My name is Randy Titus, and I am an extreme introvert. And when I say that I am an extreme introvert, I do not mean that I am an introvert by the modern day “hijacked” definition of the word. Seriously, these days you have “extroverted introverts” and “introverted extroverts.” I even read an article the other day about the “4 shades of introversion.” Call me simple, but I prefer the more traditional definition of what an introvert is: “a shy person.” That’s me! I am shy. I have to mentally prepare myself to spend time with other people. Being in crowds or around new people causes great anxiety and stress for me. I am an introvert. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you why I ignore my introverted desires and force myself to spend time with other people.
I spend time with other people for God’s glory and for my good.
I’ve been in vocational ministry for several years now and just a few months into my ministry, my wife Stephanie gave me some very important feedback. She said, as lovingly and as graciously as she possibly could, “Randy, if you are going to be a pastor then you have to talk to people!” That’s a novel idea right? Well, I am so thankful that she loved me enough to tell me the truth.
Looking back now on all that God has done in our lives through Christian community, I would probably go even further then what she said. I would say that if you are a Christian, then you need to not only talk to people, you also need to invest in people. You need to know others and be known by others. The reality is that people need you, and you need people.
People Need You
If you read through the New Testament, you will find very quickly that the phrase “one another” pops up quite frequently. “Encourage one another” (1 Thessalonians. 5:11). “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). “Love one another” (John 13:34). Why are there more than thirty of these “one another” statements in the New Testament? I’ll tell you why. Because God has designed his church to function in the context of life-changing community. You cannot live out and be obedient to the one another statements of the New Testament without knowing people, talking to people, and doing life with other people. People need you.
You Need People
Not only do people need you, you need other people. Why? Sin is blinding, that’s why. Believe it or not, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you probably have some spiritual blind spots in your life. However, if you are an introvert, you are especially in danger of your spiritual blind spots leading to spiritual disaster in your life. When we don’t allow others to know us, we are, in essence, functionally isolating ourselves from the community of faith that God has placed around us. That is dangerous.
So, here’s my plea to all of my fellow introvert brothers and sisters: press through the discomfort and anxiety! I know the struggle is real, but don’t let that struggle keep you from the community of faith around you. Here’s a simple action step. Grouplink is less than two weeks away, so now is a great time to connect to a life-giving Community Group at Mercy Hill. And yes, I know that coming to a Grouplink event stirs up images of crowds and maybe even having conversations with strangers. But I promise that it will be worth it in the end! God has changed my life in so many ways through Community Groups. Will you allow him to change yours?
Sign up for a group today at www.mercyhillgso.com/grouplink
-Randy Titus (Campus Pastor)