When you think of someone sharing the Gospel, what kind of person comes to mind? For most of us, we think of someone who is comfortable in a crowd. We may think of someone who doesn’t know a stranger and is chock full of intelligent yet accessible responses to questions about the faith.
The person who may come to mind when we think of an evangelist is someone with an extroverted personality. But if you’re more of an introvert, this image of a missionary can seem a little intimating. Can introverts still evangelize, even with an aversion to big crowds?
Christ didn’t start of the great commission in Matthew 28 by saying, “Therefore, all of you extroverts, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” We’re all called to be missionaries and spread the Gospel – regardless of whether we are extroverts or introverts. Here are five tips to help you spread the good news of Christ if you’re an introvert.
1. Stop wishing you were an extrovert
In 1 Corinthians 12, Saint Paul writes: “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
If everyone spreading the good word of Christ was an extrovert, part of the body of Christ would be missing. Being an introvert is not something to be ashamed of, or a personality trait to wish away. God created you with a unique personality. He has a Kingdom purpose for you – whether you recharge in a room full of people or in a room by yourself. If you’re always wishing you were an extrovert, you’ll miss out on the missionary plan God has for you and your personality.
2. Tap into your love for one-on-one
If your introvert tendencies make you squirm at the thought of having to go to a large event, make it a goal to simply encounter one person there. Every person you encounter in your life has a story. You don’t have to know the name of everyone in the room to evangelize.
Don’t expect to be completely free of the dreaded ‘small talk’ stage of conversation. Although most introverts aren’t big fans of conversations about the weather and how work is going, see these conversations as springboards into deeper conversational waters.
Take time to foster intentional one-on-one discipleship and friendships. Sure, it may start off with some awkward small talk – but don’t be afraid to delve deeper into conversation if the situation presents itself.
3. Don’t be afraid to recharge alone
Sure, it’s the weekend. But that doesn’t mean you have to hit the town. If you’re introverted, recognized that you recharge alone or with smaller groups. That’s perfectly fine. So go ahead – pour yourself something to drink and sit down with the book you’ve been dying to start.
You can’t fill other people up if you are running on empty. Take time to find out how you recharge and don’t feel guilty for needing to be alone sometimes. Whether you’re an introvert with a capital ‘I’ or find yourself somewhere in the middle of the introvert spectrum, know that there isn’t anything wrong with needing some alone time.
4. Lend your ear
Most introverts have an incredible gift of being intentional listeners. Today’s world is filled with noise and distraction, and is in desperate need of good listeners. If you don’t like being the person who steers the conversation, don’t be afraid to be the listener.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them and their story. Take time to listen in conversation and encounter the story of people around you.
5. Pray for others
There are people who dedicated their life to prayer in a cloistered convent or monastery. They don’t encounter hundreds of new people throughout their life, but they are incredible witnesses of evangelization – without ever leaving the four walls of their home!
Pope Francis has said that when we pray for someone who drives us crazy, it is a form of evangelization. Even your prayer life can be a tool for evangelization in today’s world!
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out for spreading the good news of God’s kingdom. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, the message of Christ calls us out of our comfort zone and encourages us to do things that are difficult. The body of Christ – full of introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between – together reveals the complex beauty of God’s love for us. It’s time for all of us to take a step away from comfort and into the great plan that God has for us.