When you think of people who are “great” at evangelism, what type of personality do these people typically have? My guess is most of us think of very outgoing, extroverted type people who have no problem talking to anyone. Of course, an extroverted personality lends itself to sharing the gospel openly with lots of people.
But what about those of us that are more introverted? Must we work against our personality and force ourselves to be outgoing in order to evangelize? And if we don’t force ourselves in this way, does it mean we are just being fearful (sinful?) in failing to share our faith?
Seth McBee has an interesting blog post titled “The Introverted Evangelist”, where he discusses how one does not need to be extroverted in order to be an effective evangelist. He wisely points out that “not everyone fits this extrovert [evangelist] mold, yet people think this is how all followers of Jesus must be and live. We must stop calling everyone to be an extrovert evangelist and allow people, specifically introverts, to live out the identity of evangelist and missionary in the way God has made them.”
Being someone who is on the more introverted side of the personality spectrum, I found McBee’s words helpful, as I often find myself struggling to be someone I am not when it comes to evangelism. This has led me to feeling guilty, at times, and sometimes even hating that I can tend to be so “shy.”
But the reality is, God has made both the extrovert and the introvert, and he has designed both personalities to be a part of his kingdom mission. This being the case, McBee notes that when it comes to evangelism (and even discipleship) the church must be careful to keep in mind:
- Being an introvert and staying an introvert is not a sin. Many put this on others and in return introverts can feel very alienated and burdened to do what others (read extroverts or functional extroverts) are doing.
- Do not try to make an introvert an extrovert. This is not your calling. Your calling is not to make everyone in your church look like you or act like you.
- Having introverts in your church is not the same as having immature believers or wolves in sheep’s clothing.
- Being an introvert does not exclude them from the mission. Do not allow introverts to use their design as a crutch. Instead, shed light into how God is going to use them.
McBee also considers some of the ways extroverts and introverts can work together for the sake of the kingdom by partnering together in evangelism. Some of his suggestions I think are quite good, while some raise questions in my mind.
Overall, this is an interesting article to consider, and I’d love to hear any thoughts, questions, or pushbacks you have.