Disciplemaking For Introverts
Recently, I was asked on social media about how to coach young people who avoid the call to make disciples because they are introverts. It was a great question and my answer applies not only to young introverts but all introverts:
When someone says they can't make disciples because they are an introvert, it is usually a signal of fearfulness. Being an introvert is not an excuse to avoid making disciples. Making disciples can often be uncomfortable and inconvenient. That's why we need the Holy Spirit to lead us all the time. But I also know that being extroverted doesn't give you a special advantage when it comes to making disciples. Disciplemaking doesn't have anything to do with being an introvert or an extrovert.
Let's get back to the introverts (because they love it when we single them out).
It is God who has designed introverts to be introverts. It is also God who has called them and commissioned them to make disciples. He has uniquely created introverts to reach people only they can reach. History has revealed some great Kingdom influencers who were introverts.
That being said, here are three keys for introverts to keep in mind:
1.) AWARENESS. Many followers of Jesus are simply not aware of the call to disciplemaking. Well, maybe they're aware but they don't see it as a priority. It has to be placed before them consistently.
2.) AUTHENTICITY. Many introverted followers of Jesus think they have to be a SUPERDISCIPLE before they can make other disciples. That simply isn't true. Jesus never asks them (or any of us) to be someone they're not. That doesn't help them OR those they are supposed to connect with. They can learn to make disciples by simply being who God has made them to be and inviting others around them into that process. It will look different from an extrovert, but it will still be disciplemaking. Which leads me to the last key:
3.) INTENTIONALITY. All of us (extroverts/introverts) are called to live our lives purposefully. When we wake up in the morning, we need to invite the Holy Spirit to show us who we need to be investing in. I am absolutely certain that God places specific people in each of our lives to make disciples. We all have a "sphere of influence" that shares in our rhythms. Maybe it's a friend at work, the gym, or the soccer field. We need to live purposefully with them. God asks us to give these people access to our lives to serve, not as perfect examples, but as living examples. If we are going to make disciples as Jesus commanded us to, we have to commit to it even if we aren't sure what to do.
I would add that to be an intentional disciplemaker, one needs to be intentionally discipled. How else are they going to see what it looks like. If you don't know how to make disciples, find someone who models the character and competencies of Jesus and ask them to disciple you. I bet they would be thrilled to invest in you.
When we are living in the constant awareness of our commission to make disciples;
When we are living authentically for Jesus, warts and all;
When we are living with intentionality to those around us; it won't matter if we are extroverted or introverted. We will be the emissaries of His love, truth, mercy, and grace.
That's something all of us can do if we allow Him to do it through us.