The best jokes are the ones that are rooted in truth. This is why I laughed hysterically when I saw the following cartoon.
All the introverts are still laughing while all the extroverts are probably scratching their heads wondering what is so funny. However, that is not the point. The point is that I like anyone who is willing to make such a sarcastic yet truthful statement. I found this cartoon on Mike Gammill’s blog in his post, “Culture of Personality.” Gammill argues that evangelicalism has adopted an extroverted mindset that shapes our theology and practice based upon that which extroverts see as important. In other words, loving Jesus “out loud” has become far more important than living an obedient life behind closed doors.
I have to agree with Gammill’s conclusion. A quiet person who fulfills his biblical responsibilities at home and at work rarely receives recognition. Even our church services are designed for the extrovert. At the church I attended last week, I had to greet people before the service started. I had to pray and sing with people during the service. I had to greet people when the service concluded. I had to drink tea and coffee with people after the service. Then, I had to tell everyone goodbye before I left. If I were to simply show up, sit in the back, not sing and pray loudly, and leave without socializing, people would wonder about my spiritual condition. It ought not be this way. Spiritual maturity is measured by obedience to the word of God, not by how many people we socialize with at church.
So, I agree with Gammill’s conclusion. Yet, he makes a point on which I would like to follow up. He says, “When I speak to groups about the Great Commission, their first reflex is to assume I am talking about evangelism. Further, evangelism is usually visualized as door-to-door sales or street-corner doomsday annunciation. Bad strategies or not, these are extroverted activities that are an anathema to any introvert. Consequently this reticence to shout the gospel from a street corner could unnecessarily cause the introvert to question his own love for Christ and neighbor.” Mr. Gammill, you imply that you see evangelism as something separate from the Great Commission. Can you explain how these groups are incorrect when they assume you are talking about evangelism when you speak about the Great Commission? Also, I agree that pushing every saint to do evangelism can lead some to question their love for Christ and neighbor. However, it seems to me that the solution is to have evangelists do the work of evangelism (Eph 4:11–12) and let the rest of the saints live obedient lives in whatever way they see fit. Why do we have to come up with introverted ways of doing evangelism? If an introvert does not want to do evangelism, then he probably isn’t an evangelist and probably shouldn’t do evangelism.
It seems to me that God has given us a model in Ephesians 4 to follow, a model that has room for all kinds of people with different gifts and abilities. We should have evangelists who preach the gospel. We should have pastors and teachers who prescribe doctrine and godly living, and we should let everyone else serve the body of Christ through their tithes and in whatever other capacity they are able. Should we even be talking about whether we operate on extroverted or introverted ideals? Maybe we should start with the biblical ideal and then go from there. That is my solution to this culture of personality problem. Mr. Gammill, you do an excellent job of outlining the problem, but I am interested to hear what you might see as a potential solution.