17 December 2009

A Brief Review of "Introverts in the Church"

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture is one of the best books I have read all year. The fact that I am an introvert may have something to do with it, perhaps. Or, perhaps not. Adam McHugh does the church and introverts a service with this work by delving into what makes an introvert tick. He first outlines where introversion differs from extroversion and explains how introverts are often not the people they appear to be outwardly. He dispels many of the myths that we have of ourselves and those of the extroverts in our lives. One of the most important facts he brings to light is that healing for the Christian introvert...is never found in aloneness, but is found in relationship to another. Our individualistic culture encourages us to find our identity in defining ourselves apart from others: who we are is how we are different from other people. But for Christians, personal identity is relational. We define ourselves in relationship to Christ: who we are is how we relate to him. The Son, sent by the Father, lives in us through the Holy Spirit, and we can't truly meet ourselves until we meet him.

McHugh then weaves his way through several chapters to explain how introverts are affected and misunderstood in many areas of life. Chapters on community, leading, evangelism and the church delve into how introverts see themselves and how they may respond Biblically while maintaining their uniqueness as introverts. Extroverts would do well to read and apply what McHugh outlines here so that they may better relate to the introverts in their lives.

One warning, there are several pages where the author strays from what I believe to Biblical and normal for us all regardless of our personalities. In the chapter on evangelism he seems to suggest that there are other non-verbal ways to share the gospel that would make the introvert more at ease. I think it is very plain that we must use words to explain the beauty of the gospel. Mere expressions such as an art sculpture will not suffice. Our God is a god of words and we must use them to explain him. Again, in the chapter in the church, McHugh suggests other ways of worshiping besides what Scripture instructs. Nevertheless, don't let these small drawbacks keep you from reading this very instructive and informative book.

I highly recommend this work to you. Whether you are an introvert yourself or an extrovert who may be struggling to understand the introverts around you & in your church, this book is a must read.

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