FAQs: Disciple Making for the Introvert

Note from the editor:  Share your experiences and questions related to disciple-making in the comments portion below or on Facebook. As you share your stories with us and others, we’ll address your most common questions.

Megaphone

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I’m discipling four guys and it has been an awesome experience. One of the four I’m using the Multiply book as a sort of curriculum for the process and its nice to see how he is growing in the Lord through this ministry. Some hurdles for me are the fact that I am more introverted than extroverted so I enjoy being alone so that makes it hard to do life with people.”                            – E.B.M.

 “I’m an introvert as well but need God’s grace to help spread his message to all people groups of the world.”   – Ray L.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and under-qualified when we hear preachers telling us to make disciples of all nations. “Be bold to speak the name of Jesus,” they say. “Tell your neighbors and co-workers about God’s grace. This good news needs to be shared!”

When you’re tempted to shut down or disregard what preachers and teachers are telling you because you feel this way, remember – you are not David Platt, and you are not Francis Chan. You are not even your extroverted friend who is always talking to strangers. And that’s a good thing. By God’s design, you are an introvert.

So what does the Great Commission look like for all the introverts in the room?

First, know that just because introverts may have the natural tendency to internalize their thoughts, isolate themselves a little bit, or initiate few conversations, they are not excused from the mission at hand. All Christians are to be making disciples, so introverts must be prepared to face some of the challenges that may come along with that, especially given their personality.

But that doesn’t mean they need a new personality, or even that their personality is inferior to extroverted personalities for the purpose of making disciples.

And that’s where this second word of encouragement comes in. Introverts should do what they do. No, not cowering in the corner. But they should make disciples according to their gifts and abilities.

For instance, many people who talk little are excellent listeners. In fact, James 1:19 may suggest (rather strongly) that we are not only to cherish the art of speaking less to listen more, but actively seek it. So if words isn’t your thing, don’t feel pressured to talk a lot. While at some point this is required, sharing the gospel needn’t be eloquent or long. Prayerfully and intentionally be on the look out for where God is already moving, and then join in with Him. God is faithful, and the beauty of coupling little talking with much listening is that when you do speak up, you’ll probably know just what He wants you to say, exactly when and how He wants you to say it.

And if solitude is something you like a lot of, take advantage of that alone time to study God’s Word and pray for others, all the while asking God for the courage, guidance, and desire to share life with people as you ought. This will make your interactions with people more meaningful.

Third, while introverts may have different obstacles than extroverts, every personality type has hang-ups when it comes to disciple making… even that guy wearing the “Free Hugs” shirt at summer camp. Though he may be totally comfortable with a lot of attention and interaction with strangers, he has the potential for major aversions to sharing the gospel with people. Whether it is fear of rejection or awkwardness, temptation to pride, feelings of inadequacy, or something else, his extroversion is not always the answer. In some cases, for difficulties such as poor listening, his natural tendency toward chitter chatter can even be tied to the problem.

So, introvert, don’t despair! The grace of God is so strong that even the challenges you face in sharing about it can be overcome. More than that, the difficulties you have can actually serve your cause. Remember 2 Corinthians 12:9-10? In your weakness He is strong! So if you are weak in areas such as conversation-starting, social interaction, or close relational living, why not let your weakness display God’s strength? You’re trying to point to Him anyway.

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6 comments
  1. Landon Tilley said:

    Love it. Thank you. Here’s my question: who on earth is writing these blogs? I ask because it seems important to know what kind of credibility this writer has. Or is it several different writers? The blogs are great; just who the heck is talking?

  2. Sean said:

    As an introverted pastor, I have come to realize that evangelism is best done as a team. I try to pair myself with an extrovert who can make the introductions and keep the conversations going. I will use my introverted strengths to ask penetrating questions, make deep emotional connections, or offer thoughtful responses that my extroverted friends would never think of. We are two parts of a whole that can have a great impact for the kingdom of God.

  3. Demi said:

    Thank you for this post. I just finished Susan Cain’s book _Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking_. I recommend it for its insights into the traits and strengths of us introverts. For example, introverts tend to favor intimate gatherings with a few people over large groups and parties. So the natural habitat of introverts is conducive to spiritual conversations, study, and deep connections–all important for relational disciple-making. Also, some cultures are put off by American extroversion. Cain writes about this at length. So consider cross-cultural discipleship. You may connect more readily with people from some cultures than your bolder, louder American friends would. Introverts have many strengths that can help us develop a deep, rich relationship with God that naturally overflows into disciple-making in the right contexts.

  4. Reblogged this on Lindsey Was Here and commented:
    I found this blog extremely helpful since this is an issue I have always had. How can I ‘go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ when I am not one of the special few who were given the calling of going into the mission field? How can someone who internalizes the majority of their thoughts create disciples? This blog encouraged me to not be ashamed of my introverted-ness when it comes to spreading Christ’s word and gave me hope that I can indeed fulfill The Great Commission. I am looking forward to finding a way to make disciples by using my own unique abilities.

  5. I started with four ladies. Two of which I thought recently accepted/believed Jesus yet during part 2 it started sounding as if they weren’t sure or didn’t want to follow Christ. We’re into part two and the offensive/uncomfortable feeling is growing stronger. Any advice or input would be greatly appreciated. Should I stop and change to a different material or should I persevere and go forward with grace?

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