I read a great article this week about extroverts and introverts in church. Some of the article focuses on leading a team that includes introverts, but much of the article directly applies to understanding the personality differences between the two. I have found it challenging and insightful to consider how we conduct our ministries and small groups based on our own extrovert or introvert tendencies. Understanding which personality type we have, and how we can better interact with others who are different can dramatically improve the quality of our small group experiences. Here are some of what I thought were the more helpful insights.
Let’s start with trying to define extroversion and introversion with a few examples:
• Extroverts are people who get energized when with other people, introverts get energized when being by themselves. (As one introvert described it: ‘introverts are people who find other people tiring’)
• Introverts usually prefer environments with less stimuli (sounds, visual stimuli, etc), whereas extroverts love being stimulated on multiple levels.
• In general, extroverts are more doers, introverts are usually more thinkers and want to understand things.
• Extroverts are talkers, introverts are usually more thoughtful and less impulsive.
• Extroverts are often restless when alone and tend to constantly seek the company of others, introverts need time alone to recharge and think.
• Extroverts most of the time think out loud, they formulate their opinions and come to conclusions through talks and discussions. Introverts need time to process and think things through. They need solitude and reflection to come to conclusions.
• Introverts often have better concentration than extroverts, who get easily distracted by what’s happening around them.
• One other very interesting difference: extroverts often focus on breadth, introverts on depth. It’s one of the reasons why introverts are often bad at small talk, they just don’t see the point and would rather talk about stuff that matters.
Surprisingly, research has shown that introverts are in the minority, with statistics suggesting 75% of the people are extraverted as to 25% being introverted. The article goes on to suggest some insightful ways to make your gatherings more introvert friendly. Here is a link to the article, I believe it will be a great resource for your group if you have a chance to take a look.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are on how this affects the quality of a person’s Sunday School class experience. Was this information helpful to you in thinking about how to care for those in your group who have a different personality than you?
Important point: we have some teachers that are extroverts and some that are introverts. If you feel energized after Sunday School you are probably an extrovert. If on Saturday evening you begin to feel the pressure of Sunday School coming, and feel exhausted after class, you may be an introvert. Introverts need to give themselves time to recharge after a group experience. Both can be great teachers and leaders, but understanding your own needs will help you get more from your opportunity. Share your thoughts on whether you are an introvert or extrovert, and the effects of this in Sunday School in the comments below, or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dwalker96sc
Thank you for your commitment to the values that make Sunday School W.O.R.K.!