By Kelly Carr
This summer we were blessed when two dear couples who had moved to different states both unexpectedly visited church on the same weekend. At lunch afterward, great discussion ensued. The more both couples shared, the more their stories reflected what our authors discuss this week about introverts and extroverts.
Both couples lamented the difficulty of finding a church home in their new cities but also building deep relationships in those churches. Couple #1 moved as newlyweds and were first learning each other’s quirks. Husband is an introvert with extroverted tendencies among friends, and wife is an extrovert. They have tried small groups in a big church but don’t have strong friends yet. The wife easily meets new people yet doesn’t feel there is someone to call when she’s having a rough day. She knows deep friendships take time, but she longs for it. She decided she will start cooking dinners for coworkers and people at church who are all teachers like she is. She figures others also long to connect, and a meal in their home may be a welcome opportunity.
Couple #2 are both introverts. Husband doesn’t have many people at work his age to relate to. Wife is an admitted extreme introvert who teaches college courses. She uses so much energy talking with people for her job, she is exhausted in the evenings and can hardly talk to her husband or her family on the phone until she’s had quiet for a while. They found a small group to join, which was good. But with the wife’s work schedule, they didn’t get to make it for several meetings, and her comfort became to just stay home. They’re trying to push themselves to get back into the habit.
These couples are a microcosm of what goes on all around us. Consider: Who is visiting your congregation? What unseen barriers might they have in connecting? How can you help facilitate the process of finding comfort zones and deepening friendships?