We don’t read about extroverts enough. That’s probably because they’re doing stuff besides sitting at home and writing blog posts about themselves. It’s too bad, really. We need to be just as mindful of their needs as we are those of introverts.
First and foremost, we need to recognize that the typical preconceptions about extroverts aren’t accurate. They’re not always loud and buoyant. If you walked into a room and diagnosed the extroverts and introverts based on how talkative they were, you’d be surprised at how often you were wrong.
Extroverts aren’t always…
- Better public speakers
- Fearful of solitude
- Bad listeners
At a basic level, an extrovert is someone who is energized by being around others. What separates introverts from extroverts is not behavior so much as where they like to recharge.
With that in mind, here are some things in your church service that might be driving your extroverts nuts.
1. Scripted friendliness
Extroverts draw energy from their interactions with others—but they need real, sincere exchanges. An extrovert trying to live off of “fake” friendliness is like a professional athlete trying to draw the resources their body needs from a diet of Twinkies.
Often, a lot of the engagement we get from others at church can feel really shallow and forced. This isn’t any better for extroverts than it is for introverts.
Church greeting and post-service chatting are important. But it’s important that we find ways to train and model behavior that doesn’t feel pre-scripted. We want people to feel like interacting with them is a special privilege—not a duty or chore. For example, instead of parking someone at the door whose job is simply to shake hands and repeat the same greeting (with whom visitors feel forced to interact), have a few greeters who wander around and greet people more naturally.
2. Too many introspective worship songs
There isn’t any real difference between introverts and extroverts when it comes to introspection or self-awareness. Both personality types are capable of deep contemplative worship. The difference is that it’s draining on the extrovert.
Introverts love a worship service that’s packed with a lot of really peaceful and reflective songs. But if you have too many of those kinds of songs in a row, or worse yet, you draw one out for too long, you’re going to lose your extroverts.
Creating a balanced service means walking a thin line. Your introverts are going to be nourished with quiet thoughtful moments and your extroverts are feeding off the enthusiasm in the room. Sometimes when that enthusiasm begins to wane, extroverts can struggle to keep their focus.
Whether your worship leader is an extrovert or an introvert, some training is required for them not to think that their preference is always the right flavor.
3. Altar calls and private prayer time
You’ve just preached a powerful and rousing sermon, and now you’d like to invite people to respond by coming forward for prayer and reflection. Great! That can be an important time for everyone.
Unfortunately, there often isn’t a real exit strategy. While your worship team is playing the 23rd verse of I Surrender All, you’re waiting for more people to come forward. Meanwhile, the extroverts that responded immediately are trapped up front and have transitioned from inspired to bored.
It can be helpful to give clear instructions for these kinds of moments so people feel they have the freedom to get sit down when they’ve had their moment. If you don’t, you can be inoculating your extroverts against responding next time.
4. Rhetorical questions
When you ask a question that you want answered during a sermon, you’ll find that introverts will often sit there quietly. When you are asking rhetorical questions that are leading to a point you’re making, extroverts are the ones that typically shout out answers. It’s kind of comical.
It’s a familiar scene:
You sit next to a wonderful extrovert in church. When the pastor asks the congregation a rhetorical question, she can’t help but answer. Every. Time. And each time, she mutters to herself in frustration because she knows she wasn’t not supposed to call out the answer. Like many extroverts, she’s interactive and is primed to answer questions when they’re asked.
It’s easy for all speakers to fall into a rut in their delivery. But pay attention to whether you rely on a lot of rhetorical questions in your messages. They can have their place, but if you use them constantly you might be irritating your extroverts (or at least making them feel silly).
With Extroverts, It’s All about Balance
We all tend to view ministry based on what speaks to us. Introverted pastors naturally gravitate to practices they find meaningful, which aren’t always going to speak to their extroverted brothers and sisters.
Ideally, you’ll surround yourself with leaders who can help craft services that can minister to both demographics. This way you’re not accidentally appealing only to people who are just like you!
We’ve compiled some other helpful warnings and advice in a free ebook we’re offering entitled 5 Bad Habits That Kill Church Growth and How to Break Them. Download a copy today and discover how to identify your church’s ideal demographic and how to reach them!