I have a confession to make: I am an introvert. Whenever I take a personality test, I usually fall just below the line on the “I” side. I always saw it as the equivalent of living on the other side of the tracks from the fun, rich neighborhood. I could see and hear them, but I could never partake. The “E” people were the one’s living the good life. They woke up thinking about how they could talk to as many people as possible that day. I woke up thinking about how I could possibly avoid all of the “E” types.
What I began to discover when I studied group life is that our system was inherently designed for extroverts. It’s kind of like finding a guitar to play if you’re left handed. You either turn it over like Jimi Hendrix, or you pay more money and hope that you can find a rare, left handed version. Either way, it was an awkward fit for the I’s.
The breaking point for me was when I watched an introvert run from one of our connection events in tears because it was pure extroverted chaos. I knew that we had to create opportunities where introverts could not only exist in group life, but they could thrive. As I thought about it, I started to recognize a few things:
A lot of introverts would rather choose their group from the website or drop a card in the offering.
They don’t want to tell their life story at the first meeting.
They love when the group starts out at a non-threatening location like a restaurant or a coffee shop. Groups that can meet on the church campus are great.
Midsize groups are a nice entry point option for some.
They want to participate in the discussion, but not until they are comfortable with the people in the group.
Introverts are amazing coaches.
If we truly want everyone in our church to participate in group life, then we have to be intentional about creating environments with the least amount of resistance. I know that we are going to redesign our connection process in the fall to add more opportunities for introverts to be involved.
Now just give me a book and don’t talk to me. 🙂