Confessions Of An Introverted Pastor

Jan 7, 2019

People are usually VERY disappointed when they meet me in person for the first time.  (I’ve actually been told that before!)  :-)

It used to confuse me, but after a while I began to understand why this seemed to be such a common comment…

…you see, I’m an introvert.   

If I walk into a room with a lot of people - I’m not trying to be the center of attention but rather find a corner I can stand in (preferably close to a door.)  

If I see someone in public that I know I usually just wave awkwardly, say “hey” and keep moving.  

Someone once told me, “you are way different on stage than you are just hanging out with people.”  

At first I sorta pushed back, but after a few minutes I paused to reflect on what he had just said—and he was right.  

When I’m on stage people have told me I come across as confident, bold (yes, some say arrogant) - the life of the party.  

I make people laugh, have funny facial expressions and try my best to relate to as many people as possible.  


…the thing I do on stage, preaching, for me—is so hard.  I practice for hours, writing and rewriting my notes over and over, praying over the message the entire time.  

Right before I get up to speak (no exceptions, every time), I check my zipper 496 times while my heart nearly comes out of my chest its beating so fast…
…but when it’s time for the message, something just happens (I would say it’s the Holy Spirit.)  I’m just able to do what I never imagined I could do - communicate to a room full of people.  

But then…I walk off stage, and I am exhausted.  

I’ve done all sorts of manual and intellectual labor—and for me, preaching is, hands down, the most difficult thing I do.  I wish it were easier—but it’s not.  

When I started my first church I used to walk out into the crowd after the service and chat with people.  Honestly, it was pretty easy - most of the people I knew pretty well.  

However, as the crowds began to increase I began to experience what is called social anxiety (which I still deal with till this day.)  People would line up to talk to me and I would begin to have slight panic attacks and being scared to death.  

So, after a few years of dealing with this I began to walk off stage after I was done and “retreat” back to a place to catch my breath and gather my thoughts.  (And when we got to the place we were doing four services a weekend this was SO needed for me to simply make it through the day.)  

Over time “legends” about me developed - that I thought I was better than other people, that I thought I was a “celebrity” and didn’t want to mingle—that I just didn’t love people…

…and none of that was (or is) true.  

Everything in me wishes I was an extrovert.  I have friends that are energized when they spend time with crowds of people - but for me, it feels like I’ve had the life sucked out of me.  

Just the other day someone communicated to me, “Well, I guess at your new church you are going to have to walk out and shake hands with people—since you are not all high and mighty like you were before.”  

I’ll spare you here the specifics of what I communicated back with them (I was nice—kind of) - but, the gist of the communication was that even though it’s a different church, I’m still the same person, a broken down, busted up introvert that gets nervous as heck every time I am about to speak - and afterwards I just need to go somewhere and hide for 10-15 minutes so I can catch my breath.  

It’s not at all that I feel “high and mighty” - it’s that I honestly don’t think I’m all that important enough for someone to have to talk to me.  

I’m an introvert!!  

I pretty much always have been…

…and am pretty sure I always will be.  

I used to let people “guilt me” into doing things (like standing in the lobby and shaking hands) - but I’ve pretty much decided by this point in life I’m going to simply do my best to do what I feel the Lord has called and equipped me to do - and let the extroverts do everything they can and fill the gaps where I admittedly fall incredibly short.