Monday, November 02, 2009

Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh

Now that I've gotten some books off to the printer, I have a little more breathing space to announce books that have just been published. One that I'm excited about is Adam McHugh's Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture. (You can download free PDFs of the introduction and the first chapter.) I'm not an introvert myself, but I'm married to one, and I've found myself becoming somewhat more introverted in my rhythms over the years. Adam's book is a groundbreaking work that validates introverts' identity and temperament and lifts out the value and place of introverts' contributions to Christian life and community.

Adam wrote the book because much of the contemporary evangelical church tends to be extroverted in temperament and style, leaving less place for introverts as well as for practices like contemplation and reflection. So the book is a healthy corrective that highlights how the church needs introverts and extroverts alike to fully be the body God intends it to be. (I've thought for years that every wacky extroverted youth pastor out there needs to partner with introverted youth workers that can connect with the quiet kids who would never open up to the extrovert.) Adam has some fascinating insights into how the introverted mind and temperament work. Neuroscience shows that introverts' brains are wired differently and process information differently. I was particularly interested to learn that introverts tend to need more sleep in order to recover from a full day of interaction.

The book suggests practical ways for introverts to navigate extroverted Christian subcultures and to practice introvert-friendly ways of doing community, spirituality, leadership, evangelism, worship, preaching and more. If you've ever left church early to avoid the coffee fellowship time, this book is for you. If you have ever been frustrated with church culture that seems to equate being more extroverted with being more spiritual, this book is for you. And if you are an extrovert who wants to better understand the introverts in your life or welcome introverts to your church, you must read this book.

It was fun to get some nice endorsements for the book from introverts like Dan Kimball, Don Everts and Lauren Winner, who says, "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."

Adam blogs at IntrovertedChurch.com, and you can become a fan of his book on Facebook here.

3 comments:

Tim Liu said...

This looks like a great read. I'm particularly interested in what he has to say about the notion of building community (or "fellowship") with a church of introverts. Very interesting.

tgrosh4 said...

Theresa and I have begun to dig into Introverts in the Church. Thank-you for working on this project.

takingdictation said...

Not sure if you ever wonder why you blog (sometimes I do!) but on Nov. 2, you blogged for me! I am part of a wonderful community of faith, yet I can't tell you the number of times I hightailed it out of there after the service in introvert fashion. Only I didn't really know I was an introvert or what it all meant (even having taking the MBTI several years ago). Your post has propelled me headlong into learning more about this aspect of my personality, and how to navigate a little better in many situations. I've read 2 other books since then (Introverts in the Church) is on my list). I truly think this post was a godsend, as I was getting ready to leave the corporate circus (mid-November) to launch my own proofreading and editing service, yet the networking aspect totally scared me. So thanks again for a timely post and great review. And keep up the great offerings at IVP!