Introversion & The Small Church
Introversion – The tendency to focus energy inward resulting in decreased social interaction.
Before you say it, I acknowledge that introversion can happen to churches of any size. However, looking at the small churches that are around us it is a real danger to the church today. What is wrong with being introverted?
An introverted church has lost all or some of the Gospel message. The instructions in the “red letter” section of the Bible that tend to be emphasized in sermons but not reflect in actions of the members. “Go.”
And he said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
1. Missions : The Introverted Church has lost the missions mindset.
The smaller church can find themselves so busy tending to the flock internally that they do not heed to call to misissions and even withdraw from giving and supporting missions of others. The danger that we ignore one of the last and most direct commands of Christ is very real as we focus inwardly.
At Maranatha we take joy in the fact that we give more to missions than expected by others in our association (notice I didn’t say pride). We make it a point to emphasize the giving for International Missions and to North American missions. But there is still some danger in other areas that we must not overlook.
Are we willing to “Go?”
2. Community: The Introverted Church focuses on their own needs rather than the needs of the community.
Again we find the early church was meeting out in homes in the community but also the members were out daily witnessing to the community. In his book Advancing the Smaller Church, W. Curry Mavis notes “They (Churches) are in effect little islands of holiness in a great sea of worldliness and they have very little impact on this sea of worldliness.” Are we reaching out enough to our community? Are we reaching inward as a congregation at the expense of souls around us?
At this point again I am sure to be pointed out the we are to be in the world but not of the world…
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
We have a different mindset, we have instruction to not love the things in the world. Still we are told to “Go!”
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever
We must be careful not dilute the instructions of Christ with our interpretation of scripture. We are in the world and we are told to preach.
Why do we reach out?
Do we reach out to add membership? Do we reach out for a “High attendance” Sunday? Do we reach out in frustration? No.
We reach out because we are commanded to. We reach out with the Gospel because people are going to hell. We reach out because our burden to tell the Gospel can not be silenced even if our natural reaction is to focus inward.
They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question—we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”
Oh that we would have the heart of Peter and John. That our hearts would be so impacted by the Gospel message that we would have “no question” and that we could not “keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”