Yesterday I was asked if I had any outreach advice for introverts. Well I feel his pain. I’m ok up front, but one to one, I can get all dry-mouthed and self-conscious.
What has helped me a great deal, is to check my mindset – is it a selfish mindset? Or an other-centered mindset? Am I thinking about me? Or am I wondering “what has God sent me here for?” When it is the latter, I suddenly find it easy to look around, much more open to what is going on, where I might be able to serve, what to ask, and what conversations might start up… I’m literally less self-conscious, less into myself, more out to others, more ex-troverted. I’ve found that when an introvert has this “sent” mindset, they can exercise a wonderful gift of empathy for others.
The power of this “sent mindset” extends to extroverts too. When an extrovert is self-conscious, they talk too much and hog the spotlight. But when they have a sent mindset, they get the party moving by drawing others into the action.
It really works! With open eyes and heart, I’ve always found something context-sensitive to say (or even not say as the case may be). Opening lines become obvious: “You have kids playing here?” “I always feel awkward at these dances.”
Then if I’m thinking about it, I can look for “next levels” of conversation.
– Acquaintance: “How ‘bout the footy.”
– Friend: Find common ground. “I used to play footy, too. You did? Who for?…”
– Personal level: “I found it hard when I had to stop playing…” “What was that like?”
– Spiritual level: “As a Christian, I found that…”
[Check for their red/green light response. Their “person of peace” status (Luke 10).]
– Gospel level: I self disclose what I have found [a witness.] We discuss.
– What next: I know I can offer them Discovery Bible Study if they are open to that.
Well, that’s what I found.