In my experience, many pastors I meet fall at least somewhat on the introversion side of the personality spectrum. Their introversion allows them to cultivate many of the gifts helpful for effective ministry: the ability to listen deeply, encourage introspection, and lead others without the need to take center stage.
Conversely, most youth ministers tend to be extroverts (you may disagree but I'm just sharing what I've observed over several decades working with youth ministry colleagues.) Considering the energy it takes to work with teens, it makes sense that many youth ministers are outgoing, enjoy being around large groups of people and have a high tolerance for noise and commotion. In fact, they might even thrive under such conditions which may explain why so many youth ministries are centered around programming that involves large group activities, wild games, lock-ins and road trips.
But it's important to remember that at least some of the youth in our ministries are introverts -- those individuals who tend to give of their personal energy to others and can be quickly tired out when being with a group. These teens need opportunities for small group experiences, silence, rest, quiet prayer, and the permission to opt out of high energy activities when they need time away from the group. Think back over your last few youth gatherings. Have the activities been primarily aimed at the extroverts? What opportunities were included for quiet reflection, one-on-one interactions, or low-key activities?
This article suggests several helpful examples of things not to do if we seek to be more sensitive to the introverts in our ministries. I particularly like this one:
“Since you’re not doing anything...” Sitting quietly and staring into space is doing something. It does not mean I’m waiting for a nice chat."
For a more thorough study of the qualities and needs (and special gifts) of introverts, check out the texts The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking.
What about you? Introvert? Extrovert? (Not sure? Take the quiz.) How does your personality type affect your ministry? How do you attempt to meet the needs of both personality types in your youth ministry?