Tips for the introverted preacher

Came across a book (Adam S. Hugh, Introverts in the Church, 1976, IVP Books, Downers Grove: Illinois) my son borrowed from the National Library. The book was quite interesting and I mostly had Amens and affirmations to the author’s many ideas and insights as I did a rapid read. Found a part that I thought would be particularly helpful to fellow preachers who are introverted. Here is an extract from pg 147:

Whereas some extroverted preachers may struggle with repetitiveness and superficiality, some introverted preachers may err on the side of erudition and ambiguity. Our ideas may be profound but they may not settle in the actual, tangible lives of our listeners. With all of these potential hazards, I emphasize the following things when I mentor young introverted preachers:

1.  Preach as an introvert, not an extrovert. Use thoughtful pauses and silence as a way to add gravity and contemplativeness to your sermons.

2.  Modulate your voice. People hear the tone of your voice before they hear your words. You will hold their attention better by changing the pitch and tone of your voice, and a significant component of persuasion is the conviction with which you share your ideas.

3.  Break up your lofty ideas and biblical exposition with stories, examples and illustrations. They help put flesh on your ideas and makes them tangible to people.

4. Preach to inspire, not merely to inform (suggestions three and four are particularly important for introverts who score high on the thinking category of MBTI).

5.  Be present. Introverts are prone to get caught up in their sermon notes and their presentation, giving the impression that they are not fully present to the congregation.

6. Don’t show your homework. Be thorough in your study and preparation, but in the actual sermon, keep your research and thinking process in the background.

7.  Don’t be intimidated by mistakes. If you stumble over your words or lose your place, people may actually feel more connected with you and listen more carefully.

8. Use preaching as an opportunity for self-revelation.

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