The Introvert's Guide to Finding a Church (and Going In)
"When I was young, I was shy, and I thought shyness was the most terrible thing in the world. Then I moved to New York City. And having seen the alternative..." - Garrison Keillor "Hell is other people."
No, introversion and shyness are not synonymous. But Garrison's talking about the myriad of
exhausting social interactions he endured every day in New York. And Nietzsche... is just being Nietzche; he's always good for a dramatic quote. Introvert energy levels deplete as social interaction increases, prompting them to seek alone time to "recharge". Shy people find social interaction scary (with a side order of fatigue). Both qualities co-present to keep people from the help, hope, and healing in a good church.
We can fix that. At our own pace. With plenty of time to lie down.
This Guide I'm both introverted and shy. Friends rate me a 35 out of 10 for introversion. I took a 16PF personality test under university conditions and buried the shyness/introversion needle deep into the hot squishy center of the earth. Yet I attend a great church and even conned my way into a sweet nonpaid blogging gig (wait...).
It's a rewarding experience, both now, and, you know, LATER. I want you to have this experience, but first, you have to find a church. So, submitted for your approval is the first installment of The Introvert's Guide to Finding a Church (and Going In).
Please stow all carry-on baggage and return your seat back and folding trays to their full upright position.
For introverts, Covid was horrible. But Lockdowns and Quarantines were what we'd been training all our lives for. Zoom calls with the camera off were so choice. Amazon deliveries and GrubHub meals left on the front porch? Yes, please. So, given your online comfort level (you're here after all), let's start our search where everyone else does: the Internet. And don't worry, we'll have the baby bumpers aired up and filling the gutters. This is your soul we're talking about...
Location, Location, Location
It's logical and very tempting to go to the Introvert Church and be done with it. It's not a bad place to get started: the hours are good, there's no dress code, and you don't have to deal with anybody. I'll never discourage anyone from studying the word of God. Begin here if you like or need to, but wouldn't it be cooler to be in the same room as God? Guaranteed?
More on that later.
Every local church you see these days has a website, or YouTube/Facebook page. It doesn't hurt to check them out and see what each church professes to believe and practice. Don't rush to judgment: a great church can have a hot mess of a website. Just let local church pages wash over you as you feel out their theology and available programs. Do any of them resonate with you and your needs?
Baby Bumpers Activated: False prophets and fakes abound. Any decent Christian church is centered on Biblical scripture prioritizing the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It recognizes the full humanity and full divinity of Jesus the Son of God, and the saving grace of his death, burial, and resurrection.
There's more, but it's over my pay grade. Just steer clear of anyone promising free car payments or predicting the Second Coming next Tuesday. But there are lots of great churches out there. Common sense and an open heart will take you a long way.
Most churches stream their Wednesday night meetings or Sunday sermon, so why not get a cup of coffee and view one? Alone, with intention. Not as laundry-channel sound in the background, but at a table, maybe with pen and paper. So you miss doom scrolling Tik Tok for an hour. Big deal.
Bonus points if it's not a rerun, but LIVE. Those people you see on site are in the presence of God because two or more are gathered there in His name (Matt 18:20). You're missing out, and you should let yourself feel that. A bit.
Next Time: I don't know, I'll update this when I write it so it looks like I had a plan.
Personal Note: The author felt called to church during Covid but couldn't attend (no vaccine). So he found City On A Hill Church DFW online. He binged a web series on Cults and then moved on to live sermons, taking notes. Post-vaccination he snuck into a service and sat at the back. He found zero social pressure and no dress code (just wear, you know, something). He's a member now and everyone knows he sucks at small talk. They don't care about crap like that. It ain't that kind of church.