I am a Myers Briggs Introvert but I regularly Extrovert for Jesus. This means that naps are essential and quiet time between meetings makes me a better leader.
A professional minister has a daily pinball routine whether serving as a parish pastor, a chaplain, or a denominational leader. As a parish pastor one might go from a pastoral call about a brain tumor to a phone call about budget deficit to a phone call to recruit volunteers to a lunch meeting about a mission trip to preparing for Bible study to a phone call about church insurance claim to a phone call after surgery to preparing for a funeral to coffee with angry person to an in-person training for Presbytery committee. The next day might look similar but with a slot for sermon preparation or meeting someone at the ER or writing thank-you notes. The shifting gears from one thing to another thing can be exhausting.
For a denominational leader in middle-judicatory ministry the routine can be similar. From staff meeting to phone calls to reference checks to preparation for a Zoom meeting to the actual Zoom meeting to another Zoom meeting to in-person meeting to sermon writing for the church whose pastor is retiring.
Hello 9 PM Bedtime.
But here’s a little secret about this particular Introvert: I can extrovert for Jesus all day long when I see the activity’s impact on expanding the reign of God. Here’s a day that is not in any way exhausting:
Phone call with a pastor who has A Great Idea to pitch. Morning staff meeting as we mention the impactful things happening in our Presbytery. Coffee with a candidate for ordination who has a gleam in her eye. Checking in with two pastors who are finding success in a joint effort to offer an after-school program. Writing a sermon that feels like the Holy Spirit is in the room.
Of course there will always be pastoral care and administrative and other responsibilities, and done through the lens of transformation makes even the most ordinary responsibility feel life-changing. If God is with us in each moment, there are opportunities for shifting the culture to look more like heaven.
According to this article, 75% of Google’s senior leaders are introverts. This article offers excellent points too. It occurs to me that deep relationships often happen best during one-on-one conversations. Extrovert or not, successful pastors love their congregations and – if very, very fortunate – like their congregations.
And what’s especially fun about serving The Church while being an introvert is when we see the Holy at work. Sometimes it makes us so excited that we appear to be extroverts.
Image source. (Although I believe introverts can make good pastors if we are willing to practice extroverting for Jesus.)
After 20 years of ministry, I have been able to do this. People are surprised when I tell them I am an introvert.