Monday, February 10, 2014

Can Introverts Change the World? Part One

One of the key moments in this journey toward planting City Campus Church was the question of whether an introvert could lead an effective church planting endeavor.

I'm not life-of-the-party guy. I'm not never-met-a-stranger guy. Relationships are work for me. And they tend to take energy from me rather than feed energy to me (that is the best way to understand the different between introverts and extroverts.)

There were enough questions being asked about it that I began to wonder myself. How can a guy who doesn't have a particularly dynamic personality, an over the top charisma or an outgoing personality enter into a city he's never lived in and start a church?

Along the way, I've met a ton of church planters and it seems like many of them are extroverts who just ooze winsomeness.

It looked like the process of planting C3 was stalled. Shaina and I had received green light after green light in the process, confirming the calling and our gifting/wiring together. But now there were roadblocks.

I had breakfast with a key leader in the church planting movement I am a part of and he gave me one of the defining lines in this journey of church planting. He said that their latest research is showing that introverts will not grow as fast in 2 years as the dynamic "flash-in-the-pan" extroverts. But over 10 years the trends suggest the steady resolve of the introvert will lead toward a larger church than the extrovert. Now this is a generalization...Obviously not all extroverts succeed at fast growth and not all introverts will have steady, incremental growth, but those words were life giving to me.

So here are three ways Introverts can be catalysts for changing the world.

1. Press into the calling.

There have been a number of moments that have led me to wonder if it was God's clear leading toward Columbus or indigestion from some bad pizza or something. Each time, He causes me to remember where I've been. The lessons we have learned about ministry. The hopes we have for God's bride. The burden we carry for the 20 and 30 something generation. The ridiculous confirmations of the call from other people. The provision of the call by God's people supporting us with $150,000 over three years.

Those who have a substantial amount of ammo in their gun in regards to clear calling are those who will push through with resolve when the going gets tough.

2. Don't Compromise the vision.

I would rather see the nice people who don't get the vision leave than try to persuade them to stay even though the marriage will be toxic. In fact one of my jobs is to talk people out of being part of C3 and I have done that a few times. I am able to point them to great churches in Columbus who have more in common with what they want in a church home and it becomes a win win...I'm helping people get "in the game" and I'm not compromising on who we are or where we are going. This is easy for those just checking it out. It is a little more challenging when it is someone who has journeyed with you for awhile and is invested but just not clicking.

3. Margins

Shaina and I just came off a stretch where we had about 80 people come through our doors through a 5 night stretch. The irritability level for me was through the roof. Even family time seems taxing at this point. And that is because I have had so many energy withdrawals in a week's time that I am outside my margins.

So the solution? Take a day a a video a book.

Your family needs you to have the recuperating me time that brings your energy levels back up.

Your church needs you to have the recuperating me time that brings your energy levels back up.

I'm called. I know who we are supposed to be. And I'm working on rhythms that don't make me unbearable to be around.

The extroverts bring the hype and the energy.

But sometimes the introvert brings the steady substance that changes the world.

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