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  • Hannah Williamson

Introverts in the Church - Book review

I read this book about 10 years ago. At that point I was in my 20's, leading a youth group in East London as a single woman and feeling very much different to my peers around me. Every Youth Pastor gathering I went to was filled with extroverted, loud, married men to be blunt. I knew I was very different in multiple ways but one of them being that I was just not an extrovert. I found large gatherings exhausting and if I had to meet new people that wiped me out! The irony now, is that I am still very much an introvert but most of my role involves me being in large groups of people or meeting lots of new people. Learning what being an introvert meant (which doesn't just mean being quiet and shy) helped me to understand myself and how I best worked. It helped me to understand what energises me so that I could balance my time better rather than being exhausted a lot of the time! A mentor gave me this book and at that stage in my life it was so very helpful. A few things I learnt about being an introverted leader.....

I need time alone to refresh so must build this into my schedule. If I go from one meeting to the other without a break you won't get the best of me!
I need time to think things through so giving answers straight away to problems means you probably won't get the best answer. I might need to go away and spend time thinking before coming back with a solution.
I like to network, but I just have to make sure I have enough time to recoup from time with others!
Shyness is not what it means to be an introvert. Any shyness I had was more to do with insecurities and was something I could work on.
Sometimes extroverts need to be asked to stop speaking, but likewise introverts need to be asked to speak up!

Here are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me....

Introverts are energised by solitude. We are recharged from the inside out, from the forces of our internal world of ideas and feelings....we generally fill our energy tanks in private or in the presence of one or two close friend...long periods without quiet refuelling leave introverts feeling physically exhausted and emotionally hollow.
Introverts often prefer writing to speaking!
I am convinces that calling not personality type is the determinative factor in the formation and longevity of a leader.
For introverts, the most natural setting for sharing the gospel will be one-on-one friendships.

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