Quietly Faithful: So, How about Those Mets?

By Stephen R. Clark

by Danielle Dolin

Chit chat. Small talk. Water cooler conversation. Whatever you call it, generally speaking, introverts aren’t fans. We tend to avoid it.

We know it when we hear it. The topic may be sports, the weather, favorite foods, or other miscellany. The conversation that ensues remains shallow, even trivial, and often just plain boring.

But here’s the thing. It’s essential to building relationships. Yes, even introverts need relationships. Especially Christian introverts.

As followers of Christ who are active parts of his body, the Church, because we are introverts is not an excuse to avoid people and relationships. Being in relationship, doing what has been called “body life” in the church, is necessary for spiritual health and maturity.

God doesn’t call us to be loners in the faith

Hebrews 10:25 is the go-to verse that cautions against isolation, especially as a habit. Rather, it is in gathering together that we can find encouragement, fellowship, and strength for living godly lives day in and day out. Being on our own all the time is not healthy.

This means we need to engage in small talk to seed those very necessary holy relationships.

Adam McHugh writes in Introverts in the Church (2nd ed.), “the reality is that small talk is essential for building relationships; in small talk, we establish initial connections with others that we may wish to pursue further.”

It’s in initial chit chat that we learn basics about one another that become building blocks for a deeper relationship. In small talk we can share about ourselves in small bits, establish trust, and work slowly toward spiritual intimacy.

But how to do it? This can be challenging for introverts. Chit chat doesn’t come naturally to us. Since we tend to avoid it and don’t think fast as extroverts do, we can be at a loss for words.

Three tips for chit chat success

Here are three simple tips to help you survive and thrive with small talk:

  1. Ask questions. The quickest way to get the attention off yourself and onto the other person is to ask a couple of questions. Ask about what they do for a living, where they live, where they went to school/college, how long they have been coming to this church, what they like about the church, and so on. Then listen carefully to their answers. What they tell you will hold clues to great follow-on questions you can ask.

Listen carefully as they share. If you have a mutual interest, that is great fodder to keep things rolling.

  1. Share about yourself. Simply echo the questions you’ve asked and share the same information about yourself. Feel free to only share as deeply as you feel comfortable doing. As you get to know the other person better, there will be plenty of opportune times to share more candidly from your heart. It’s okay to skim the surface at the start.
  2. Trust the Spirit. This is our ace as Christians! The Holy Spirit in us connects us. In the Spirit, we find strength to share “against our nature,” to be sensitive as the Spirit prompts us about what to share and ask about, and He will guide us in sharing appropriately.

The bottom line is this. As Christian introverts, we will need to pull back from people and recharge alone. But we are not loners. We are called to be active, participating, giving, and receiving believers within the larger fellowship of believers. Fellowship is not an option, it’s a requirement.

So, how about those Mets?

Agree? Disagree? Love it? Hate it? Have a question about this column? Email Stephen at cnjintrovert@gmail.com. Share your story about being a Christian introvert or let me know a specific topic you’d like to see addressed.

Stephen R. Clark is a writer who lives in Lansdale, PA with his wife, BethAnn, where they are members of 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. 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. The content of this column is copyright © by Stephen R. Clark.

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