Introverts and Liturgical Worship

Last night I finished reading Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture by Adam S. McHugh.  Overall, I didn’t find this book as enlightening as I hoped.  While Rev. McHugh does an excellent job defining introversion, his Presbyterian background differs too much from my Lutheran upbringing for me to gain much insight on how to thrive in a church community as an introvert.  From theology to church structure, I found most of my experiences as an introvert in traditional worship churches didn’t line up with his megachurch and evangelism-oriented church experiences.

However, his had some interesting comments in his last chapter about introverts and liturgical worship.  He wrote:

A paradox I uncovered in my research is that introverts often feel more freedom in worship services that feature traditional liturgy than they do in ones that feature more open, informal, unstructured styles of worship.  Introverts often appreciate the depth of liturgical prayers and hymns, as well as the rich symbolism that fill traditional churches.  They may feel less expectation from worship leaders in these churches to offer outward, emotional responses.  One friend who attends a traditional church said that the liturgy “guides me into God’s presence” and requires less energy on his part than the nondenominational church he used to attend.  

Some introverts decry the shallowness of contemporary worship songs and their repetitive refrains, which can feel emotionally manipulative.  They say that loud music disrupts their internal dialogue with the Spirit.  One member of a charismatic church lamented that when people showed emotion in worship, the pastor would proclaim “The Spirit is really moving this morning!”  These kinds of churches tend to encourage spontaneous bodily responses–raising arms, kneeling, dancing–and many introverts are uncomfortable with these kinds of reactions and the attention they draw.  And the more the expectation for this kind of worship grows, the more introverts consider it artificial and stifling.
–Adam McHugh, Introverts in the Church  pages 190-191

Shockingly, many of his reasons that introverts like liturgical worship are the reasons I prefer liturgical worship. I like the depth, I like the structure, and I like the calm.  Of course, I also like the fact that Lutheran liturgy focuses on God coming to me instead of the other way around, but his description of liturgical worship was surprisingly accurate.  However, I am now curious about what can appeal to extroverts in a liturgical worship.

Is anyone an extrovert in a liturgical church?  If so, what do you like about the worship?  What do you dislike?


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