Quietly Faithful: Being a Christian Introvert – Pentecostal Introverting

By Stephen R. Clark

by Danielle Dolin

Pentecostals are exuberant in worship. Introverts prefer quiet. I grew up an introvert in a Pentecostal church. It had its challenges!

How people express their worship to God varies and that’s okay. Generally, style of worship is less of an issue than substance. What I learned in my small Hoosier church was solid and biblically grounded. Still, as I grew older, I realized that expressive Pentecostal worship didn’t fit with how I was made.

Back then there was little information about introverts and extroverts. In a Pentecostal setting, being too quiet can be suspect. To some it meant that you lacked boldness. Being expressive was wrongly equated to holiness.

I was filled with the Spirit, sought faithfully to serve the Lord, spent time in the Bible, and was confident I was born again. I wasn’t perfect but I knew I was on the right path. Still, getting “those” looks from others made me feel self-conscious. It was awkward.

Finally, in the 1980s and 90s articles began to appear explaining the difference between introverts and extroverts. I began to encounter personality assessments such as Myers-Briggs and DISC. Then in 2009, Adam McHugh’s watershed book, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture, appeared. It was freeing to learn about personality distinctions. I could worship quietly and not worry about what others thought.

If you’re an introvert in a Pentecostal or Charismatic setting and feel viewed as not-in-a-good-way peculiar, keep the following in mind:

  1.  It’s okay to be who God made you. In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren writes about personality stating, “[God] created each of us with a unique combination of personality traits. God made introverts and extroverts…. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ temperament …. Your personality will affect how and where you use your spiritual gifts…. [W]hen you are forced to [behave] in a manner that is ‘out of character’ for your temperament, it creates tension and discomfort, and produces less than the best results.’” The temperament God gave you is good!
  2.  Ecstatic behavior isn’t a measure of godliness. When Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18), he wasn’t the one who was loud. For hours, the prophets of Baal shouted and raved. Nothing happened. Finally Elijah prayed simply, “Let it be known that you are God in Israel!” Then the fire fell. Godliness comes from a pure heart, not rowdy behavior.
  3.  Volume isn’t an indication of holiness. When God revealed himself to Elijah, there was wind, an earthquake, and fire (1 Kings 19). God was in none of these. Instead, he came to Elijah as a still small voice. Quiet adoration and silent worship is biblical. In fact, it’s when we’re quiet that we can best hear him speaking to us.

Honoring God with your worship is to do so within the parameters of the personality God gave you. The bottom-line is that it’s perfectly okay to be an introvert and a Pentecostal or Charismatic believer.

Stephen R. Clark is a writer who lives in Lansdale, PA with his wife, BethAnn, where they attend Immanuel Church. His website is www.StephenRayClark.com. He is a member of the Evangelical Press Association and managing editor of the Christian Freelance Writers Network blog (tinyurl.com/cfwriters). He is also a news writer for The Baptist Paper and contributor to the Englewood Review of Books. His writing has appeared in several publications. You can contact Stephen at cnjintrovert@gmail.com. The content of this column is copyright © by Stephen R. Clark.

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