Thursday, May 13, 2010

Introverts in the church - pt. 8

Chapter 7 of Adam McHugh's book, Introverts In the Church, is on "Leading As Ourselves." Some snippets...
  • p. 135 - "Most introverts can relate to the feeling of our tongues sticking to the floors of mouths, our lips straining to move. We have hesitated and stuttered, not out of torpor but out of the need to think before speaking."
  • p. 136 - "We have hoped, along with Moses, that God will excuse us from the harrowing task of leadership because of our fears of failure and rejection, because of our nightmare of ineloquence on a public stage."
  • p. 137 - "Why is it that the thing I love more than anything in the world, being with people, is the very thing that drains me the most?"
  • p. 137 - "...we must distinguish between our energy level for a task and our gifting for that same task. Just because we lose energy doing something does not necessarily indicate we are not a good fit for it."
  • p. 138 - "I have had to conclude that God may call some people into work for which they are not perfectly suited, for his greater glory."
  • p. 138 - "God doesn't promise that leadership will be easy or always natural. God promises that his presence will go with those that he calls, and in his presence is a power that transcends all human abilities."
  • p. 139 - the shift in pronouns from "your people" to "us" in Exodus 34.
  • p. 140 - "compassion fatigue"
  • p. 141 - "Spiritual disciplines are arenas for God's voice to battle with the other voices."
  • p. 144 - "To an introverted leader, the magic word may not be "please," it may be "no."
  • p. 144 - "...my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that interruptions were my work."
  • ***p. 145 - "One of the most unexpected findings of my research was that introverted pastors felt very comfortable preaching, irrespective of congregation size. Many of them actually considered it their biggest strength and favorite part of the job. They found that their natural tendencies toward study, scholarship and writing translated into effective preaching and teaching. My colleague Cynthia said that, for her, preaching is the easiest part of ministry. Some introverted pastors find preaching less challenging than the unstructured nature of the fellowship hour after the service, where the sturdiest Styrofoam cups can't hide their rapidly depleting energy. A member of a 1,500-member congregation remarked that his introverted pastor was "bipolar": energetic and affable in the pulpit, wilting and awkward afterward." [Yes... exactly]
  • p. 146 -- "Festival of Umm"... "...introverts have a slower mechanism for 'word retrieval.'"
  • p. 147 - Eight things to emphasize for introverted preachers...
  • p. 149 - "As an introverted pastor, I feel that I am skilled in the "big" communication events - preaching and teaching, casting vision, leading meetings - but I struggle with "small" communication - small talk, saying the little things that make people feel known and appreciated, expressing interest in the details of people's lives, or even returning phone calls promptly." [yep]
  • p. 149 - "People will watch what we do before they listen to what we say."
  • ***p. 151 - "As Henri Nouwen said, 'Our task is the opposite of distraction. Our task is to help people concentrate on the real but often hidden event of God's active presence in their lives. Hence the question that must guide all organizing activity in a parish is not how to keep people busy but how to keep them from being so busy that they can no longer hear the voice of God who speaks into the silence.'"
  • p. 153 - "Our seminaries subject hopeful pastors to rigorous communication and preaching classes, but I have never seen a class or seminar offered on listening."

2 comments:

Jim said...

"...my whole life I have been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I discovered that interruptions were my work."

Man, that resonates with me, because I may be going through a role change at work that will require that very mindset, and I've been trying to practice it this past week or so and it is hard. But it also has me thinking about that in a wider sense. I mean, in our marriages, our parenting, our relationships with other family and friends, our interactions aren't "interruptions" (or really even "work"), they are the whole point. Yet so often, especially when tired, or frustrated, or feeling like we're not getting anything "done," we treat them as if that's precisely what they are - interruptions.

Enjoying your notes on this book - will probably pick it up some day.

dan horwedel said...

Right you are, my friend. They are "the whole point." And righter still... it is darn hard (for me too).