“I have no desire to tell you guys what I am doing.” – San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan, when asked why he hasn’t joined twitter.
Gregg Popovich is Duncan’s no non-sense, mission-driven coach. The two men share a game-day ritual in which Popovich takes a seat on the bench alone at halftime. While the rest of the arena is going to get a beer and hot dogs and his players are practicing shooting baskets, Duncan comes and sits down next to him. They both stare at the ground. Usually, they say nothing. They’ve been doing this for years and people have had many theories as to why – though one of many theories spins off the fact that the two of them are both introverts.
“In mainstream American culture (in schools, corporations, and social institutions), those who are talkative, outgoing, energetic, and assertive have a decided advantage. People who enjoy reflection and solitude, and listen more than they speak, are often viewed as enigmatic, antisocial, and passive” – Adam McHugh (Author, Presbyterian minister, Hospice chaplain)
In personality assessments I’ve tested as an extrovert. However, I get my batteries charged by time alone. I enjoy situations where I get to interact with lots of people. It’s energizing, but also exhausting. I prefer deep conversation to small talk, friendships to meeting strangers, and I find that a multitude of superficial conversations can be draining. So I’ve come to a conclusion – which I’ve adapted from the Washington D.C.-based pastor Mark Batterson – that I’m an introvert by necessity and an extrovert by personality.
What fills your energy tanks or drains your batteries? Where do you land on the introvert extrovert continuum? How well do you think that church engages both extroverted and introverted men? What should mark a godly man and leader – should it be a magnetic personality (Titus 1:5–8, 1 Tim 3:2–7, 1 Pet 5:1–3)? If a certain group (introverted or extroverted) is marginalized how can the men of Hope help champion and celebrate this group?
Romans 12: 4-6 says that we’re all a part of the same body. The kidneys need the heart which needs the brain. We need extroverts and introverts; video game engineers and electrical engineers. To be successful, the San Antonio Spurs needed Popovich and they needed Duncan. Although being an intensely private man himself, Popovich worked to create a culture where he knew how to relate to everyone on the team, including the seemingly introverted Duncan. The story is told that Popovich flew out to meet Duncan as soon as the Spurs obtained the first overall pick – not to talk basketball, but for the sole purpose of being with him and getting to know his future player. The Spurs have benefited from the culture Popovich created by winning four NBA championships during his tenure, and coming up just short in the 2013 NBA finals in a thrilling seven game series.
Men of hope, let’s continue to create our own winning culture: to embrace differences, seek to understand men, and show the city a glimpse of Christ and the gospel through our unity in diversity.