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Church is not for me, it’s for extroverts.

Church has been a focal point of my life all my life and I think I have done a pretty good job assimilating to the coventions of the church experience. The Black church especially is lively and expressive. The Pentecostal church is lively and expressive times a crackhead. I love it and I don’t plan on leaving because it’s honestly fun to me until the word fellowship gets thrown around and the answer is simply, no.

I’m an introvert and I have been all my life. I like to be alone and I am rarely ever lonely. There is a strong misconception that introverts are not people persons. I’m a people person to my core but I like to choose and set clear boundaries on when/how I interact. For example, I have worked in sales most of my adult life and have done very well building rapport with my clients. These interactions are not forced because I chose my profession but it is mostly limited to business hours. Being a people person does not mean you welcome all social interactions. It doesn’t mean you strike up a conversation with everyone you meet, it doesn’t mean you like everyone you meet either. It’s just a genuine interest in others besides yourself and your chosen community. I love people I just don’t want to talk all the time.

The church does a huge disservice for individuals like myself and it’s not intentional; it’s just who we are. The church caters to their extroverted parishoners. Many of our customs and traditions make people that like to keep to themselves uncomfortable but we participate anyways. High five your neighbor, hug your neighbor, pray with your neighbor. These activities send me over the edge but since I love my church, I do it. And since I love God I keep coming. Can you imagine going to church and having to do things that make you uncomfortable every week? Mind you, none of these things are getting me to Heaven. Now it is taught that being friendly with other members and fellowship is good for the believer, I agree. But it’s unintentionally forced or you are deemed withdrawn or unapproachable. Not true, I just want to be at home with my stuff.

Spirits are real and people are draining. After church, I am drained. I enjoyed myself but being around people in that setting sucks the energy out of me and then yall have the nerve to want to go to dinner after? No. I love everyone but I just kicked it with yall for like 3 hours. I appreciate a more intimate setting to get to know someone and I can only take social settings in doses. A group of 2 or 3 fine with me and in large groups I usually like to sit back and observe. Not everyone shares similar experiences when it comes to church but I do know that several people have told me that they don’t go specifically because they don’t want to “put on” to fit in.  Weak excuse but I do understand. I get the tropes that are a part of the church experience but the problem is that the pulpit weaponizes our lack of expression to gain involvment for their own reassurance. It’s not about God, me giving my neighbor a high-five is about YOU and your preaching style. Which once again, church caters to the extrovert so I understand.

Most introverts are oberservant because we like to be aware of our surroundings. Introverts are more emotionally intelligent because we listen more than we are speaking. I see more and hear more and I feel like these attributes are valuable for any church. It wasn’t until this year that God revealed to me the how/what he has for me to do. I first questioned how will I be received? I’m not exactly the loudest person in the room and I don’t feel like I gather much influence. My second concern was how ministry would look like for a neurodivergent person. My questions were immediately answered. I heard the Lord clearly say to me, “haven’t I always sent them to you”? I made you the way you are for a reason. It’s true, anytime I have Evangelized it was a person coming to me and just spewing their life story to me. Since that is the case, it is my responsibility to be aware of my assignment at all times and not to fumble my interactions with people. All the random conversations I had about Christ with a complete stranger was Him sending them my way because if I don’t get excited talking about anything else, I get happy to talk about my church and Jesus. The Lord reaffirmed me and I didn’t feel so weird after that so if I say not to an event it’s because I learned I can say no and still be saved. However, that does not mean I won’t have to do things that make me uncomfortable. Growing in Christ is going to include lack of comfort sometimes.

My peer introverts that may feel the way I do. I encourage you to pray and ask God how you can serve in your church exactly how you are. Everyone is different and there is nothing wrong with being an introverted person. There are so many people that fall under that category for a reason and we all have something valuable to add to the body of Christ.

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