The Christian community is imperfect. At Bible study, especially if you’ve been in an unchanging group for a while, you start to notice people’s flaws. The little annoyances that just slightly get on your nerves every Thursday evening.
So you notice that the super extrovert in your group dominates the conversation. Or that half of those in your group don’t contribute—ever. Or that someone always derails the discussion into something wildly off-topic.
Whenever people gather together in community, personality types clash. No amount of Myers-Briggs tests or Buzzfeed quizzes will solve the differences we all have, although they can help you recognize parts of your personality of which you might have not been aware.
Obviously, everyone’s personality is different, but for the sake of this blog post, I’ve divided people into two extremely generalized groups—introverts and extroverts. These characteristics are often the ones that are the most noticeable in situations like this, so forgive me in advance for dividing up the world this generally.
I’m certainly not expecting or asking anyone to change who they are—instead, think of this as pieces of advice to keep in mind so that you can effectively live in community!
So let’s dive into things extroverts and introverts should keep in mind during Bible study.
Y’all, I feel you on a deep level. At my core, I’m an introvert, so I find it exhausting to endlessly talk and contribute and force conversation. I get you. But it’s important to recognize that introverts can come across as bored, snobby, or uncaring.
Most of the time, those assumptions aren’t true. But when introverts don’t talk at Bible study week after week, people can start to think you don’t care about it—when, in reality, you’re just contemplating what’s being said by others.
Once people get to know you, they’ll realize this is just your personality, but new people can think your lack of participation is a little off-putting (in my experience).
I’d encourage you to push yourself a little bit and contribute if you have something to say! I know it’s not easy to make yourself talk in front of people, but your thoughts are valid and valuable.
Extroverts are super valuable contributors at Bible study—oftentimes, you’re the ones who get the conversations rolling! So from all the introverts out there: thank you.
But extroverts can also dominate conversations, attempting to fill silences to avoid awkwardness and keep the study moving. But that can, at times, discourage quieter people from contributing.
By all means, keep sharing your thoughts! But also keep an eye on yourself and notice if you’re talking more than anyone else. Give more time for silence that you’re comfortable with to see if anyone else speaks up.
Have you noticed how your different personalities impact your Bible study community? What have you noticed about yourself that you try to watch out for?