In a recent podcast episode, Trish shared what it’s like to be intentional about sharing the Gospel as an introvert. (If you haven’t listened yet, do so! She offers some very practical tips that will help a lot of you.)
As I listened to the episode, I realized a few things.
First, I realized how thankful I am to work with Engage 360. Unlike many evangelist training programs, Engage 360 takes into account each individual person’s personality. We don’t try to go for a “one size fits all” approach. We recognize that different people will share the Gospel differently. Trish (or any other introvert) isn’t forced into an extrovert mold. We want to give everyone the tools to thrive according to the gifts God gave them.
Second, I realized that I had never heard something before. I’ve heard people urge introverts to be aware of how their natural tendencies to want to be alone, and to not let those tendencies keep them from being an effective evangelist. But I’ve never heard anyone warn extroverts about the dangers of their natural tendencies to want to lead a conversation and talk a lot!
What should extroverts have to be worried about? After all, aren’t we better at talking to people, and evangelism is all about conversation? Here are four things you need to watch out for if you’re an extrovert.
Extroverts, Be Aware of Competing with Other Christians
If you’re like me at all, your extroversion might come out the most when things become competitive. If there is any kind of competition that I might win, I want to be a part of it and give it my all. I think God has blessed me this way.
The problem comes when I try to turn something that isn’t a competition into one. Sharing the Gospel is no time to compete.
Paul talked about those who preached the Gospel this way. They preached the Gospel to try to make themselves look better than other Christians. In Philippians 1:15-17 he says:
Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
Don’t preach the Gospel in order to compete with other Christians!
Extroverts, Be Aware of Sharing the Gospel Argumentatively
Not only am I tempted to get competitive with other Christians (how often do you share your faith?), but I am often tempted to become competitive with the non-Christian I’m talking to. I enjoy a good-spirited debate, and if I’m not careful, I will quickly become more concerned with proving myself right than loving my neighbor as myself.
This is why Paul said that when we are talking to “outsiders,” we should always “let [our] speech be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:5-6).
Are there times to be bold and abrasive? Perhaps. But sharing the Gospel is rarely one of those times. The dominant tone to our Gospel conversations should be gentleness.
Extroverts, Go Deep
In general, if you’re an extrovert, you like to have a lot of different friends. This is great! But if you’re not careful, a lot of those relationships might end up being shallow if you don’t devote time to deepening the friendship.
This can translate over to your evangelism as well. If you’re an extrovert, you might be tempted to ask the question “How many people have I shared the Gospel with?” – and ignore the question of “How well did I share the Gospel with each person?”
We want depth, not just breadth. We need to make sure that our friends truly understand the Gospel, not that they just had one presentation of the Gospel one time.
Go deep in explaining the Gospel. And also: go deep in the friendship! Stick with people over the long haul, and be there for them in each stage of their spiritual journey. As God sovereignly guides your friends, situations will emerge that you can speak into from the perspective of the Gospel. Be there for them when those moments come up.
Extroverts, Stop Interrupting!
This is the most basic tip. But it might be the one that you need to hear. I’ve spent a decent amount of time sharing the Gospel with people on college campuses and in the community. I’ve been able to observe other Christians as they share the Gospel. I’ve seen a lot of good! But I’ve also seen some negative habits that extroverted evangelists can be guilty of.
The number one bad habit of extroverted evangelists is, without a doubt, interrupting others.
How do you feel when someone ignores your perspective? Not very loved, right? For some of you, talking less and smiling more may be the most effective thing you can do to be a better evangelist today.
Failure to listen is a massive obstacle to effective evangelism. And let’s be honest, fellow extroverts: it’s mainly us who are guilty of this. I have to shake my head and ask God for forgiveness as I think back to some of my conversations in the past. Let’s vow together, for the sake of the Gospel, to tone down our God-given eagerness to put forward our own ideas.