This is an excerpt from my latest book: Naked Man Running: 100 IDEAS that work in a small church. More excerpts coming! Get all 100 ideas here.
Catagory: People Problems, Chapter 88: How to deal with gossip
I’m into my eleventh year of coaching pastors. That’s a long time to be listening to, encouraging, and resourcing pastors and church leaders. But I’m telling you, if I had twenty bucks for every time I’ve spoken to a pastor who is dealing with someone in their church that is a gossip, I’d be a rich man. Well, maybe not rich, but I would have a significant amount of discretionary fun-money in my wallet. My point is, if you have a church, you will have gossip. Everybody has to deal with it at some time. You might be dealing with it right now. Gossip (and it’s cousin Slander) are two of the most dangerous sicknesses to infect a church.
Let me share with you seven steps to deal with gossip in your church.
- Compile a list of all the verses in the Bible where the words ‘gossip’ and ‘slander’ appear.
- Come up with a working definition of gossip and slander.
- Review the verses on your list and the definitions you came up with. Using a scale of one to ten (one being lowest) score the degree of problem you have in your church or with a specific individual.
- Clearly identify the guilty party(s).
- If you were to confront this person, what response might you expect from them?
- What risks are you taking by confronting them and what risks are you taking by not confronting them?
- Are you willing to get bloody over this? You probably will. Gossips and Slanderers usually don’t repent, stop, or leave the church without putting up a fight. If the one doing the gossip has a great deal of influence in the church, you could get in trouble at best, and lose your job at worst.
You might be surprised to hear me say this, but my experience in working with pastors is that they fail to deal with gossip early on, and this results in the problem growing and growing until they have a much more serious situation on their hands than when gossip originally raised its ugly head.
If you decide to confront the person don’t forget to:
- Pray before you go.
- Take someone with you.
- Don’t sugarcoat the seriousness of the situation to the person.
- Don’t be afraid to tell the person to stop it or they will have to leave.
- Don’t forget to duck.
99 more ideas are waiting for you here.