There are two types of personalities: extroverts and introverts. Extroverts are energized when they are with people. They don’t want to stop their activities and go to bed because they get more charged up the more time they spend with people. Introverts are use up energy when they are with people. So they need time alone to recharge, time that might seem like a waste to others.
I am an introvert. I enjoy spending time with a small group of friends but not with crowds. I avoid going to crowded places as much as possible. It’s hard for me to meet new people and carry on casual conversations. For this reason, I decline most invitations to speaking engagements. Even before the House Church seminars held at our church, I frequently ask myself why I am doing this.
Since I tend to avoid crowded places, my attendance record for extra-church activities is not good. I attended my local high school and college alumni meetings only once after I came to Houston. I attend the monthly Baptist pastors’ meetings only once or twice a year. The same holds for Houston Church Associational meetings.
Since I became a Christian, I’ve overcome most of my fear of strangers and crowds through prayer and conscientious effort. My personal life and ministries are not affected by it. But I am still an introvert. It is still hard for me to meet new people and be among crowds. I still avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary.
People don’t understand this about me. Some people misunderstand my behavior as arrogance. Others feel that I don’t want to be friends with them because I consider myself a big shot pastor of a large church.
As a Christian, and particularly as a pastor, it’s not good to hurt other people’s feelings. I should attend alumni, pastoral, and denominational meetings more often if I want to make people feel good. But as our church grows and the house church movement expands I will only get busier and busier and have less and less time to spare. I will try to attend those meetings but I know in my heart that I will be able to attend them even less frequently, not more, than I am now. I’m resigned to the fact that I will continue to be misunderstood and criticized. I just beg for their mercy.
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