Quietly Faithful: Welcoming Introverts to Church

By Stephen R. Clark

by Danielle Dolin

Relocating always brings with it a lot of finding “new” everything. You have to find new doctors, new dentists, new veterinarians, new hair stylists, and on and on. It can be a tedious process. The one new thing that’s always a huge challenge for me is finding a new church.

Stimulation overload

Churches do their best to be welcoming but it can be a mixed bag. While some barely acknowledge newcomers, others go a little overboard. There are people waving at you as you pull into the parking lot. People holding the church door open for you and saying hello all at once. And still more inside waiting to guide you through the greeting gauntlet.

For an introvert, so many interactions before even making it into the sanctuary can be overwhelming. Especially when some of the greeters are exceedingly extroverted. These are the ones who want to hug you, pepper you with questions, while simultaneously greeting their friends coming in, handing you literature about the church, and providing directions to the bathrooms, coffee, and sanctuary, all with an early-morning, over-caffeinated  perkiness.

But wait! There’s more!

Sometimes the greeter at the door tips off the roaming greeters that newbies are here. They spot you, follow you to your seat, and stand hovering over you, with more questions, chatting, and giving information about the church.

We introverts are thinking, “Can we please just lower the lights and focus on the worship now!” But then the music starts, the smoke rolls, and the volume comes on strong. With all the stimulation you struggle to remember why you’re at church to begin with.

Then comes the dreaded meet-and-greet time. This is time when you are expected to look around you, say hello to all nearby, shake their hands, and then, often, step out of your row and continue to greet and be greeted by others for what seems like an eternity.

“Will the madness never stop?” we introverts wonder.

As a newcomer or visitor, these kinds of interactions wear me down. I’m truly glad when it all ends and the sermon starts. I know that now, for several minutes, I don’t have to interact with anyone, can focus on the message, and do a sort of mini-recharge.

A few tips for welcoming introverts

Introverts love being quietly acknowledged when visiting a new church. Here are some tips for doing just that:

  1. Mirror the newcomers. Greeters should pay attention to how people respond when they are greeted and mirror that behavior. If the person is quiet, greet them quietly and let them move on.
  2. Back off and be brief. In the sanctuary, don’t hover. If you want to greet a newbie, take a seat in front of them to chat at their level. Keep the interaction short.
  3. Tone it down. Why is everything always so loud? Does the music really have to be as loud as you have it? Loud music and bright lights can be off-putting for introverts. Soften it down a bit.
  4. Keep it simple. At meet and greet, simply encourage people to greet those around them. Don’t complicate it by telling people to find five other people they don’t know to share a 30 second life story. Allow people to greet one another as they are comfortable doing.

Churches love when new people show up. The tendency is to go all out to acknowledge them and make them feel appreciated. With introverts, less is more. Say hello to us, let us know you’re available if we have questions, then wait for us to come to you later. A quiet greeting will make us feel very warmly welcomed.


Agree? Disagree? Have a question about this column? Email Stephen at cnjintrovert@gmail.com. Share your thoughts about being a Christian introvert!

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.


You may also like

© 2023 Christian News Journal | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Developed by CI Design, LLC