I think the word “evangelize” freaks out most of us introverts. We’re not normally your door-to-door type people – in fact, we might even avoid answering the door when someone comes to our own house. We’re more likely to screen your phone calls, and it’s highly unlikely that we want to pick up the phone to order a pizza, much less call someone to invite them to a church function. Don’t misunderstand us though, we love people! We just have very cozy comfort zones that we have an incredibly difficult time leaving. We like being at home or with a small number of people at a time. We like to know well in advance if we’re required to be anywhere so we can mentally prepare not only to leave the house, but to be social with a larger number of people. It’s not that we don’t want to be around people, it’s just that it takes more energy for us to do it.
What does this have to do with sharing the Gospel? Talking to a person we don’t know can be really scary. It’s even scarier if we’re trying to tell that person about something as personal as our faith. We don’t want to be rejected, or made to feel silly, or look like we don’t know what we’re talking about. The problem for us is that we’d rather leave witnessing to the extroverts – the people who thrive on contact with lots of people and being the center of attention. The bigger problem for us is that Jesus didn’t give the Great Commission (you know, “Go and make disciples”) only to the extroverts among us. So what’s an introvert to do?
1. Crack your shell. Yes, I know you’re introverted. Make it easier and take a good friend or your spouse with you to go meet someone for ice cream or coffee (I like having my husband with me as a buffer if the conversation drags). We don’t have to reach the masses, just one person at a time. It’s easier to pour into one person, get to know them and build trust to a point where you can talk to them about Jesus and faith.
2. Get social through media. People are usually much braver online than they are in person. Whatever social media outlets you use, try using them to share your faith. Share a Bible verse and why you like it. Recommend a devotion book or Bible study you loved. Leave a prayer on a friends’ wall or as a comment on a status update. Share stories or articles you find helpful to your faith. As people see you posting about your faith more regularly it might be less awkward to bring up those topics in person.
3. Work your passion. Where does your passion lie? Whatever it is, there’s likely a way to glorify God and point people to Christ through that passion. Grand gestures or small actions – it doesn’t matter as long as you do it to show people God’s love. Introvert Bonus Points if you find others who share your passion and faith and work together to do something for the Kingdom! (Yes, that means put on normal clothes, turn off the TV and leave the house!)
4. Be a Barnabas. Even the most charismatic extrovert needs encouragement sometimes, and introverts tend to be pretty great at building others up. In the book of Acts the name Barnabas means “son of encouragement”, and until Paul and Barnabas parted ways after an argument, Barnabas uplifted Paul while he traveled and preached. If you don’t think you have the right words or enough courage, encourage those who do! Pray for your pastor who preaches every week and visits people regularly. Support your church’s workers, Sundayschool teachers and volunteers who work directly with people. Offer to be an assistant in Sunday school or be part of a prayer chain. Be the one who donates supplies or gives toward a mission.
5. Walk the walk when it’s hard to talk the talk. The famous words are an introverts’ dream, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” If you listen real close you can hear a collective sigh of relief from the introvert camp – sometimes we do things in large groups. I remember hearing this quote and thinking it was amazing – I can share Jesus with the world without ever having to talk to anyone! Well, not quite. I think the spirit of this quote is that we remember that people are watching our actions, and that might be all they ever know of us. You may not strike up a conversation in the store isle with that woman, but she sees how you’re dealing with your kid. You may not ever be friends with the boy in the drive-thru, but you might be able to lift his spirit with your positive attitude after a long wait in line. You may never meet that friend-of-a-friend on Facebook, but maybe they saw your pictures from a service event or church activity. Introverts have to be careful with this, though! Part of sharing God’s love does come through our words. And while our actions will show our faith, our words speak loudly too.
What other ideas are out there for ways introverts can reach out with the Gospel? I’d love to hear them! Please comment below and let’s start a discussion!