Introverts in the Church

“Introverts in the Church”, Adam S McHugh

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I came across this title in the course of researching on the subject of introversion among Christian pastoral leaders. The author, Adam McHugh, has written a lucid and thorough, though very readable, theological reflection on the subject of being an introvert (in the Jungian / Myers-Briggs sense) in the context of the evangelical church community, whether as a minister / leader or as a general church member.

The reader who values clear, thoughtful exposition of the Bible will be very pleased by the way McHugh has blended personal experience, contemporary cultural awareness, psychological insights and biblical truth. He encourages introverts to takes their place in all parts of the church, as the people they are. Alongside that he likewise makes a compelling case for the evangelical church to value the strengths introverts can bring to pastoral ministry, and to positively embrace them as members of leadership teams, for the good health of the whole church.

This book is timely in a church culture which, in my view, has drifted into a socially imbalanced and biblically deficient obsession with leadership models which are heavily skewed in favour of extroverted personalities. The cultural context McHugh writes from and to is that of the US, where extroversion predominates in church and ministry life to a degree significantly greater than is the case here in Australia, where I am. In that sense some sentiments in the book related to the deep personal struggles of introverts in the church environment, are less applicable here. However the difference is at most slight for this of us in leadership in Australian churches, since US models predominate here also.

All we need now is someone to write the equivalent volume for Aussies …

Leading flick

A number of friends have raved on Twitter, Facebook and blogs about the new movie “The King’s Speech“, describing it as a must see. As a self-confessed film dork who bombs out on every movie-related trivia question, I wondered what the fuss was about. But having just returned from watching it with a family member, I wonder no more. It really is a must see! (And that from one who cinematically is essentially brain-dead.)

Anyone who finds themselves in leadership, feeling totally inadequate and/or wanting to run away, anyone close to such a person, and certainly anyone who in some sense mentors leaders, simply has to see this. The film well and truly “got to” me on all of those levels and more, at the end – not that I wasn’t gripped well before that.

For those who happen to be followers of Jesus, echoes of many human leaders in the Bible itself, and down through Christian history, leap out of many scenes. Open your Bible .. start with Moses .. swing over to Jeremiah, Samuel, Solomon, Peter .. close the Bible, and keep going. This would be a fabulous flick for a nervous leader and their new mentor to watch together.

Oh, and it even kindles a few sparks of Aussie pride (of the good kind) too. Perhaps a timely antidote to ashes melancholy …