Some of my people do not understand me. When I comment that I am a person who is basically introverted, who has learned to be extroverted to function in ministry, they do not understand.

When I say that I go home after church and collapse into the embrace of my leather recliner, my brain drained, they do not understand.

Two years ago Beth Quick ( helped me realize I was not the only pastor like this:

– Introverts, as you might expect, have a hard time dealing constantly with the people-interaction that ministry requires. I suspect that most pastors are tired by Sunday afternoons, but I’ve always felt seriously drained after being ‘on’ all of Sunday morning. I remember feeling this way too in CPE when I was in seminary – visit after visit after visit was so difficult, and though I got better at how to do it, it never really got easier to walk into rooms. Even just this week, in my office, my hand hovered over the telephone as I tried to make myself call a parishioner. I’ve always hated talking on the telephone. I made the call because I have to make calls! But it is still and always hard.

I, however, do not have as much of a problem with the one-on-one interactions that Pastoral Care dictates.  It is being out in front of God and Everyone that makes me wasted.  To be effective, in Good News terms, I find that Sunday morning makes me be “out there” and for me that is just tiring.

Over the years I’ve learned to balance (my wife says, “Ha! That’s a good one!”) time between the study, visiting, and the ‘out there’ stuff.  When I first read “The Rule of St. Benedict” I was struck by his insistence upon balance.  Work, prayer, rest, they go together harmoniously if you have balance.  I am not there yet.  But I am learning what it looks like.