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Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture Paperback – November 27, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a timely and badly needed book which will encourage thousands of Christians who have felt they don't quite fit in. This book gave me hope that it was okay to doubt and be uncomfortable in some settings and group styles." (Jan Arkills, The Lamplighter)

A mixture of biblically grounded psychology, examples from Scripture, personal anecdotes, and practical advice on how to reach out to introverts as well as what to do if you're the Introvert in ministry. His goal is to show that introverts and extroverts alike have a place in the church despite how they handle relationships and process information. (Rachel Lonas, Pulpit Helps, December 2009)

Any introverted Christian who ever has felt misunderstood because of his or her personality type likely will find this book a revelatory, mission-affirming reading experience. (Todd Hoover, Youth Worker Journal, January/February 2010)

McHugh challenges churches to recognize that the significant numbers of introverts in their bodies have been gifted to serve in unique ways and to encourage them and open up avenues for service. (Pulpit Helps, November 2009)

Full-time and lay ministers within churches will enjoy reading this book to understand better the struggles and strengths introverts can bring to church ministry. Highly recommended. (Ray Arnett, Library Journal, November 1, 2009)

With clarity, logic, practical examples, and scripture Introverts in the Church offers ways for more reticent types to effectively serve, lead, worship, and share their faith with some helpful advice to the terminally introverted on how to be more involved in the world outside themselves. Introverts offers hope and reveals how more restrained people can approach relationships differently and practice spirituality in ways that fit who they are. (Jim Miller, Jim Miller Book Review, November 25, 2009)

"For the longest time, I've considered my wiring as an introvert a thorn in my side. After spending time engaging with others, I felt so empty and overwhelmed . . . and lonely. With my calling as an author and pastor requiring me to publicly speak and consult, I wondered if I misunderstood my place in this world. In Introverts in the Church, Adam brings a voice to those of us who often trade ours in for a little bit of respite. This is not only a needed resource for introverts; all leaders need to read Introverts in the Church for a better understanding of how introverts can lead, how they follow and how they refresh." (Anne Jackson, pastor, blogger and author of Mad Church Disease: Overcoming the Burnout Epidemic)

"As an author and consultant, I have seen firsthand the struggles that introverts face in a society built for extroverts. But I have also seen how powerful introverts can be once they embrace the gifts of a quiet and thoughtful temperament. In this deeply felt and beautifully reasoned guide for introverts in the church, pastor Adam McHugh shows the way for introverted Christians to find peace within themselves and their community." (Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)

"As an introvert who has experienced both the strengths and weaknesses of my temperament, I appreciate the way McHugh goes well beyond the facile stereotypes and conclusions of armchair psychologists. If you've ever felt vaguely sinful for not being a gregarious Christian I suggest you spend some quality time alone with a copy of Introverts in the Church." (Don Everts, minister of outreach, Bonhomme Presbyterian Church, Chesterfield, Missouri, and author of I Once Was Lost)

"As a fellow introvert, I well know the tension, irony and even contradiction of being in vocational ministry where public speaking and being with people are major and vital parts of our roles. This book puts together extremely helpful thinking to better understand who we are and how to navigate and celebrate being introverted and in leadership in an extroverted world." (Dan Kimball, author of They Like Jesus but Not the Church)

"Introverts, take heart! As an introvert myself--an off-the-chart 'I' on the Myers-Briggs--I find certain aspects of church life, like speaking to other human beings every Sunday, really taxing. McHugh thoughtfully explores the gifts introverts bring to the church, and he considers both how introverts can live well in the church and how churches can be more hospitable to us." (Lauren F. Winner, Duke Divinity School, author of Girl Meets God)

"At last a book for and about introverts in ministry, and a wonderful book it is! McHugh unpacks the challenges and characteristics of the introvert leader in a ministry world designed for extroverts. He offers practical guidance for developing as a leader, evangelizing, joining a community, preaching and becoming spiritually mature in Christ. The book not only helps introverts, but it can serve as a great resource for extroverts who lead, coach, mentor or relate to introverts." (MaryKate Morse, author of Making Room for Leadership, and an introvert)

"This is a book that all leaders in the church should read! It made me realize that I owe an apology to all the introverts whose insights and contributions I have not understood or have overlooked. McHugh's perceptions are crucial for churches in our extremely extroverted society--we are missing some of God's best treasures for Christ's body. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wishes more thoroughly to understand the Holy Spirit's creation of a diversity of personalities and gifts." (Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in spiritual theology, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, and author of My Soul Waits, Keeping the Sabbath Wholly and In the Beginning, GOD)

"What a timely and badly needed book! Introverts in the Church will encourage thousands of Christians who have felt as if they don't quite fit. It will help them find their rightful place in Christian community, so that their gifts might be well used in the work of the kingdom. This book will also help churches to be a place where all people can flourish as disciples of Jesus. Adam McHugh has given us a precious gift through his openness, theological soundness and godly wisdom." (Dr. Mark D. Roberts, senior director and scholar-in-residence, Laity Lodge)

"Adam is addressing a huge number of folks in the church. Read it and heal." (John Ortberg, author, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church)

About the Author

Adam S. McHugh (ThM, Princeton Theological Seminary) is an ordained Presbyterian minister and spiritual director. He has served at two Presbyterian churches, as a hospice chaplain and as campus staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He is the author of Introverts in the Church and lives in Santa Barbara, California.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (November 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830837027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830837021
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Adam S. McHugh is the author of Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister, spiritual director, chaplain, speaker, and retreat leader. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Christian Century, RELEVANT Magazine, Psychology Today, and Leadership Journal, among other publications. He is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and Princeton Theological Seminary. On February 28, 2012 he served as guest chaplain in the U.S. House of Representatives. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Arpin-Ricci on November 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
More than 10 years ago a good friend and fellow missionary scolded me for being a "recluse", for being "selfish with my time" and "too inside" my head. Faced with this kind of harsh critique from a friend and brother in Christ in the past, I would have been crushed, either forcing myself to be "more social" or retreating deeper into solitude. However, neither happened because at that same time in my life I discovered the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which helped me understand my own temperament. Not only did it affirm those things which were not flaws, but God-created characteristics, it helped me develop those traits in healthy ways. This was most true when it came to understanding what it meant to be an introvert. I have since used this tool to help people in spiritual, missional and community formation with great success. (For the curious, I am an INTJ).

That is why I was so thrilled when I saw the IVP was set to publish "Introverts In The Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture" by Adam S. McHugh. I received an advanced copy a weeks days ago and have already consumed. This book is one of the most critically needed works for the Church in our culture. McHugh manages to confront the extroverted bias in church culture without denigrating extroverts while encouraging introverts without letting them off the hook of their own responsibilities. Incredibly practical, deeply pastoral and a significant key for becoming truly missional people, this book is a prophetic message of hopeful correction and direction.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By D. Katagi on November 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've read all the other books about introverts, you still need to read this book if you are involved in a church. McHugh affirms introverts and helps extroverts understand and minister to them. The book is insightful, eye-opening, informative, practical, relevant, affirming, and challenging.

The book was healing for me personally as an introvert, and valuable for me as a leader of introverts. I received an advanced copy so I could preach two sermons to my highly introverted church. McHugh says "for some churches, spirituality is equated with sociability" and I sensed there might be a little bit of impatience with the introverts.

So using this book as my primary resource, one sermon was on "The Body of Christ" and valuing everyone, including introverts. The other was on "How We Grow" and helping introverts see ways that they could be more involved in church life. I got a lot of positive comments from introverts, and the extroverts married to them. One guy thanked me because he could stop feeling guilty about who he was. A lot of people said they could relate to everything I said and didn't know it was normal.

It's now common to hear people in our church say they understand someone's words or actions better because they understand the introvert-extrovert difference. It helped our leadership to change the conversation from "why don't they do anything?" to "how can we help them participate and grow?" I'm planning to also use the book as a class or study because it has discussion questions for each chapter.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Steve K. McCoy on June 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
Few books really change me deeply. Directly. Powerfully. Never to look back. I didn't expect it, but this one had me spinning for days and still eager to consider the implications more and more. I'll be honest. I was in a rut. I still am trying to turn my way out. I need refreshment. I need recharging. I need renewal. And God has used Introverts in the Church by Adam McHugh to show me how I put myself in the rut and how to get out. And that was just after the first 2 chapters.

What is realized is that I've been working hard for years at being more extroverted. After all, the more extroverted I could be the better I could function in ministry. I'd be a better evangelist and preacher and counselor and networker and so on. Imagine the hunger to be in constant interaction with the people around you in pastoral ministry. I romanticized that idea, but struggled to follow through. I have been streaky at best. And the more I felt guilty about it, the more drained I became and harder I worked to be something that didn't *click*. McHugh explained a picture of me in the book that opened my eyes.

McHugh helped explain my introversion in super-helpful recognizable attributes (p 42). I recharge best alone or with close friends or family. I need rest after outside activities and interaction with people. I'm territorial with private & family space and treat my home like a sanctuary. Small talk drives me batty. My brain is bubbling with activity no matter what else is going on around me. And so on. I think while reading this chapter I giggled with delight at the things I learned about myself that I knew but didn't know, if you know what I mean. Ok, I didn't "giggle." I'm a dude, after all. But I grinned big and in a giggle-y way.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Weber on November 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
As an introvert and ebook author (ebooks for introverts) I felt grateful and blessed to receive an advanced copy of Adam McHugh's book. As my mind wrapped around ideas both new and review, I could see God's hand in the creation of and love for the introvert nature touching each page in this thoroughly researched and deep analysis of the introvert personality and gifts. In nine chapters, McHugh shares his thoughtful and sensitive assessment of elevating the introvert to being able to effectively participate at every level in a church, including evangelism. This book is the opportunity for leaders, both spiritual and worldly, to understand the range of talent with which the introvert can serve. McHugh is an ordained Presbyterian minister, a spiritual director and an introvert.

In a detailed and often anecdotal style, he conveys thoughts and feelings, quotations of other ministers that fit the life situations of being more introverted. Imagine being mistakenly and regularly criticized as a recluse or aloof. Then, a clear distinction is made of what is more likely being seen: a true preference of solitude with "permission for solitude from the example of Jesus." That's freedom. Permission changes to a preferred disciplined practice outlined in detail from how to cultivate solitude, how to work in solitude and the rhythms of solitude. Could quietness then be sanctioned? "Privacy is something all introverts require and it has a way of naturally and psychologically restoring our energy levels." Following the contemplation instructions a conclusion: introverts in their own true to self contemplative style know how to listen to their hearts and then with spiritual maturity, can lead others in the spiritual maturity process.
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