning . He is also a widely recognized blogger at the Jesus Creed blog. His other interests include golfing, gardening and traveling.

Editorial Reviews

"For the longest time, I've considered my wiring as an introvert a thorn in my side. After spending time engaging with others, I felt so empty and overwhelmed . . . and lonely. With my calling as an author and pastor requiring me to publicly speak and consult, I wondered if I misunderstood my place in this world. In Introverts in the Church, Adam brings a voice to those of us who often trade ours in for a little bit of respite. This is not only a needed resource for introverts; all leaders need to read Introverts in the Church for a better understanding of how introverts can lead, how they follow and how they refresh."
"This is a timely and badly needed book which will encourage thousands of Christians who have felt they don't quite fit in. This book gave me hope that it was okay to doubt and be uncomfortable in some settings and group styles."
A mixture of biblically grounded psychology, examples from Scripture, personal anecdotes, and practical advice on how to reach out to introverts as well as what to do if you're the Introvert in ministry. His goal is to show that introverts and extroverts alike have a place in the church despite how they handle relationships and process information.
"At last a book for and about introverts in ministry, and a wonderful book it is! McHugh unpacks the challenges and characteristics of the introvert leader in a ministry world designed for extroverts. He offers practical guidance for developing as a leader, evangelizing, joining a community, preaching and becoming spiritually mature in Christ. The book not only helps introverts, but it can serve as a great resource for extroverts who lead, coach, mentor or relate to introverts."
"This is a book that all leaders in the church should read! It made me realize that I owe an apology to all the introverts whose insights and contributions I have not understood or have overlooked. McHugh's perceptions are crucial for churches in our extremely extroverted society--we are missing some of God's best treasures for Christ's body. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wishes more thoroughly to understand the Holy Spirit's creation of a diversity of personalities and gifts."
"What a timely and badly needed book! Introverts in the Church will encourage thousands of Christians who have felt as if they don't quite fit. It will help them find their rightful place in Christian community, so that their gifts might be well used in the work of the kingdom. This book will also help churches to be a place where all people can flourish as disciples of Jesus. Adam McHugh has given us a precious gift through his openness, theological soundness and godly wisdom."
"Adam is addressing a huge number of folks in the church. Read it and heal."
"What Adam McHugh's Introverts in the Church did for me the first time was unmask the extroversion-shaped churches that we have and open up possibilities for how an introversion-sensitive church might conduct its business. . . . The reason our church is sensitive to introverts is because our leaders have absorbed the insights of Adam's Introverts in the Church and become one of those places of grace for introverts and extroverts."
" Introverts in the Church changed my life when I first read the book seven years ago. Adam's voice on the topic of introverts resonated with so many people like me, who found themselves as introverts functioning in extroverted positions and living in an extroverted culture. In many ways, through this book I was given permission to be myself, and I have continued this work with my clients each week in my private practice. I regularly recommend this book to both introverts and extroverts."
" Introverts in the Church is thoughtful, validating, and charming. It's the book for all churchgoers who have ever wanted to disappear into their seats when the pastor said, 'Turn and introduce yourself to three strangers.' Adam teaches an important lesson: spirituality should not be measured by sociability. The introvert who quietly reflects on her faith is as true a believer as the extrovert who preaches exuberantly to others."
"God must love the introverts, because he made so many of us. In this wonderful new edition of Introverts in the Church, Adam McHugh helps us see that there is a place for us in communities of faith. His wise observations are rooted in experience and deep study, and his advice is both practical and profound. So let us make a joyful quiet unto the Lord!"
Any introverted Christian who ever has felt misunderstood because of his or her personality type likely will find this book a revelatory, mission-affirming reading experience.
McHugh challenges churches to recognize that the significant numbers of introverts in their bodies have been gifted to serve in unique ways and to encourage them and open up avenues for service.
Full-time and lay ministers within churches will enjoy reading this book to understand better the struggles and strengths introverts can bring to church ministry. Highly recommended.
With clarity, logic, practical examples, and scripture Introverts in the Church offers ways for more reticent types to effectively serve, lead, worship, and share their faith with some helpful advice to the terminally introverted on how to be more involved in the world outside themselves. Introverts offers hope and reveals how more restrained people can approach relationships differently and practice spirituality in ways that fit who they are.
"As an author and consultant, I have seen firsthand the struggles that introverts face in a society built for extroverts. But I have also seen how powerful introverts can be once they embrace the gifts of a quiet and thoughtful temperament. In this deeply felt and beautifully reasoned guide for introverts in the church, pastor Adam McHugh shows the way for introverted Christians to find peace within themselves and their community."
"As an introvert who has experienced both the strengths and weaknesses of my temperament, I appreciate the way McHugh goes well beyond the facile stereotypes and conclusions of armchair psychologists. If you've ever felt vaguely sinful for not being a gregarious Christian I suggest you spend some quality time alone with a copy of Introverts in the Church."
"As a fellow introvert, I well know the tension, irony and even contradiction of being in vocational ministry where public speaking and being with people are major and vital parts of our roles. This book puts together extremely helpful thinking to better understand who we are and how to navigate and celebrate being introverted and in leadership in an extroverted world."
"Introverts, take heart! As an introvert myself--an off-the-chart 'I' on the Myers-Briggs--I find certain aspects of church life, like speaking to other human beings every Sunday, really taxing. McHugh thoughtfully explores the gifts introverts bring to the church, and he considers both how introverts can live well in the church and how churches can be more hospitable to us."

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  1. Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Guide for Living Well as an Introvert of Faith
    January 11, 2018
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Little Rock, Arkansas was the Sunday stop on the last leg of our cross-country trip. I dont recall the denomination of the church we visited, but I sure remember its personality: the two-handed handshakes, the over-the-top meet-n-greet . . . and the dear woman who sat next to me and kept touching my arm whenever the pastor made a good point. That church leaned hard toward an extroverted culture. For this introvert with the plexiglass space bubble, I honestly couldnt get out of that building fast enough. While that church is certainly not typical by any means (thank heavens!), it demonstrates with broad brush strokes the extroverted culture that prevails in the church.

    Adam S. McHugh looks at the church through the lens of an introvert. He encourages introverted believers to celebrate their temperament and, rather than being defined by what they are NOT (outgoing, people-loving, gregarious, etc.) to lean into the strengths and gifts that come with their personality. Rather than equating spirituality with sociability and portraying evangelism as a back-slapping presentation of The Four Spiritual Laws, Introverts in the Church argues for a biblical vision of worship that puts God on display through relationships that encourage both introverts and extroverts to go deep into their inner worlds while at the same time moving outward in sacrificial love.

    Explaining the Introverted Brain

    Research shows that introverts and extroverts function differently because they process life differently. Introverts derive their energy from solitude while extroverts are energized by interaction and external stimuli. In addition, introverts filter that external stimuli through a finer grid, becoming overwhelmed more quickly than extroverts do with their more flexibly filtering brains. Introverts tend to prefer depth over breadth in relationships, in their interests, and in self-examination. Scientifically and theologically, it would not be an exaggeration to say that our Creator knit each one of us together as either an introvert or an extrovert.

    Solitude vs. Isolation

    While introverts have a reputation for being selfish and isolated, all believers who are operating in health will instead practice solitude which McHugh defines as going deep into ourselves in order to become more self-aware and more compassionate. In a culture that thrives on over-stimulation, all temperament types need to formulate healthy practices of retreat, times of pulling away from the noise in order to re-enter with perspective and godly wisdom.

    Level-5 Leaders

    The Level-5 Leaders described in Jim Collinss book Good to Great are not the classic charismatic leaders we associate with success. Their humility, diligence, and willingness to build into the lives of others explain Gods choice of leaders throughout biblical history: the second-borns and the slow-of-speech; the shepherd boys; and the uneducated fishermen. It turns out that leaders in the real world are about equally divided between introverts and extroverts.

    Thriving as an Introvert of Faith

    It is possible for a believing introvert to find a place of fulfillment and influence within the church. This is NOT accomplished by learning and parroting extrovert-ish behaviors, but rather by operating as teachers, leaders, and involved neighbors out of introverted strengths.

    I was rather hoping for an introvert exemption on the matter of evangelism, but what I got from Introverts in the Church was far better. I was assured that there is an approach to evangelism that does not put me in the role of an answer dispensing content dumper. Introverted evangelists are fellow seekers who share with authenticity how Gods love has reached the dark parts of [their] lives. McHugh sees himself as one who shares glimpses of God by responding to the ways in which God is already at work in people around him. A narrow-focus of relationship building, open-ended questions, and non-defensive dialogue open the door for both introverted seekers and introverted evangelists.

    Finally, as believers we are called to embrace discomfort for the cause of Christ and for the enlargement of our worship. Both introverts and extroverts will grow stagnant if never challenged. The inward and outward movement of breathing provides a helpful picture of the way a living thing survives and thrives. Believers of all temperaments need the depth and richness that come with solitude alongside the self-giving poured out life that accompanies community. God has created a diversity of personalities and gifts within the church, and this is a treasure we are only beginning to understand.

    This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of Intervarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
  2. Jimmy Reagan
    Leesville, SC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent!
    August 1, 2017
    Jimmy Reagan
    Leesville, SC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What a wonderful book! As an introvert myself, Im thrilled to report that introvert Adam McHugh has looked into who we are and explained it perfectly. Only a true introvert could have explained the feelings and perceptions of an introvert with such accuracy. Not only does this book contain what introverts have been waiting a long time to hear, but its also a perfect primer for extroverts to understand all of us introverts that they have always been clueless about. As the title suggests, McHugh brings this important discussion into churches. He seeks to guide introverts in finding our place in an extroverted culture.

    I was hooked by the preface. When he explained that we would have to dig in this subject to the point that it might appear that he was feeding the impression that we are misanthropic weirdos, I knew I wanted to hear what he had to say.

    He makes a case in the introduction that introverts can thrive in the church. As he will do throughout the entire book, that does not mean that we introverts must deny who we are or act like something we are not. He makes a clear case that local churches today are all geared toward the extroverts. He explains how our culture values extroversion over introversion, though without compelling proof that it should be so. As we said before, he explained so beautifully what life inside an introverts head is really like. He clarified how we feel at some social gatherings or settings. He encourages us to quit feeling like we are weird or of less value, and to seek healing from the bad misconceptions that we have lived with.

    He explained what introverted spirituality is, and though its easily distinguished from the extroverted type, it still has great depth. He explained how we are in community and relationships. We dont live without community or relationships, but we are different.

    Finally the book turns to the subject of leadership and introverts. There is an unsubstantiated belief that only extroverts make good leaders. Fact and history both prove this to be untrue. Some extroverts succeed by being charismatic, dominant, gregarious, or even a superstar, and can even operate a cult of personality. In some cases, the company doesnt glean anything from the tightness of the followers of these extroverted leaders. In other words, its only been about them. He gives wonderful thoughts about how we might lead without yielding the essence of who we are as introverts. He is very practical in how we might be a better leader, as well as thoughts about a subject that most all introverts find difficult: evangelism. He concludes with encouraging us to make sure introverts have a place in our churches.

    This book spoke to me. Im convinced that every Christian introvert ought to read it. Further, it would be quite wonderful if we could talk a few extroverts into reading it with us.

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
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