Here at seminary, one of the first requirements they have for you is to take a personality tests of sorts. The one I took is called the Birkman Method, and instead of evaluating the person through psychological analysis, they do on the basis of sociology. The results were returned this past week and my spiritual formation group discussed all our results. I guess there was nothing that surprised me very much. But here are the two things I am going to share with you which you may already know about me. First, I like being by myself. I am very independent and if I don’t have time to myself then I tend to get impatient. Second, I scored very low in persuasion. This equates to me being a poor salesperson. I strongly dislike trying to argue with somebody just so they will see things the way I do. Moreover, I strongly dislike when people shove their viewpoint down my throat. Persuasion carries such negative connotations for me.
This all brings me to say that I will not be a typical pastor. No, I am not extroverted in the least and no, I will not incessantly badger somebody for not coming to church or agreeing with theology. I’m going to be a strange pastor. Sometimes, when you are around a bunch of pastors, it’s hard for them to be quiet and listen. I don’t think I will have that problem. However, because I tend to remain reserved, I will have a problem when people expect me to speak and I don’t. Or when people will expect me to be at every group gathering of the church. To be honest, that’s draining. When I preach and then talk to everybody at the back of the sanctuary after the service, I’m exhausted. I usually go home those days and take a nap. I find social gatherings very draining and yet, as a pastor, those are the places I find myself. I must engage in small talk. I must go to this child’s music concert or the social hour after the service. Or I must meet new people with connections with the church. This is a struggle for me . . . I would much rather keep to myself. I guess this is my cross to bear. And it’s something I’m working on. Constantly. I hope someday it gets easier for me. Until then, please ignore the awkward silences that come with my personality. And through this all, may God be shown through my weakness.