Allow me to introduce myself: My name is PC Walker, and I am an introverted pastor.
Conversations frequently come my way with students (my congregants) who feel the tension of a wall, which seems to be up between us. The impression is that I am withdrawn, gruff, insensitive, or even rude in some instances.
As it turns out, many pastors, speakers, and leaders are introverted. Your pastor may very well be such.
Does your pastor seem to:
- think more than talk
- have no backbone regarding conflict
- avoid you
- only share personal information with a select few
- prefer writing over talking
- dislike or even hate you
Allow me to be preemptively forthright: Your pastor does not dislike or hate you.
1. IT’S NOT YOU, ITS HIM.
This is a part of his personality. The disconnection is not because of you. This is not an excuse; it is a simple statement of reality. The quiet reservedness is part of the way he is wired. It is not a reflection of how he thinks of you.
2. HE IS NOT A BOUNCER (prone to DEPTH; not frequency)
Your introverted pastor is not going to be the type to bounce around from conversation to conversation on a Sunday (or whenever your main gathering is). Outgoing introverts have to work at it in large groups, but the depth of a face-to-face conversation with an introvert may be one of the deepest and most intentional conversations you’ve had.
3. THERE IS ALWAYS A “WHY” (processes)
An introvert, especially an introverted leader, is ALWAYS internally processing things. When an introverted leader enacts a change, which makes no sense to you, you can be assured that he has been over and over and over that decision in his mind for days, weeks, or months. Introverted pastors make no flippant changes. Ask for the “why”, and he will likely have a well-thought out answer for you.
4. HE IS AWARE OF MORE THAN YOU THINK (he observes and reads people…constantly)
Never assume your pastor knows nothing about you. A part of the internal processing mentioned above also applies to people watching. Your introverted pastor observes and reads people…constantly. Introverts have an uncanny ability to read people below the surface. He may not expose what he perceives verbally, but rest assured he knows you exist and…
5. HE LOVES YOU DEARLY…BUT HE IS DRAINED BY YOU
Introverted ≠ shy. Extroverted ≠ outgoing. The two words are references to how the person is energized. Extroverted people are energized by people, and are bored to tears when alone for too long. Introverted people are energized by time alone and are drained by extended exposure to large groups of people. Your introverted pastor is likely an outgoing introvert, but ‘outgoing’ is a mode he has to put himself into. It drains his energy level. It is NOT a reflection of you…it is the way he is wired.
[BONUS]: He IS aware of the disconnection…and he hates it
The downside of the internal processing is that your introverted pastor internalizes EVERYTHING, which includes the negative things. He very much desires to be connected to everyone at the appropriate depths a pastor SHOULD, but the very personality that makes him who he is makes it difficult to attain and sustain frequent connection.
He constantly thinks about the disconnection you feel, but he takes every bit of it personally. What seems like an oddity to an extrovert is a thorn in the flesh of an introvert.
Be mindful of these things next time you feel your introverted pastor dislikes you or intentionally distances himself from you.