Years ago this shy and introverted one had to create a new persona. That new person was much more outgoing. It is difficult to be a Youth Pastor while harboring many introverted traits. At times you have to be a Pied Piper of youth, sometimes loud, and other times soft spoken. Too many in my church context know me this way. It is my unnatural side. While I may sometimes project a persona that is not my Meyers Briggs personality type, I am very much still my INFP. Which is not exactly an extravert. I have been pondering and looking for examples of people that have similar personality types in a church planting as I have. They seem to be far and few, but also are not the big “personalities”. When we look at the “personalities” of church planting or leadership they seem to be larger than life. You have the Louie Giglio, Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Ray Johnson, and so forth. They are not exactly introverted styled people.
Yesterday I felt like I had the life force sucked out of me. This past week I have been pushing to meet and create contacts with a number of people. On the fourth of July, Laurel Springs had a parade and festivities and I was out there having developing relationships with people there. Then the crash came. It was late Thursday night and all I wanted to do was hide in my bedroom. I did not want to talk to anyone, simply hunker down. This introvert was mush.
In the days since I have been wondering how does my personality type affect how I do ministry? I have a number of reminders to myself, and at times I remember them. Maybe even act upon them. Here are some suggestions to you.
1. It’s not all about you.
In this world of where we think that we cause projects to succeed or fail, ministry is quite contrary. Though you may be the leader, your not in charge. Remember who ultimately is in charge: God. Let God lead, simply follow. Often times I feel that I am responsible if this is going to take off or not, I continually need to remind myself that God is in charge.
2. Team Mentality
God has surrounded me with a great team. It was not the team that I thought would walk alongside me, but it is who God has brought to our team. Where my weaknesses fail, others pick it up. Our team compliments each other. Too often we think of starting a “new thing” as the one leader in charge. While that works in some contexts, it does not work for me. By being introverted leader, it helps to be surrounded and encouraged by others.
3. Ride your strengths
Do you know what your strengths are? Often we see the weaknesses that we have rather than what gifts God has given us. As I mentioned above, God has brought a team together with a specific purpose. This team is unique. Why should I structure our project to protect my weaknesses? I need to use the gifts that I have been given and allow those who strengths (that are my weakness) to do what they are best at. Quit focusing on your weaknesses and play to your strengths.
4. Don’t let your fears paralyze you
I am good at second guessing my decisions or worry that they might be wrong. Often times indecision causes us to not make any decision at all. As leaders, we are sometimes afraid to put ourselves out there and wind up being wrong. Through my many years of ministry, I have failed many times. There is no doubt that I will continue to have moments of failure and times when I just want to curl up in the fetal position. Do not be afraid to fail, failure is a constant learning tool and a way to refine ministry.
5. Times of Rest
Set apart times to be alone or with your family. That means forgetting about work even when you need to get it done. My priorities in life are: God, Family, and Ministry. In that order. My ministry comes below my family and there will be times that ministry will come before your family but the general norm is that family over ministry. Take those times so you don’t end up like mush.