By Vivian Bricker, Crosswalk.com
As an introvert myself, it can be extremely hard at times to go out, much less invest in community. If you’re an introvert too, you are aware of the challenges of being in social settings and situations. Introverts tend to be more comfortable with staying home, talking with a few close friends, and having time to recharge alone. With all of these factors in mind, here are four ways for the introvert to invest in community.
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1. Go to a Small Group
The first way for the introvert to invest in community is to go to a small group. Small groups are common in the modern day, as most churches have small groups for each stage of life: singles, young married couples, new parents, senior couples, sports gurus, book club lovers, etc. The possibilities for finding a niche of people who have a passion for God and share your life phase and/or hobbies are endless!
Connecting to a small group would be able to help you invest in community, grow in your relationship with Christ, and help you invest in the lives of others while not feeling as socially overwhelmed. Many individuals believe introverts don’t like people, but that’s not true. We love people—we just tend to get overwhelmed in large crowds. Introverts, including myself, do better at building small groups and sticking with a small group rather than getting involved with larger groups of people, particularly when more personal, intimate conversations are bound to arise.
Small groups at your church are also a great way for introverts to invest in the community because it helps us connect with others on a deeper level. If we have studied the Bible and are knowledgeable about what God says, we will be better equipped to help others in their own walk with God. Small groups are normally less than ten people; therefore, it’s not as overwhelming for us as it would be to attend a group of 20-50 people. A smaller group of people can be more comfortable for the introvert, and it can make it easier for us to truly commit to the small group by knowing there won’t be too many people that it mentally and emotionally drains us.
2. Believe in Your Abilities
A second way for the introvert to invest in community is to believe in themselves. While this might be difficult at times, it is really important. Many people believe introverts have something wrong with them, but we truly don’t. We just prefer to be alone at times and we tend to not do best in large crowds. Sure, we might be shy, but once you get to know us, you are bound to be interested in our conversations. As a fellow introvert, I want to encourage you to believe in your abilities. Don’t be discouraged by what other people say. Be encouraged by the truth that you are who God created you to be, and God doesn’t make mistakes.
Often, introverts are treated differently than extroverts, but introverts are just as important to the community as introverts. Introverts can be quiet, but we make great friends and listeners. If you’re an introvert, you can better invest in the community by believing in your abilities. It might be scary at times to speak or to be in crowds but believe in yourself and God. The Lord created you remarkably and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13-16). Introverts have a way of connecting to others in ways that extroverts can’t. Since we are more quiet and laid back, we often can be more approachable—not only to other introverts but also to all types of people.
Believe in your abilities and trust in God’s strength. To actively engage in community can be frightening and overwhelming, yet we can trust in the Lord. We might be scared, but God isn’t, and He can help strengthen us with everything we need to succeed. Even though we might feel as though we want to stay in our room and hide away from the world, God wants us to step outside our door and invest in the lives of those around us. Jesus has given us the Great Commission, and He will strengthen us to help us in every way possible (Matthew 28:18-20).
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3. Challenge Your Comfort Zone
A third way for the introvert to invest in community is to challenge his/her comfort zone. I understand this can be scary for many of us as introverts, but it is necessary. It can be scary to try something new, but it is also scary to stay stagnant in your faith and relationships with others. As an introvert, I know how hard it can be to challenge your comfort zone. As nice as it would be if we could keep everyone at a distance and remain in our safe bubble, it isn’t possible. God wants us to go out and be a part of other people’s lives, even though it can be hard on us mentally and emotionally. Remember, if you ask God for His help, He will surely help you in stepping out of your comfort zone.
If your comfort zone is staying in your room, challenge yourself to go out to someone in your community and be Jesus’ hands and feet to them. This could be going to an elderly shut-in for a visit or going to spend time with a friend who is struggling with a recent loss. The ideas are limitless and you can be creative in what you choose to do. Even a little act of kindness such as sending an encouraging note to a friend or dropping off groceries for a neighbor who is sick are all ways to challenge your comfort zone but not to push you over your own limits to the point of feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
4. Connect Digitally
A fourth way for the introvert to invest in the community is to connect digitally. In the modern day, everything seems to have gone digital. Whether that be social media, websites, or emails, we can connect digitally now, which is a huge blessing to introverts. While the Lord does want us to connect to people in person, the internet is now a great place to spread the Gospel and build community in new ways. Through connecting to others by the means of the internet, we can help build relationships in ways not possible before.
As an introvert, you are most likely extremely creative, and now is the time to put your creative talents to practice. You can design your own website to help believers connect, disciple one another, and discuss struggles you might be going through. You can tell your friends about the website and have them connect with you too. Once a website is published on the internet, it is only a matter of time until more people see your website and will be able to benefit from your support, encouragement, and help in Christ.
If making a website isn't your thing, maybe you could connect with some friends you haven't spoken to in a while over social media. You could send them a message checking in on them and have a conversation to see how they are doing. The simple act of extending love, support, and care will make their entire day and might be just what your friend needs that day. God is very pleased when we choose to go out of our way to help others and when we choose to do things that are right even if they are scary for us. For me, even talking over text or email can be overwhelming because I tend to overthink everything, including punctuation.
However, the more practice we get at communicating with others in our community, whether in person or digitally, the more confident we will become in helping others. The Lord wants us to help those around us and be part of our community. As lights for Christ, we need to shine brightly for Him and point others to His amazing grace. Even though we are introverts doesn’t mean we are not capable of helping others know about Christ and investing in the community around us because we are more than capable. If you’re an introvert and are looking to invest in the community, hopefully, one of these four ways will help you start today.
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