Extroverts: Here Are 3 Ways You Can Challenge Yourselves

Editor, BibleStudyTools.com
Extroverts: Here Are 3 Ways You Can Challenge Yourselves

As an introvert, I love my extroverted friends and can see so many ways that their personalities, as an opposite of mine, give them unique strengths to engage with others for Christ. My extroverted friends are usually more comfortable striking up a conversation with someone new or shy, getting the conversation in a Bible study flowing, and leading different groups and ministries within the church.

After all, 1 Corinthians 12:12 reminds us that we are all separate parts of the same body; we all have different skills, talents and passions that we can use to grow the Body of Christ. If we were all the same, the Church wouldn’t have the same strength, and wouldn’t be as effective at reaching out to the world.

All that being said, as an introvert myself, it seems like every week there’s a new article going around about how introverts can challenge ourselves to be more social, more outgoing, more confidant. But there are far fewer resources encouraging extroverts.

We all have our strengths, both introverts and extroverts, and we both have our weaknesses. Sometimes, we need to challenge ourselves to lean into those weaknesses, to find ways to overcome or embrace them. So, my extroverted brothers and sisters, here are three ways that you can challenge yourselves in your faith journey, and grow to embrace the silence and solitude.

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1. Be Still

Older man sitting in a window seat relaxing

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress” (Psalm 46:10-11).

I know being extroverted doesn’t mean you are necessarily a hyperactive, constantly busy person. But whether you are or not, taking an extended time to be alone and silent with the Lord may be a challenge for you. But this intentional quiet time to refocus can be so helpful. Spending it in prayer can allow God to move in your heart, and remind you of various people and situations that need prayer – those that you may not have considered in the midst of normal busyness.

If you are hesitant to spend an extended quiet time alone, start out small. Try 20 minutes and build up to an hour. Go somewhere by yourself – whether it’s a room in your house, a library quiet room, or a local trail or park. Fight the temptation to bring someone along with you, but instead, plan out how you will spend this time of solitude. After all, you won’t really be spending it alone – you’ll be spending it in community with the Father. What do you want to pray about? What do you want to lay before God? Are there any Bible verses or passages you’d like to spend more time in? Take this time to be still before the Lord.

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2. Ask to Help

Person offering a helping hand

“Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4:11-13).

Extroverted people tend to be good leaders. They work well with others, and are more comfortable with conflict resolution and thinking through things with a group. If that’s you, that’s fantastic! The church can always use strong, gospel-centered leaders. But it also needs reliable, strong support staff as well. Consider the verse above: Paul is writing from prison, but he knows that he can rely on his friends to bring him the practical things that he needs. Without them, Paul could still continue his mission of spreading the Gospel, but I know it encouraged him to know that there were people surrounding him who were willing to help – even if it meant they weren’t in the spotlight.

Maybe for a season, you should consider seeking a secondary, support role in your church or ministry. Who is someone that you know could use an extra hand? Who can you bless through prayer and support, instead of being the person on the front lines yourself? (By the way, if you are always the leader, stepping back and resting is a great way to take care of yourself as well.)

Being someone in a supporting role can teach us so much about humility and generosity. The fact is, being a leader is tiring after a while. Your pastor, your worship leader, your childcare worker – they all need someone to encourage and support them. If you constantly find yourself in the spotlight, consider stepping away for a season and lifting up someone else.

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3. Listen Actively

Two women having a serious conversation

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19).

I’ve learned that you can often tell who the extroverts are in a Bible study pretty quickly. When the leader asks a question, the extroverts are usually the first to respond. I understand that for many of my extroverted friends, they work through their thoughts as they talk. But for me, I need to have a fully-formed thought before I’ll even consider opening my mouth. That means that usually, by the time I’ve thought of a good response to the question, we’ve already moved on to something else.

I would advise my extroverted friends to, at times, practice being quiet and listening. In a group, it might mean waiting a minute (or five), and seeing if someone else wants to talk. But more importantly, it’s important to practice good listening in one-on-one scenarios.

I once had a friend in college sit down and ask me how I was. When I responded, she nodded her head and said “well that’s not all. Go on, tell me more.” That invitation to keep talking was something I so rarely heard, and it reaffirmed that my friend really DID want to listen!

If you are a chatty extrovert, that can be great for getting conversations flowing and helping shy people feel more comfortable. But make sure you aren’t dominating the conversation. If someone is being more quiet, give them the space to think and the time to talk. That kind of active listening and affirmation can be such a blessing to someone.

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Strengths Extroverts Have to Encourage Others

multicultural diverse friends jump for joy on beach

I don’t want this list to feel like a downer for my talkative, energetic, extroverted brothers and sisters! Truly, this personality trait has some incredible aspects that can help you to build up the body of Christ and encourage those around you. Here are some strengths that I don’t think extroverts should ever shy away from:

1. Outgoing, Inclusive Personality

Extroverts tend to be more people-oriented and outgoing. Whether that draws you to lead a Bible study, teach a Sunday school class, or greet visitors at your church’s front door, it is a great way to make people feel welcome and accepted. Being willing to reach out to the newcomer or make some who is scared or uncomfortable feel like part of the group is an invaluable trait.

2. Good at Solving Problems with Others

Since many extroverted people like to work through thoughts and problems verbally, that makes them better problem-solvers than many introverts – especially with issues affecting a group. And anytime people gather, there will eventually be conflicts and disagreements. The early church knew plenty about that. While graciously listening to all opinions and mediating a balanced response is something we all should be prepared to do, I find that my extroverted friends tend to do this a bit better.

3. Talkative

I know I said earlier that you should challenge yourself to be quieter and to give others the floor to speak, but there are certainly times when I am so glad for my talkative, extroverted friends. When the Bible study group is quiet and we need someone to break the ice. When the kids choir isn’t focusing and someone needs to make BIG hand gestures to capture their attention. When the leader asks “who wants to pray?” I’m eternally grateful for my extroverted friends, who are always much more willing to talk than I am.

When it comes down to it, introverted or extroverted or ambiverted (or whatever else you want to classify yourself as) we all have strengths. We all have God-given talents that we can and should use to build up the Body of Christ. But we all also have weaknesses. Because someone is outgoing and talkative doesn’t mean they’ve won the personality lottery. Challenge yourself to lean into those things that make you uncomfortable, and see if there isn’t something about being still and alone with your thoughts that God can use to grow you.

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Bethany Pyle is the editor for Bible Study Tools.com and the design editor for Crosscards.com. She has a background in journalism and a degree in English from Christopher Newport University. When not editing for Salem, she enjoys good fiction and better coffee.