We are a family of introverts (except for my son, who is the most quiet extrovert you will ever find).
We attend a church that I love. I love the mission of the church, the outreach. We have programs and ministries to get out and associate with the people, to care for them and nurture them. We have a ministry that does total room makeovers for terminally ill children. We have a ministry that builds ramps and does other service projects for the needy. We bought a strip club and are turning that into a church.
We are not judgemental or stuffy. We talk openly about porn and drug addiction. We have old people and young people. Women who come in dressed “Sunday best” with carefully matching pumps and young men who are pierced and covered in ink.
I love our church.
Our little introverted family sometimes finds the service loud and difficult. I am not sure what to do when a speaker begins to get choked up on stage. Part of me is touched by the depth of their rawness, the other part says “Wait, didn’t you already know what you were going to say before you got up there?”. Our music is very modern and extremely loud (I actually have taken a decibel meter. Our quietest song this past Sunday was the same loudness as a subway train).
We run on faith and emotion and practical study (which I highly applaud. I feel churches often don’t get down to the nuts and bolts of HOW to live our faith in the face of struggles and temptation). I feel out of place and with nothing to share. I have considered offering to open a little study room in the church with soft, holy music, a great deal of books, and intellectual conversation, but I do not think many would find it useful or helpful. In fact, our entire family, save our token extrovert, is having a hard time finding a place to serve in the church. Our skills and abilities just don’t seem to be required in a very ESFJ environment.
But I have also been to quiet, liturgical churches. Piano music, solemn moments, old hymns. Bach and organs and responsive reading and the Doxology. A time to really drink deeply of the higher things of God and to look within one’s own self.
But no fire. No major energy reaching out to the hurting and poor. No “turning a strip club into a church”. No “let’s go love on the local elementary school teachers by serving them breakfast one morning”.
Running on faith and holiness and history.
If I had to choose, I would choose our loud outreach church. As comfortable as a quiet, liturgical church is to this introverted thinker, without works, faith is dead. But it would be nice to have a mix of both fire and water, hymns and 7-11 choruses (7 words repeated 11 times 😉 ), piano and drums, heart and mind, outreach and introspection. Serving the thinker and the feeler, the introvert and the extrovert.
Perhaps a church like that will happen someday. Perhaps not. In the end, our church is active in being the hands of Christ and my desire for quiet moments of liturgy and introspection can (and should anyway) happen on the other days of the week. We are doing good work and that cannot be denied.
(But I am bringing ear plugs next service).