Review of Adam S. McHugh’s Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in An Introverted Culture

In the late summer of 1983, I took the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) for the first time. It told me that I was an ENT/FJ – an extrovert, intuitive, thinking/feeling, judging person. “Field Marshal” was the term used in Kiersey-Bates’ Please Understand Me to describe an ENTJ. A few moments ago, 26.5 years later, I finished Adam S. McHugh’s bookIntroverts in the Church. (Published by Intervarsity Press) Wow… I saw myself in various ways and at various points… as an introvert. I do not remember how strong my extraversion measured that day but I can tell you that it has been toned downed over the years since I first took it. As I read, I remember coming on strong in the extraverted sense, in various situations over the intervening years and realize that I had overwhelmed some people and closed off communication with some very sensitive people that I regret to this day. And then to read McHugh’s book, made me realize that I have a blend of introvert and extrovert that I need to pay more attention to and, with God’s help cultivate in a more effective way. McHugh, an ordained Presbyterian pastor and writer, does an excellent job of pointing out just how extroverted our culture has become and that in both the business world and the ministry extroverted leaders and pastors are sought and highly prized. But McHugh, in a very caring and direct way, also challenges the assumptions of both the ministry and business world over the past 30 or so years about extraversion and introversion. And, with numerous stories, points out the value and impact that introverted persons have in both church and society. Of note to me in the book was the emphasis on character and calling on a person’s live to the ministry over the issue of charisma and other extravert-related characteristics that I very much identify with in my life and experience to this point. I very much appreciated the suggestions in the final chapter in which McHugh offers suggestions as to how make a local church more inclusive to introverts while continue to serve the needs to extraverts as well. I believe that pastors, ministry staffs, seminary classes, continuing education groups, as well as pastoral/pastoral staff search committees will benefit from reading this book. This is a book that has provided with another lens for ministry and offers me the ability to take a second look at situations that I have perhaps misinterpreted over the years. Thanks Adam! (Note: I bought this book for myself and the review is offered for the reader as my take on my reading of this book.)

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