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Growth & Self-Esteem

Introverts and Extroverts in the Religious Community

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In communities, regardless of whether it’s small and intimate or larger and more encompassing, you’ll see individuals who exhibit introverted or extroverted personality traits. It’s rare to find people who display both of these traits, but not completely impossible, as you will learn in this article.

Surely in church gatherings, you have seen examples of these types to varying degrees. Sometimes it’s very easy to tell which category someone falls in, while other times it takes a little detective work. 

For instance, social butterflies love to talk, hug, meet and greet new people who come into the room. These people can be easily identified as extroverts. Those who are more reserved, tend to listen more than dominate the conversation, and stay to themselves in the room are introverts.

In this article, we will examine both of these personality traits in depth. We will look at how people display them while interacting within society. Lastly, we’ll examine whether these traits are positive or negative.

The Psychology of introverts and extroverts

Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung coined the terms “extraversion” and “introversion.” He brought them to the forefront of the psychology community in 1921. 

He explained that extroverts engage with external stimuli and exert their energy outward, such as with other people, places, and situations. On the other hand, introverts prefer to direct their energy inwards.

Jung believed introverts are aware of their psychological needs because their energy is focused inward. Extroverts are more focused on the outside world and everything around them, so their own awareness of their psychological needs isn’t self noticed.

Man writing on the couch alone

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The extrovert

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Growing up, people usually strive to be extroverts, as extroversion is desirable in our culture. Extroverts are usually seen as the center of attention. They enjoy large groups, have higher levels of energy, and enjoy social gatherings.

Extroverts are usually known as “the life of the party” and are easily recognizable. They are seen as friendly, talkative, outgoing, social, and even easily distracted. Unlike introverts, those with this personality trait do not like to be alone and enjoy social activities.

The downside of an extroverted personality type is that sometimes they may seem annoying to others. A common characteristic they tend to share is that they can't stop talking. They can also be seen as overwhelming, especially to an introvert.

In the church community, parishioners who display extrovert traits usually organize events and willingly take leadership roles. 

Volunteers in the church can also be seen as extroverts. A great example would be the people who choose to organize and run fundraisers and extracurricular activities.

The introvert

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The flip side of the coin is introversion. Western culture sees introversion as an undesirable personality trait, and it’s usually related to those who are shy, reserved, and seen as wallflowers. 

Introverts don't mind being distanced from the outside world. Instead, many feel more comfortable in small groups as well as in their homes. This personality type embraces alone time and can often be found doing activities by themselves.

By definition, introversion is displayed by individuals who focus on inner thoughts and ideas, not necessarily what is going on around them at the moment. Instead of being in crowds, participating in social activities, or parties with large groups, introverted individuals enjoy being by themselves or with one or two close friends.

Characteristics typically associated with an introvert include being quiet, reserved, and keeping to themselves. Introverts find busy and crowded social situations exhausting. It’s safe to say many introverts found the COVID-19 pandemic less stressful than their extroverted friends and family members. 

Many of them did not necessarily miss daily contact and interactions with co-workers and the outside world. 

Woman reading alone on a windowsill

Introverts in the religious community are unlikely to attend large group functions, but that does not mean their faith is any less than that of an extrovert. 

Smaller Bible studies in their own home or the home of a close friend might be more appealing to them. There is no wrong way to worship our Lord and Savior. Introverts just need to find a way to do so in a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable.

The ambivert

Of course, not everyone falls into one of these two categories. Some people are neither an introvert nor an extrovert. The third type of personality can exhibit both of these characteristics. 

It is called ambivert. 

An ambivert is also known as an omnivert. It’s someone who displays both personality traits but switches back and forth depending on their mood or the context of the situation.

Another name for this type of person is an “outgoing introvert.” They are only outgoing in certain situations or with specific people.

One benefit of ambiversion is self-awareness. The ambivert knows when to talk and when to listen. These individuals are often very flexible and can change their behavior and personality as needed for their situation. 

In a way, it's the best of both worlds.

Intimate dinner party

In the church community, ambivert personality types may attend events on and off, all depending on their moods. They may choose to act on their extroverted traits at larger social activities, and will find social interaction easier some days over others. 

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Functioning in communities

Each community is made up of its own distinct mix of introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts. We need to remember not to judge an individual based on these behaviors, as they are inherited and take a lot of effort to change. 

There is no “right” trait. As Christians, we accept and love those in our community regardless of whether they are outgoing, reserved, or switch back and forth. 

Galatians 6:4-5 tells us to embrace ourselves. “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”

Jesus loves us no matter the traits we display. Proverbs 17:28 states, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”

It takes a diverse group of parishioners to make a community interesting and successful. We can always learn from the Bible, but we must remember to learn from one another as well.

For more information on loving one another in our religious communities and through the power of Jesus Christ, download the app on the iOS App Store and Google Play.

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