I know you.
The church service starts at 10:30, so you pull in to the crowded parking lot at 10:25. You have just enough time to make it to the building and find a not too crowded row to sit in before the first song begins.
At greeting time, you shake hands with a few people. That means anyone sitting within a three foot radius who initiates the greeting. Long before the greeting time is over, you're seated and waiting for what seems like every other person in the building to tell their life stories to each other. Finally, it's over and you get some peace when the band or piano starts to play.
But when the pastor stands up, you may find the pressure coming back. This guy always wants participation! If he greets the room with a loud "Good morning!" he expects to hear it back. If he doesn't get a loud enough response, he asks for it. Because good Christians are happy Christians and happy Christians are loud Christians.
In the middle of the sermon, he wants to make a point. So he tells everyone to talk to each other. "Tell the person to your right that God loves them!" "Tell the person to your left that God loves them!" Nearly everyone participates while you sit awkwardly, wondering how this really helps. And trying to avoid looking completely awkward when the person three spaces down wants to remind you that God loves you. And then they'll expect you to return the favor.
Church is hard for introverts.
Even though I'm not always comfortable with a church service that seems tailor-made for extroverts, I don't think I would like a church service that's suited for introverts either. I do think a compromise is in order.
Introverts of the blogosphere, I'd love to hear what you think of the extroverted bias churches tend to have and any suggestions you might have for making the church service more introvert-friendly.
My suggestion is to not speak down to (whether it's in "good fun" or not) those who choose not to participate in the more extroverted activities. I know it's not about our comfort, but if every week we're expected to pretend we're extroverts, attending church is going to become a negative experience rather than a positive one.
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