Evangelism is a weighty task, and like it or not, we all have a responsibility to carry it out.
Jesus didn’t say, “If you feel like it’s pretty easy for you to talk to strangers, go and make disciples of all nations, otherwise, feel free to just stay home and pray for the extroverts.” We have all been called to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19), whether we do that by approaching strangers to share the Gospel, arguing with skeptics, or inviting our friends to search their hearts for God’s still, small voice. No one is exempt, and it’s not just so that work is distributed fairly, it’s because with their different strengths and gifts the whole body is necessary to build the Kingdom of God.
“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body….Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor. 12:15-19, 27)
I am unabashedly extroverted. I enjoy the company of my peers, and really need it to recharge if I’ve been cooped up by myself for too long.
An interest in theology and apologetics means that evangelism (at least in an academic sense) has always been a passion of mine and consequently it has come quite easily to me. Engaging in corporate worship and conference-style religious retreats are where I have historically felt closest to God.
On my own, it can be difficult for me to remain close to God. After all, extroverts recharge by engaging in social situations. It makes sense that we would recharge spiritually by the same means, worshiping alongside other people. It took the quiet, evangelistic prowess of an introvert to show me what a personal relationship with Jesus really looked like. And, if I may be characteristically bold, it was my confidence in publicly declaring my faith that encouraged that introvert to reach out beyond her immediate sphere of influence.
I have known Jesus personally most of my life, but at a time when I got caught up in an academic and social expression of my faith, I needed someone to teach me how to be faithful and energized alone with God. Looking back, if I won heads for Jesus, it was Sarah who won hearts.
For all of my arguments and public declarations, when I was left alone–I felt painfully alone. I didn’t know how to be intimate with Jesus by myself. Sarah urged me towards Scripture and quiet prayer. She helped me stop seeking a middle man and sit quietly with God. It was then that I really invited Christ into my whole heart.
Jesus called men from all walks of life to be His apostles. Let’s talk about the difference between Peter and John for example: extroverted Peter was passionate, no one can deny that. He was hot-headed and on fire for the Gospel, often more like a warrior of evangelism than an angel. Introverted John, ‘the Beloved’ we call him, rested his head on the chest of Christ, remained close to His heart physically and spiritually, even remaining at the foot of the Cross when it was too much for the likes of Peter to deal with.
Who was the better saint? Who loved Christ more, or won more hearts for Him?
We can’t say. The Bible includes letters from both Peter and John, Jesus gave them both authority in His name: both were commissioned and both are still winning souls for Christ through His word. What are YOU doing?
If you’re feeling ill-equipped for the call to evangelization, check out the Share Your Faith series.